Returning shoppers spend 2X that of new

As retailers look to invest in new technology, tools and marketing initiatives to grow online sales, a new report reveals some key metrics showing where those dollars would be best allocated.

Returning visitors to retail sites spend roughly twice that of new customers and convert at higher rates. Monetate analyzed nearly 7 billion shopping sessions during the fourth quarter of 2015 and found that returning visitors spent nearly $5.3 billion online, compared to $2.7 billion by new customers.

New visitors are half as likely as returning visitors to add an item to their cart, a rate that is nearly universal across devices and referral channels. Returning visitors during the 2015 holiday season added an item to their cart 15 percent of the time. New visitors, on average, added to their cart roughly 8 percent of the time.

"Every business needs to balance acquisition and retention costs. This struggle for balance leaves many marketers asking, 'Where do I focus my efforts so they make the most impact?'" said Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO, Monetate. "Of all the questions, the most critical to answer is, 'Do I invest time and money acquiring new customers, or do I focus on retaining the customers I already have and personalize their experiences?'"

Retailers shouldn't have to choose, according to Duncalfe. Still, knowing where to put their resources is critical.

While mobile is an important and growing channel for retailers, it also has the highest bounce rates for both new and returning customers, according to Monetate. Mobile shoppers bounced 37 percent of the time, compared to 28 percent on tablet and 26 percent on desktop.

For more:
-See this Monetate study

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