Merely watching your percentage of returning visitors rise and fall is not enough to understand visitor loyalty. You need to segment your visitors in profitable ways to truly understand and identify opportunity.
Converting more visitors into customers is absolutely essential to any successful business effort, but then what? You probably already know the answer: it’s time to think about whether these customers will visit or purchase again. If they don’t visit or purchase again, then your efforts to attract and convert them in the first place could be money losers.
Your particular web site may not need to create repeat visitor and customer behavior, but most web sites do. Customers who come back over and over generally have the highest value, and this value translates into profits for your business. Most web customer databases have from 80 percent to 90 percent one-time buyers or visitors. For an offline comparison, you could look to the catalog or TV shopping companies, where the one-time buyer rate is 40 to 50 percent. Why are web sites so ineffective at creating repeat visitors and buyers? Asked another way: why is the average value of a web customer so low when compared to offline customers?
Notice I said “average value.” Some web visitors are, in fact, worth a lot. But there are so many that are worth very little that the average value of a visitor is quite low—that is, for most companies. Other companies seem to create visitors of much higher average ...