Defection risk from product changes

Every Friday we try to have a movie night. We order out or order in, watch a movie with our kid and then watch another movie after she goes to bed.

One place we order from has our favorite burgers. After trying a few different options I settled on one that comes with jalapenos and onion rings. That’s my usual. My usual…

Except they keep switching up their menu and a couple of weeks ago, that burger disappeared.

There’s another that’s similar but it’s not quite the same. It’s great, but not amazing. It’s not my burger.

When you sell products that customers buy again and again, they’ll start to cement their behavior. They’ll have “their version” that they buy every time without thinking about it. Get rid of that or change the product though and you could shock them out of their buying habit.

The new burger is close enough to my favorite but if it wasn’t there and there wasn’t an alternative, we’d order from that restaurant less often and could even stop. Might as well order from someplace else if I can get what I like.

That’s customer defection. The loss of a customer to a competitor or due to a customer stop buying completely.

Customer defection because of a product change is avoidable. It might not be easy but most times you can do something to help. e.g. continue to manufacture the product at a higher cost/price, educate customers on alternatives, etc.

Some products will be stickier than others. One product might lead to multiple reorders while another only leads to customer defections. The First Product Analysis section of Repeat Customer Insights can help you identify the good, bad, and ugly. Pay attention to the different Repeat Purchase Rates to spot defection risk.

Eric Davis

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