A personal tale of how product durability impacts repurchase rates

The other day I wrote about my buying experience when ordered a new set of running sandals.

They arrived yesterday and while looking them over, I released how much the design has changed in the past few years.

That prompted me to take a look back at my order history.

  • First one from 2013 that isn’t shown
  • July 25, 2014
  • August 12, 2015
  • December 15, 2015 (accessories)
  • August 06, 2016
  • April 14, 2019

Ignoring December 2015’s order for accessories, it’s pretty clear that I was ordering a new pair every year except in 2017 and 2018.

Putting on my analysis hat, there are a bunch of conclusions I can draw from just my own data.

One is that if I’m a typical customer for them then they could expect to sell one pair per customer per year.

Runners go through running shoes frequently so depending on the material, they’ll be rebuying a handful of pairs a year. Longer distance runners will wear out more pairs while spring-only runners will let theirs last longer. Then some runners will stock up on a good model because brands tend to discontinue them every year.

On the other hand, these sandals can last a lot longer than regular shoes (one pair I still run in has over 2,000 miles on it and it’s become my daily wear sandal now too).

This higher durability is going to cause them to sell less each year but since they last longer, they can price them higher than usual.

Drawing on my own personal experience, that’s one reason why I didn’t order any in 2017 or 2018. I have three different pairs that are suitable for different runs so by rotating them, they didn’t wear out enough until only a few months ago.

Plus I learned from my skateboarding days that a liberal bit of shoe goo can add months to high-wearing shoes…

My order analysis was easy to do because it’s just six orders.

To analyze an entire store, you’d need something like Repeat Customer Insight’s Customer Purchase Latency report. With that report it would have been clear that there was about a year gap in-between orders, which would make timing a customer engagement campaign easy.

The app doesn’t analyze products yet but having a deep understanding of your own products would make it easy to come up with good product-related reasons.

To see how frequently your own customers are reordering, install Repeat Customer Insights and pick a plan that includes the Customer Purchase Latency reports.

Eric Davis

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