How to understand what a customer cohort is doing

With the recent release, Repeat Customer Insights now includes 10 different cohort reports.

Sadly, in my rush to get them into customers’ hands I haven’t written much about them at all.

It’s time to change that.

Cohort reports can be very information dense, especially if you’re not familiar with their purpose and organization.

A cohort report looks at the behavior of a defined group of people (the cohort) over time. Unlike segmenting, the group membership doesn’t change. Once a customer is in a group, they stay their for their lifetime.

This makes them really useful to see how past events like sales, offers, and products compare to current ones.

Example of a cohort report

In the sample cohort report above, all of the different groups are listed on the left in the first column. Repeat Customer Insights automatically creates cohorts based on the first month a customer orders in.

The columns after the first show the changes in behavior over time. In this case it’s the percentage of customers who reordered, broken out by month.

For example, in the 2015-05 cohort you can gleam the following information:

  • all of the cohort ordered in 2015-05 (default case)
  • 26% of them ordered one month later, in June
  • 26% of them ordered in the next month, in July
  • 21% ordered in August

Just by looking at one row, you can start to see when and where a group of customers behavior starts to change. The 4th month (September), 7th (December), and 10th (March) all show significant drops in orders.

Perhaps your marketing slacks out at those points and could be improved?

Perhaps customers attracted in this month behave differently than your usual mix, maybe due to a major promotion?

The cohort reports are designed to help you spot these trends.

This sample is just one of the 10 cohort reports now included in Repeat Customer Insights. Each one highlights these behavior changes differently using different tracking metrics.

If you’re not using Repeat Customer Insights yet, a simple install is all it takes to have it start compiling these reports for you.

You might be surprised at how many ideas are just sitting there in your data.

Eric Davis

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