Time to Reorder

Time to Reorder is the time between a customer’s purchase of a selected product and their subsequent purchase (of that same product).

May 22, 2023

Understanding Time to Reorder

Key metrics such as customer retention rate, customer lifetime value (CLV), and repeat purchase rate directly impact business profitability.  

At a high level, metrics offer insight into the overall health of your ecommerce business and provide context into things like

  1. Customer purchasing behaviors 
  2. Where bottlenecks are happening in your sales funnel
  3. Which paid ads are making the greatest impact on your business 

Time to reorder is another metric to watch as it plays a role in whether or not you’re growing revenue or retaining customers in the long run. 

At Tydo, we define time to reorder as the time between a customer’s purchase of a selected product and their subsequent purchase (of that same product).

Depending on your industry, the time to reorder number can vary. For example, if you’re selling mattresses, a customer’s time to reorder might be every five to ten years. If you’re selling coffee or moisturizer, the time to reorder might shrink to weeks or months because it’s a more replenishable item. 

This time frame shrinks to days or weeks if you sell SKUs like coffee or moisturizer.

How to calculate Time to Reorder

Also known as a reorder point formula, this is how we calculate the metric:

Time to reorder = 2nd order date for Product A – 1st order date for Product A

Data sources: Shopify


Let’s say you run an ecommerce store selling spices and seasonings.

In March, Jack purchased Hawaiian smoked salt. He loved it so much that he wanted to buy a bottle for his dad for Father’s Day in June. The time to reorder for Jack differs between March and June, or three months.


Time to reorder is like discovering an incredible croissant at your local coffee shop. One day, you try it for the first time, and you become obsessed. You love it so much and you can’t imagine your morning commute without it, so you come back the next day.

Why is time to reorder a good metric to keep your eye on? It impacts many areas of the business, including:

  1. Inventory Management: By looking at how long it takes for customers to reorder a certain product, you get a better idea of which products are selling consistently and need a more frequent restocking. You can also better anticipate a surge in customer demand, forecasting, and start to adjust inventory levels.
  2. Product Trends: Tracking time to reorder trends allows you to narrow in on best-selling products and avoid getting stuck with overstocks or stockouts. As with all data you collect from your ecommerce business, the information helps create better-performing landing pages and ads.
  3. Retention: How can you see which customers are most loyal? Track time to reorder. You can see the average time it typically takes for a customer to reorder. This helps you keep customers engaged, especially through loyalty programs, subscriptions, or email/SMS promotions.

Most of all, data is there to help point you toward growth, increase revenue, and find new opportunities. Time to reorder helps reach customers at the right place and at the right time.

Read more about Time to Reorder

What is reordering?

Think of time to reorder as the amount of time that passes between replenishing the same product. 

That means a customer can order various products from your store at any time, but with this metric, you’re tracking the amount of time between ordering the same item.

What is reordering? It’s when you come back and order a product again.

How can I time my messaging?

There’s a sweet spot to hit when you’re sending messages to your customers. You want to critically think about when and why you’re sending marketing messages. The best time? Send messages based on data and when customers are more likely to place orders. 

Messaging too late or too early misses the mark. Instead, use the time to reorder metric to better anticipate when your customer is getting ready to reorder a product from your ecommerce site.

How do you encourage customers to reorder? When using SMS to target customers, Repeat recommends using these strategies to encourage customers to reorder:

  1. For customers who go too long between reordering, create a win-back automation to keep your brand top of mind and especially when they’re ready to purchase.
  2. Incentivize new customers to continue purchasing by sharing info about your loyalty program and encouraging them to sign up to enjoy special pricing.
  3. Drive interest in purchasing additional products through upselling and cross-selling campaigns. For example, if a customer purchased a comforter from your shop, a cross-sell flow highlighting a promotion on sheets could entice them to make an additional purchase.

Remove friction from the reordering experience. The easier it is for your customer to purchase, the likelier they will do so when receiving an email or text.

