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Build Your Online Store Around
the Customer Lifecycle

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how consumers connect with retail brands. In the span of a few months, eCommerce has gone from being a sideshow to taking centrestage as shopping habits shift online. That disruption has forced brands to take a hard look at their operations, customer relationships, and marketing, and at whether their tools and technology are fit-for-purpose.

As brands build out a marketing technology stack that supports their eCommerce website, one key to success will be how well they incorporate the discipline of customer lifecycle management. Marketers need to be cognisant of the way their content “lands” and whether it improves customer retention at every stage of the funnel – not just at the end. The goal of lifecycle management is to ensure the customer experience is personalised and also facilitates the path to purchase.

With the customer journey being upended by the pandemic, brands can follow a lifecycle approach to deliver a superior eCommerce experience on their webstores.

Customer Lifecycle 101

The customer lifecycle consists of all the stages a customer goes through to make a purchase. A well-implemented customer lifecycle journey provides a complete picture of the customer experience and makes it easy for brands to identify areas of the journey that need improvement.

Illustration of the 5 Stages of the Customer Lifecycle

 

In developing an eCommerce website, marketers should take note of the following lifecycle stages:

Stage 1: Awareness

This is the first touch point in the customer journey. Brands can build awareness through personalised advertisements, social media, websites, and apps.

Stage 2: Research

When a potential customer decides to learn more about a brand or product, they usually conduct research by visiting websites, browsing social media, or reading articles. At this point, marketers can provide educational content that addresses their queries.

Stage 3: Comparison/Consideration

A prospect starts to assess a brand’s worth and find alternatives or substitutes. They’re looking at how well the product suits their specific needs vis-à-vis the rest of the market. Marketers can help them along by putting out content that highlights the brand’s differentiating value.

Stage 4: Transaction

By this stage, the prospect is primed to become a customer and is looking to complete the purchase. Brands can facilitate this process by providing multiple payment options as well as omnichannel delivery options.

Stage 5: Advocacy

A segment of satisfied customers will become advocates for the brand. Marketers can bolster that group through loyalty rewards and exclusive deals.

Managing the Lifecycle

For brands, having a holistic lifecycle management plan that covers all the stages outlined above will ensure each touch point is serving the customer well. And as those touch points are set to keep growing in an eCommerce-first world, marketers should be prepared to invest in automation tools. Here, a customer data platform and customer relationship management software can help construct a unified view of each customer. Having a single source of truth allows marketers to understand the needs of customers at different stages of the lifecycle as well as to personalise content according to each customer’s point in the journey.

If it can’t be measured, then it doesn’t matter. Brands should be regularly measuring churn and retention on their eCommerce website at every stage of the lifecycle – not just between add-to-cart and check-out – to root out any pain points. That feedback will be useful for designing conversion rate optimisation strategies that can be implemented with tools such as Insider.

In addition, leveraging conversational chatbots on an eCommerce website can improve consumer decision-making by providing them with access to direct support at any stage of the buyer journey.

Customer Success

Through a deep understanding of the stages that make up the customer lifecycle, marketers can serve up personalised content that increases retention outcomes from awareness through to conversion. In doing so, brands strengthen their ability to develop lasting relationships with existing consumers, attract new ones, and boost overall customer lifetime value.

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Yih Cheng Yak

Head of Consulting,
Marketing Technology

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