eCommerce Insiders

13 Tactics That Will Improve Your Customer Lifetime Value This Week

You know how important customer lifetime value is, and I’m sure you’re always eager to improve this number.

We tend to measure the lifetime value of a customer purely by how much they purchase from us, but increasing that number isn’t just about new orders. We also need to work with our customers by increasing their trust and happiness with our company.

An increase in these two areas will eventually lead to more sales and a higher customer lifetime value.

Below are 13 ideas for how to increase the lifetime value of your customers that you can implement right away!

1. Send Targeted Up-Sell or Cross-Sell Emails to Specific Customers

If you have a customer list, you should be able to filter it to find your most profitable group of customers. These are the customers who either have purchased multiple times or tend to purchase more expensive items. We can reward these customers by sending them a limited time offer that will get them to complete their next purchase sooner.

Sending these emails to all customers can be a tricky proposition since your customers may become accustomed to waiting for you to offer discounts instead of purchasing items at full price but targeting a specific segment with discounts can be way more lucrative. Make sure this segment is full of loyal customers who would appreciate the discount or offer as a “thank you” for their commitment to your store.

2. Send Personal Emails to Your Customers

When customers buy from us, they most likely receive an email confirming their order and a generic “thanks” from us. When is the last time that an e-commerce retailer emailed you or mailed you a personal message? Customers want to connect with the brands they support and personal messages are a great way to do this.

Now, I’m not recommending you to start writing personal messages to every single customer who purchases from you, but rather to start by focusing on your top customers. How you define “top” is up to you. You could do it by number of orders, size of individual orders or even by who is actively promoting your brand through channels like social media. Once you narrow down a small number of customers, you can prepare a personal email (or mail if you want to go the extra mile!) thanking them for supporting your store.

3. Respond to Customer Inquiries in Less Than 12 Hours

Most of the interactions we tend to have with our customers happen through support channels like email. This is usually bad since customers are emailing us to report that something went wrong with their order but we can make this negative experience better by responding to inquires faster. The speed of our response will go a long away in ensuring the customer feels like you care about their concerns and are ready to make everything right.

The standard in the industry tends to be 24 hours but why not try to go the extra mile and shoot for 12 hours? Our customers will appreciate the promptness in our response and increase their happiness with our service, especially when something goes wrong with their order.

4. Offer Early Access to New Products

We could also offer early access to new or upcoming products to specific customer groups. We all want to be part of exclusive clubs and early access is an awesome way to reward your most loyal customers. You can do this by simply keeping your product pages private from your general website and then sharing the links to these product pages through email to a segment of your customer list. You might event find that your click-through rate for these emails is quite high!

5. Ask for Testimonials or Reviews

Thousands of people might buy a product but only a small percentage will spend the time writing a review. These people fall into two categories: a) they love the product and can’t wait to tell other people b) they hate the product and can’t wait to warn others to avoid it. Either way, they have strong emotions towards the product and want to share their feelings with the world.

We obviously want to focus on the people who love your product and asking for testimonials is a way for customers to express their satisfaction with your products. If they are willing to recommend your product, you can be sure they are willing to purchase other products from you in the future.

6. Ask for Feedback

You are always thinking of ways to improve your site or your products and sometimes we forget to ask the people that matter the most: the customers! You can be sure that they will have an opinion to share with you and some are probably just waiting for you to ask. Not everything they say might be useful or actionable but the simple action of asking them for feedback is what matters here.

7. Offer Better Shipping Options

How long will your customers have to wait before receiving your products? A few days, a week, longer? Faster shipping options means customers can get to enjoy your products quicker. Retailers tend to avoid faster options because they are more expensive but some customers out there are willing to pay this premium to receive products faster. You will offer a better service at very little (if any) extra cost to you.

8. Offer Phone Support

You know what’s better than answering support emails quickly? Offering the ability for customers to call a number and resolve issues within minutes. Great phone support is perfect for those customers who want answers right away and don’t want to wait around for a few hours. Phone support needs to be done right though. Being put on hold for 30 minutes only to have the call be disconnected is worse than not offering it so be careful on how you set this up.

9. Improve Your Product Packaging

The first interaction your customers have with your product is when they open the box that just arrived in their mail. Is this a pleasant interaction or a painful one? Companies like Apple are famous for designing beautiful packaging that is more than just a cardboard box. We may not have the resources to create custom shipping boxes but we can organize our packages nicely and make them easy to open. We could also add small details like thank you cards and other useful information inside the box. Putting a little bit of effort can go a long way in improve the perception your customers have of your products.

10. Send a Welcome Email to New Customers

As mentioned before, new customers usually only receive an order confirmation email when they first buy from us. What if they also received a welcomed email with useful information? This email could set the tone for how you treat your customers by welcoming them to a community, offering useful advice and pointing them to other things they could check out. More importantly, once you write and design the email, it quite simple to set up a newsletter program to send it out to all new buyers.

11. Offer Deals to Social Media Followers

If you’re trying to build a social media following then perhaps its time to consider offers that are only visible to these customers. Just like with the early access idea above, these deals create an exclusive feeling among your customers who are more active on social media. These are the same customers who are also more likely to share your products with their friends, helping you create more awareness outside of your existing customer group.

12. Write Customer Stories on Your Blog

Do you have a blog that you keep reminding yourself to write for? You’re not the only one. Writing a blog seems like a hard task, especially when it comes time to choose a topic to cover. To help with this, you could start by creating stories about individual customers and then posting them on your blog. These stories could cover something interesting or unique about your customer, and is a great way of showcasing members of your community. Companies do this all time with case studies of other companies, but we can do this with consumers too!

13. Offer Free Information Such as Ebooks

The final tip is one that is covered all the time by marketers, and it doesn’t hurt to cover it again. Create free content such as ebooks, blog posts or videos and offer them your customers. Customers love free and useful information, and it helps create thought leadership among your buyers. If your customers trust you, they will be more willing to buy from you and recommend you to their friends.

Do you have any other tactics or tips which has helped you improve the lifetime value of your customers? Let me know in the comments.

Ruben Ugarte is a Web Analytics Consultant who has helped companies of all sizes grow through the use of analytics. If you have any questions around how you can use analytics or even how to use tools like Mixpanel or Segment, get in touch with him!

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