Val Geisler recommends that brands monitor how often customers click emails, reply to SMS campaigns, or log into online store profiles.

Geisler explains that there’s a higher possibility of churn if, say, a customer repeatedly visits the billing page in their account dashboard more than once in x amount of time. Monitor this data point and then target customers with effective messaging to prevent them from churning. 

To improve retention rates and customer satisfaction through email, she recommends:

  1. Offering customers a chance to opt out of campaigns (BFCM, for example), intending to reengage them once a campaign ends.
  2. Building a personal relationship with your customer and their inbox to improve deliverability. 
  3. Encouraging customers to open and engage with emails.

Does a Subscription solve the timing question?

Subscriptions help encourage customers to repurchase and can impact metrics such as LTV, but it’s not the only option for finding the right time to reach out to a customer.

There are pros and cons of subscriptions to consider.

Benefits of subscriptions include:

  1. Convenience for the customer
  2. It offers reliable and steady revenue to a brand
  3. It builds customer loyalty
  4. It creates an opportunity for customer personalization

But there are some downsides, such as:

  1. Costs can be a detractor for customers (and require more spending on the part of brands to run subscription programs)
  2. Some customers don’t want to sign up for a commitment or find that subscription times don’t suit their needs
  3. Churning means customers don’t just opt out of the subscription, but often the brand as well
  4. Reduced flexibility

It’s important to consider both the pros and cons when you’re setting up a subscription program.

How to make it easy to reorder

Use QR Codes

QR codes have connected customers with products, especially in recent years.

Kait Stephens, CEO of Brij, says the most successful QR codes are “visible enough to the customer and have a clear call to action.”

QR codes also open up access to first-party data. “The challenge with moving into these channels [especially for brands going omnichannel] is that you lose access to first-party data. Even though you’re more efficient at acquiring customers, you have zero information.”

Reducing friction is one benefit of using QR codes. In countries throughout Asia, payments are also done via QR codes, highlighting a potential move toward a one-touch world and a more streamlined solution between browsing and purchasing.

Take advantage of QR code technology by implementing them on landing pages designed to help customers reorder their favorite items, discover new products, or complete purchases quickly. While you’re building out these landing pages, you can customize them with tools such as Replo to fit your brand aesthetic and needs.

Create replenishment texts or emails 

Sending out strategic replenishment emails is critical. It reminds customers to make another purchase. Setting up automations that target the right customers at appropriate buying intervals increases the likelihood they’ll make a subsequent purchase.

For SMS campaigns, keep the messages simple. Sending customers to links that connect them to product description pages, subscription profiles, and repeat shopping carts removes friction and makes purchasing even easier.


In addition to QR codes, subscriptions are a helpful tool for attracting and retaining new and existing customers in a given time period. Brands selling consumable products – items that must be replenished frequently or regularly – do exceptionally well with a subscription model.

Tips for optimizing subscriptions:

  1. Make it easy for customers to modify subscriptions to reduce churn.
  2. Utilize add-on features to connect customers with products that complement subscription purchases (this also helps increase AOV).
  3. Consider offering subscription-only perks and benefits to reward loyal customers.

Some of the pitfalls customers face when contemplating subscriptions can be managed. Gaby Yitzhaek Tegen, the co-founder of Smartrr, says shipping charges for subscriptions are often a deterrent. “Giving too harsh of a discount [on a product] actually devalues the product.” Instead, offer free shipping for subscribers. 

Clear communication about shipping and ordering

Engaging with your customers doesn’t end once they’ve placed an order. 

Use shipping and tracking information to keep customers up-to-date with where their products are and use the post-purchase flow as an opportunity to improve the customer experience. 

Keeping customers aware of where products are in the shipment process builds customer loyalty and improves retention.  

Eli Weiss, senior director of CX and retention at Jones Road Beauty, says, "Want to create magic with your customers? Be better than most with the follow-ups.” That’s where you can shine.