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Prioritising Customer Lifetime Value

There’s a lot of talk about acquisition and retention in eCommerce. While acquisition is important, retaining customers is too. Great attention needs to be paid to customer lifetime value.

That is to say, how much money each customer spends with you during their customer lifecycle. New customers, generally speaking, spend the least. There’s also only a 17% chance they’ll come back.

This number increases considerably with retained customers. As does their average order value. Retained customers spend, on average, almost 70% more than a new customer.

However, this doesn’t automatically mean that all retained customers have equal value. Retained customers who only buy discounted items are less valuable to you than those who pay full price.

While discounting is part of the vernacular of eCommerce, it doesn’t have to be the guiding principle of your business. Delivering great value so your customers are happy to pay full price is where you will win.

Prioritising these customers when forming a customer retention strategy is one of the most important things you can do.

Customer Data

To find out who your most valuable customers are you need to dig into your data. Fortunately for you, you’ve got lots of it. You should have a complete order history for every customer who has ever shopped with you.

Take the time to identify who your top spenders are and, more importantly, which of those buy full price items. Customers who buy sale items aren’t bad customers, they’re just not as profitable.

Also their motivations are different to customers who pay full price. Bargain hunters are exactly that. No matter how much they like your site or your service, they spend with you because you’re the cheapest. When that stops being the case they will go elsewhere.

Customers who are willing to pay full price do so because they see the added value of shopping specifically with you.

Identifying these customers is the first step in a robust customer retention strategy.

Once you’ve identified these customers you need to dig into your proposition and identify what it is that keeps your customers coming back.

It’s useful if you’re able to consolidate data from other parts of your business and even third party social media platforms.

The more data you have to work with the clearer the picture becomes. If you can match a high spend customer profile with comments you’ve been tagged in on Facebook, then the insight deepens.

This isn’t fast work but it’s extremely useful. The more you know the better you can serve and retain these customers in the long-term. Creating a Single Customer View allows you to build detailed profiles on all your customers, making it easier to identify big spenders in the future.

Customer Lifetime Value

If you want to grow customer lifetime value you first need to grow your value to your customers.

Remember, your most profitable customers spend the most, spend the most often and spend the most on full price products.

Your challenge is to retain their interest and keep them spending.

The obvious approach is to offer them discounts. This would be a mistake not least because it’s unnecessary. These customers are already paying full price so the last thing you want to do is train them to only shop when there’s money off.

That’s not to say you can’t offer them a generous voucher code for their birthday. Giving your most loyal customers a €/£/$50 gift voucher as a birthday gift is received very differently to pushing sale lines.

For one thing it’s far more personal. Not everyone gets a gift voucher and that makes them feel special. 

But taking it a step back, you need to identify how you can extend and increase their customer lifetime value. Without cutting too heavily into your profit margins.

You can achieve this with two things – relevance and value.

The lack of relevance is the main reason why customers churn. Whether it’s because of price, service or product range, if the customer isn’t getting what they want, they’ll go elsewhere.

Once they’ve churned it’s very difficult to win them back. Mainly because they have no reason to come back. Only if you make an offer they can’t refuse or the service from their new provider is worse. Winning back customers shifts the balance of power and moves towards incentives over value.

This is a situation you want to avoid. 

Rather you want to create a level of service that your most profitable customers would be foolish to walk away from.

Relevance

Staying relevant is key to keeping your customers. Selling the products they want at prices they’re happy to pay is part of it.

But relevance runs deeper. Shopping on your website and buying your products forms a part of your customer’s identity. They shop with you because they like the experience.

Think about how you can extend that experience to grow relevance. Social media is a good place to start. Encouraging your customers to tag your account when they share pictures. You can, in turn, add their post to your reels.

This reciprocal relationship moves away from the purely transactional and starts to become personal. For the customer at any rate. 

They will enjoy the exposure you give them which will encourage them to buy your latest products to maintain that status.

The more you can do to sustain your relevance in the lives of your customers, the longer they will shop with you. 

Value

A key element of sustaining relevance is offering value. Value doesn’t have to be discounts and, again, this audience won’t necessarily respond to them anyway.

Value is relative and takes many forms. Your challenge is determining what would be of most value to your top spenders to enhance their customer lifetime value.

Exclusive products is a good place to start. Limited edition items, collectors covers (in the case of multimedia products) and exclusive designs create hype and fear of missing out.

Hype is great because customers want to share their excitement. More so when they know they are putting a small proportion of your customer base who is eligible to get those products.

Secondly, FOMO is an extremely powerful driver. Making a product available for 24 or 48 hours drives customers to take quick action lest they miss out on something exclusive.

The value of having the product matters more than the money.

Considerable value can be added through your communications. We’ve touched on engaging with your audience via social media, but SMS and email marketing are highly effective channels when done correctly.

Remember, you have a lot of data on your customers. You know what products they like and therefore what they might buy in the future. Also, you’ll have an insight into what content they might consume in the form of blogs.

Creating email marketing campaigns that let customers know about new, relevant, products is a great way of driving sales. More so if you offer the correct size, colour or format.

Knowing your customer plays PlayStation over Xbox makes a massive difference when it comes to letting them know about pre-orders or new releases. Getting this simple detail right nurtures the relationship and boosts sales.

Build a Customer Lifetime Value Strategy

With all these things in mind, you’re in a strong position to start creating a strategy around customer lifetime value.

Providing you know the customers you want to engage, how you’re going to engage with them and what you’re going to offer.

This strategy needs to be both long term and highly flexible to meet their changing needs. Customers rarely stay in one pigeonhole for long.

The ability to continually ingest data and update your customer profiles is key to this endeavour. If a customer starts shopping for baby clothes, you can reasonably assume their family is growing.

The ability to segment that customer quickly and drop them into new communication funnels is powerful. It makes your customer feel understood and it helps you to corner their business for all the baby needs you can reasonably meet. 

Real time data analysis at the heart of your strategy will put you ahead of your competitors like nothing else. Invest in a customer data platform that can meet that need.

To learn more about how  customer data can help you consolidate your data in real time, get in touch to request a demo.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can boost conversions and retention, check out our latest white paper in partnership with 3Radical

Click to download our guide to increasing eCommerce conversions and retention.

About Xtremepush

Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands across multiple industries. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.

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