December 17, 2021

How Sur La Table converts one-time buyers into repeat customers with Lexer’s CDP

minute read

Your one-time buyer problem is bigger than you think. Luckily, you can solve it with data. Here’s how Sur La Table uses Lexer’s Customer Data Platform (CDP), along with strategic guidance from the Success team, to drive repeat purchases and long-term customer loyalty.

For most retail brands, 50–80% of their customers purchase once and never again.

This massive segment of one-time buyers presents an opportunity: Customers who buy twice are 9x more likely to buy again.

The potential return on converting one-time buyers into two-time buyers is huge, making the second sale the most critical milestone for customer lifetime value growth. But in an increasingly competitive market, re-engaging and retaining customers is more difficult than ever.

Sur La Table is a retail company selling cookware, dinnerware, cutlery, kitchen electrics, bakeware and more. They also offer cooking classes within their stores, which is also a great way for customers to experience their products. Sur La Table’s Head of Marketing Natalie Brown knew they needed to work on re-engaging one-time buyers, but didn’t fully understand the potential impact until she and her team partnered with Lexer to perform an in-depth customer data analysis.

“At the time we were really struggling to visualize our customer data and understand where our customers were coming from. This lack of visualization made the task of transforming one-time buyers into regular customers particularly challenging.”

Using Lexer’s CDP and strategic guidance from Lexer’s Success team, Sur La Table implemented a 4-point framework for converting the second sale, resulting in:

  • A better understanding of the customer zeitgeist
  • Identifying the hero product that resulted in the most second-time buyers
  • A more personalized approach to customer outreach and marketing campaigns.

The 4-point framework for converting the second sale

As a result of working with hundreds of retailers over the last few years, we’ve developed and honed high-impact strategies to improve every aspect of the customer experience in retail, including acquisition, growth, and retention. Our 4-point approach to converting one-time buyers into repeat customers involves:

  1. Data and insight: Gain a deeper understanding of who your customers are, which products drive the highest rates of conversion on the second order, how long the second order typically takes, and more.
  2. Personalized engagement: Using the insight you gleaned from the customer analysis, develop personalized re-engagement campaigns and target your one-time buyer segment at the right time.
  3. Measurement and optimization: Set and measure key customer retention metrics to understand your performance and adjust as needed.
  4. Automation: When you've developed, tested, and optimized your approach, use automation tools to streamline the process and scale up your impact.

After combining and enriching their customer data in Lexer’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) to create a single customer view, this framework helped Natalie and her team set themselves up for success in converting one-time buyers into repeat customers.

“We leveraged the streamlined data that Lexer provided us to find out what our customers wanted, and discovered a sweet spot for both our products and services.”

Empowered by Lexer’s customer insight tools, data enrichment tools, customer segmentation tools, and more, Sur La Table developed a multi-faceted “crawl, walk, run” approach to driving repeat purchases.

Sur La Table’s 3 CDP-powered strategies for converting the second sale

Crawl: Customer acquisition using “hero” products.

At the “crawl” stage of Sur La Table’s Lexer-enabled upsell strategy, Natalie and her team dug into their customer data to discover their hero products. Hero products are the products that high-value, repeat customers are most likely to purchase first.

When the team analyzed their products and product categories, they discovered that their culinary classes drove the most conversions to generate a repeat purchase. Although the culinary class results confirmed what Sur La Table thought they knew—that their culinary classes were high-impact drivers of customer retention and customer lifetime value growth—Natalie was surprised by the low conversion rate to the second order in the kitchen category.

She knew that there had to be products that were stand-outs for that category, so she used Lexer’s CDP to dig deeper into the product-level data to discover opportunities to improve its performance. Within the kitchen category, she found that the Instantpot had a higher conversion to the second order than the average, making it the hero product for that category.

Along with featuring this product in their acquisition campaigns to attract high-quality customers, Sur La Table boosted its impact by upselling buyers on accessories and engaging buyers with recipes to aid in conversions. This approach helps increase average order values, as well as the overall product experience.

Walk: Timed and personalized triggered messaging.

The “walk” stage is slightly more complex and requires a more in-depth understanding of the customer journey.

Using Lexer’s CDP, Sur La Table began looking at the relationship between customers’ first purchases and their second purchases. In other words, when customers make their first purchase in a particular category, which category are they most likely to purchase next?

In this analysis, the team discovered that the culinary class-to-kitchen conversion rate was very high. From the customer’s perspective, this makes sense: They took a cooking class and now need products to make the new recipes they learned.

However, the kitchen-to-culinary class conversion is quite low, which prompted the question: If Sur La Table more proactively marketed culinary classes that complement the product categories purchased, could they increase the conversion rates to the second order?

To test this hypothesis, Natalie and her team set up a campaign targeting bakeware buyers with personalized messaging around their culinary classes. With customer insights informing their approach, Sur La Table set up automations to trigger contextualized messages showcasing their top culinary classes throughout the customer lifecycle.

This journey helped them re-engage kitchen buyers in their highest-performing category, ultimately leading to long-term customer value growth.

Run: Loyalty program with tiered rewards and offers.

Finally, the “run” stage is more complex and long-term, aimed at building “stickiness” and brand affinity in customers’ minds.

Sur La Table achieved this stage in October of 2019 with the launch of their loyalty program. Because they needed to get the program set up quickly, efficiently, and as cost-effectively as possible, they chose to implement a tiered, earned rewards program over a points-based program run through an external loyalty platform:

Customers who join the loyalty program are easy to understand and easy to re-engage with personalized perks and rewards. By using Lexer’s CDP to fuel the program, Sur La Table doesn’t have to invest in an additional platform to administer rewards.

Turn first-time buyers into long-term brand evangelists with Lexer’s CDP

Sur La Table’s partnership with Lexer has enabled them to build, manage, measure, and optimize their customer retention and loyalty programs with ease.

“With quicker access to information we were able to figure out the business drivers that would bring customers back.Lexer was amazing in that they helped us automate the data pull for our loyalty program, so that we could enhance the experience and value for our customers.”

Lexer is the Customer Data Platform of choice for leading brands like Quiksilver, Igloo, Nine West, Rip Curl, Supergoop!, and more. As the only CDP built for data-driven retail businesses, we help customer-obsessed brands by putting customer data in the hands of marketers to inspire the experiences that drive sales.

Interested in learning more about Lexer’s CDP and services? Use the calendar below to book a meeting.

Speak with our retail experts

See how Lexer can help you know your customer and grow your business.
Book a demo
Conner Jones
Marketing Content Manager
As a Marketing Content Manager, Conner utilizes his expertise in content development and strategy to help enhance awareness of the Lexer brand and better define the company voice. Conner finds energy and empowerment in telling the Lexer story whether that be through blog posts or in-depth marketing strategy playbooks.