Purchase Frequency vs. Cart Size: Which Metric Should You Focus On?
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Every marketing campaign is unique and therefore requires a unique tracking strategy. With too many entrepreneurs relying solely on their gut instinct alone, you risk overlooking something important and missing valuable insights for future campaigns.

That's why it's vital to track purchase frequency and cart size.

But, which one should you focus on? More so since both are vital to assess your business's health, conversion rates, customer engagement, and loyalty.

It's quite the predicament.

To help you decide where to focus more, let's first break down these two metrics into bite-size chunks to help you understand better. By the end, you'll decide which metric is best.

What Is Purchase Frequency?

Purchase frequency represents the number of times the average consumer purchases your brand's goods and services in a given period (in most cases, a 12 month period).

Purchase Frequency = Total number of orders (12 months) / Total number of unique customers (12 months)

By understanding how often a customer(s) buys from your brand, you'll be able to gauge customer engagement.

It's common for consumer packaged goods (CPG), such as a gallon of milk, to have a higher purchase frequency than goods outside the CPG category, such as machinery.

Advantages of Purchase Frequency

Why is it important to monitor your online brand's purchase frequency?

  • Understand your customers' purchasing behavior – you collect purchasing frequency data over time. This data contains purchasing preferences, which is excellent at understanding your customers' purchasing patterns.
  • A great alternative to PPC ads – PPC ads are becoming increasingly expensive in an e-commerce-saturated market, making it challenging to track customer retention and engagement. Purchase frequency is a cost-effective alternative to use.
  • Indicates your brand's health – a higher brand's purchase frequency translates to having more repeat customers, hence healthy growth.

Calculating your purchase frequency will assess your overall customer retention with more than 50% of your annual revenue coming from repeat purchasers.

  • Gauges and increases customer lifetime value (CLV) - repeat customers spend 67% more than one-time customers. When customers orders products and services over a long period, you'll be able to assess their CLV.

Additionally, with the consumer behavior data you collect, you can boost consumer loyalty, motivating customers to spend more increasing their CLV.

  • A measure of customer engagement – having a higher purchase frequency also means your customers are highly engaged with your brand. It also means your marketing campaigns are succeeding at catalyzing conversions. 

What Is a Good Purchase Frequency?

There's no one answer for all that showcases a good purchase frequency across the board.

Frequency purchase varies from industry to industry. However, according to Alex Schultz, vice president of growth at Facebook, a 20 – 30% purchase frequency is a great indicator your online store is healthy.

While it's great to have a high purchase frequency, say 50%, it's best to invest in new customer acquisition strategies to widen your consumer.

On the other hand, if only 20% of your customers or lower become repeat purchasers, consider re-targeting the one-time customers to motivate them to convert to repeat purchasers.

What Is Cart Size

Cart size is the number of products a customer purchases from your brand per transaction over a given period.

Cart Size = Total number of products(units) sold / Number of order transactions

You have invested in marketing campaigns, attracted customers to your store, converted them into purchasers, and now, it's time to measure how satisfied they leave your store.

Advantages of Cart Size

So, why is cart size important to your brand?

  • A measure of customer experience – a recent PwC Global Customer Insights survey insisted on the importance of customer experience. A great way to assess this experience is to gauge cart size.
  • It helps you create buyer personas – as you identify the number of items in a customer's cart, you'll also identify the specific items therein, which can help create buyer personas and segmentation.

It's vital to create segments to boost personalization and reduce cart abandonment through sending cart abandonment emails.

  • It helps you understand how your products are performing – the larger the customer's cart size, the more products they have purchased, and the more they spend. However, it's vital to note the specific products your customers are buying. You'll be able to distinguish between high performance and low-performance goods.
  • Assess the impact of external factors – certain factors affect cart size, notwithstanding the products you are selling. Factors such as seasons, holidays, environmental, government policy, culture, the market economy, among others, affect your customers' shopping habits.
  • It measures the health of your store's front-end tech stack. The front-end tech stack is the interface your customers interact with whenever they visit your online store. A larger cart size means a satisfied customer, improved customer experience, accessibility, and a healthy front-end tech stack.

What Is The Preferred Cart Size?

Again, there isn't a one size fits all cart size. Various factors determine the number of products a customer purchases at that given time, such as:

  • The type of products you are selling – CPG move faster and are most common fast movers
  • Demographic and social factors
  • Consumer online shopping experience
  • Your online store's design
  • Payment options and check out process – rough check out process accounts for 18% of cart abandonment.
  • Extra charges – account for 49% of cart abandonment
  • Shipping and after-sale services

You are in business to convert leads into purchasers to generate revenue.

Cart size comes down to one thing: customer experience.

The more a customer is satisfied, the larger the cart size and the more profits you'll make. An improved customer experience begins with making the right first impression, and you have a few seconds to make or break it.

Which Metric Should You Focus On?

Choosing the right metric should ultimately depend on the nature of your business, your company's growth, your business objectives, and the types of products you're selling. Take some time to think about what will be most beneficial for your business and how you can best incorporate it into your marketing strategy. And if you want more insight into which metrics are best for your business, Glow Loyalty has all the support you need. Contact us today-- our experts are ready to help. 


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