Retention Analysis In Metrilo

How to read Retention Analysis

If you’re trying out Metrilo’s Retention Analysis, here’s how to make the most of it.

That’s a walk-through of the Retention Analysis report and a helper what you’ll find in yours, how to read it and what to do with the info.

Let’s talk retention and sell more!

First, here’s what dashboard you’ll see:

That’s an overview of your retention state – all key metrics right there in the Retention tab:

  • revenue
  • orders
  • customers
  • revenue per customer
  • orders per customer
  • time between orders

Clicking on Details under each one to get trend graphs.

New vs returning customers

Since that’s the basis of any retention efforts, we make it clear on the dashboard:

the color-coded line under the metrics compares the number of new and returning customers to show how much of your revenue is coming from each group.

Needless to say, the greener it is, the better for you in the long term.

If you click on Details for either group, you’ll get an accumulated trend graph again.

For returning customers, you’ll also see a bar depicting the number of orders. When you hover over the different-toned segments, you’ll see the share of customers with the specific number of orders (just like in the tooltip in the picture above).

Time between orders

That’s one very important metric for retention and you have it right on the dashboard.

It’s calculated globally for your store and shows how many days it takes your customers to to place a next order on average.

We’ll go in details how to use that insight in a bit.

Now, here’s how to decipher the other tab next to Overview – Cohorts.

Reading the Cohort Analysis

When you click on Cohorts, you get the other part of the Retention Analysis – a detail report by cohorts.

Cohorts are groups of customers with similar behavior.

In Metrilo, there are 3 types of cohorts:

  • by month of first order,
  • by first product bought and
  • by coupon used for the first purchase.

This grouping gives you more context when monitoring their shopping behavior and makes finding behavior patterns easier and the findings – more focused and meaningful.

You can easily flip through the 3 different cohort options – Months, Products, Coupon codes – from the switch at the top of the page.

Cohorts Available

Each version of the report shows the major retention metrics:

  • Revenue – all-time for the whole cohort
  • Returning – the share of the cohort that is returning customers
  • Avg. order – the AOV for the cohort
  • Rev. per customer – average revenue earned from each customer in the cohort

Loyalty Driven By Product

The Cohorts by months are sorted by recency, while the other two are sorted by revenue in descending order.

Cohort Performance

If you click on the Performance button for any cohort, a panel expands and you’ll see a matrix with numbers.

This matrix maps all next orders (after the first one) over time. It answers the question how much time after the first order these people bought for the second, third and so on time.

The columns in the matrix months/ weeks and the rows are 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on order.

You can look at sales in order count (#), the share of people from the cohort (%) or revenue ($).

Lastly, color-coding will draw your attention to the periods with most sales.

Here, we see that 29 second orders were placed in the first month and 125 more – in the second month. So this cohort didn’t wait much time before coming back after their first purchase.

Then, we see most of their orders in the third month. This is a perfect example of recurring business and regular sales.

It’s great for a monthly subscription – and no wonder, dog food is a product people need all the time and probably buy monthly.

The fading trail you see on the 8th row forms because all orders after the 7th are calculated together and include 9th, 10th and so on. The fading is caused by churning customers until very few remain to place orders, some time after the 24-month mark. So this cohort lives to about 2 years.

 Another cohort’s behavior may look like this:

Cohort AOV

It doesn’t show much loyalty – those people hardly purchase more than 3 times – but the good thing is when the do, they begin to make larger orders over time.

Now –

All the things you can do with the Retention Analysis

Understanding customer lifecycle

Not sure how often people need your products and how many times they buy from you? We have those metrics for your store calculated with historical data – ready to turn your marketing upside down.

Check the following:

  1. orders per customer
  2. average time between orders
  3. Do you have more one-time or repeat buyers?
  4. How is the trend graph of Time between orders going – up or down? (it should be going down if you manage to shorten the buying cycle)

Tip 1: If you have more one-time buyers than returning, you have a lot of work to do about retention. Look into service, product quality, and targeting to ensure you’re getting the right customers for the products you’re offering.

Tip 2: Retention depends on what you sell – wedding dresses don’t get many repeat sales. But commodities like cosmetics should get good repeat rate so use customer feedback to find out what’s the problem.

Send your emails when customers are ready to buy again

Thanks to data, you can be well-prepared and proactive in driving repeat sales.

How to reach them exactly when chances of conversion are the highest and not waste email “bullets” in vain?

You can now identify the right time when your customers are ready to shop again and proactively invite them back instead of sending emails all the time, waiting for the right time.

Time Between Orders

If your average time between orders is 50 days, send sales offers only between day 45 and day 50 to minimize spam and increase the chance of converting. Before that people are just not ready for another order.

Related: Increasing CLV in ecommerce

Win customers back

Now that you know when it’s normal to get a reorder, you also know when a customer is really slipping away.

When they pass the time between orders mark by more than 5 days, things are not good and you should be proactive.

Engage those people with a different offer, enticing them to come back – maybe a deeper discount or a call for feedback.

Optimize your remarketing budget

Retention analysis can help you get better results with less money. Exciting, right!

Take this cohort of gift buyers, for example:

After their first order in December, they shopped quite regularly until July when most of them stopped.

So judging by this insight, I wouldn’t do much about holiday shoppers this year before July – this type of customers seems to be doing fine without additional marketing budget. Then, I’ll start remarketing in July to keep them from churning.

Choose your coupons wisely

Not all promos need coupons. Maybe you’re overselling and losing on profit.

Related: Discounts hurt ecommerce

To save on discounts where you can, use Retention analysis to see what actually works in the long run and what just needs to go.

That’s what the cohort by coupons is for.

This report shows which coupons bring you loyal customers for months to come and which ones bring in the bad, disloyal kind. Just compare them by the share of returning customers and revenue per customer.

Good coupons would bring you repeat business, not just one-timers who seek deals. You don’t need that. A coupon should pay off the initial investment over time.

Fight seasonal slumps in sales

You might not even notice, but most shops experience seasonality in some way. And that’s normal, but being prepared will help you minimize the negative effects.

Real case: One of our clients never thought about his products as good Valentine’s Day gifts, but his customers apparently did – so when he found out thanks to Metrilo, he ran a special holiday campaign that brought a huge spike in sales.

Bump up your chances for loyalty with the right products

Looking at retention by products, you’ll discover that not all of your products act the same in keeping customers coming back.

That may be due to the product’s quality – it may not be what they expected, so they feel disappointed.

But there are other products that manage to get people hooked! They are your superstars.


They should be your featured products in ads, on social media, on the homepage and so on. Something like flagship products. Because they’ll bring you the really sweet clients for the long term and the most LTV.

Related: The Superstar product technique 


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About the author

With experience in FMCG and marketing, Dimira writes to help the brands of tomorrow succeed and believes passion is a key ingredient in any business.

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