Next-generation e-commerce business models such as flash sales and daily deals websites look set to grow into an increasingly important platform for the industry, according to research.
The latest RJMetrics eCommerce Customer Lifetime Value Benchmark Report found that customers buying products with traditional online retailers generally return within a year to spend another 94 per cent of the first purchase amount.
For businesses running limited-time flash sales, the typical amount spent on return visits is 385 per cent of the original sum.
RJMetrics' survey of web retailers and flash sale, group buying and daily deals websites found that companies' business models and product mixes have a significant influence on their results.
Robert J Moore, the firm's chief executive officer, said: "This data validates that 'next-generation' business models in e-commerce have legs.
"The days of calculating return on investment based upon a single purchase are behind us. We are seeing internet retailers across the board make smarter marketing and merchandising decisions by optimising for long-term customer loyalty."
Other outcomes of the research that could interest small businesses selling things online and using parcel delivery services include the finding that Facebook advertisements are performing well against competitors in terms of generating high-value customers.
The average buyer acquired via Facebook ads spends eight per cent more in their lifetime than the typical online shopper sourced through promotions on Google.
Users of group buying, daily deal and flash sale websites purchase nearly twice as often as people using traditional online retail platforms, according to the report.
However, traditional web shoppers appear to spend more each time, making average purchases that are more than 50 per cent bigger than those completed on sites offering short-term deals and sales.
Author: Adrian Medland