Post-purchase intent: boost customer lifetime value and retention with content

11 Sep 2018

Post-purchase intent: boost customer lifetime value and retention with content

Despite comprising only 15% of internet shoppers, returning customers currently account for an impressive third of global online transactions. In fact, studies predict that repeat business could be a $1 trillion market by 2019. The evidence is clear: developing customer lifetime value and incremental value beyond the first point of purchase should be a vital goal for CMOs.

Unfortunately, the increasing savviness of customers means that keeping them coming back is also growing more difficult. 77% of current shoppers admit to withdrawing brand loyalty more quickly than they did three years ago. These days, if a service or product fails to pass muster – or if a better offer comes along – few consumers will think twice before seeking greener pastures.

In this environment, how can brands use content to boost retention, long-term customer satisfaction and lifetime value?

Increase average order value with buying and how-to guides

The online content that consumers engage with just before purchase can be hugely influential in their buying decisions. Deployed correctly, this content can increase AOVs – and thus CLV – through subtle up- and cross- selling.

Helpful how-to and buying guides are always a valuable resource, attracting organic search traffic as well as informing and aiding customers. When linked to from product descriptions and category pages, however, they serve an additional purpose: exposing the buyer to new pages and products and increasing the chance of additional ‘add to basket’ moments. Our own research suggests that 1 in 10 online shoppers are more likely to increase their basket size after reading a helpful online buying guide.

Of course, the content won’t have a positive impact if no-one can see or find it. Make sure relevant content is clearly signposted on the homepage, main navigation and category pages to maximise click-through and engagement. 

Capitalise on post-purchase glow

According to research from ROKT, the happiest stage of the customer journey is the point of conversion, or ‘Transaction Moment’. Thanks to the hit of motivating dopamine induced by purchase excitement, consumers are up to 7x more likely to engage with offers presented within the Transaction Moment. Furthermore, emails sent to a customer directly post-purchase have double the open rate of regular bulk marketing missives.

For these reasons, the order confirmation email is where brands should begin laying the groundwork for a fruitful long-term relationship – and, further down the line, more purchases.

Use the post-purchase email to show the customer what else you have to offer them – for example, personalised discounts (93% of consumers would make a repeat purchase if offered a good discount or deal). Combine strong visual and written content with a distinctive brand tone of voice and convincing CTA to tempt users back onto your site.

If your website features a guide and editorial hub section, this is the ideal place to advertise it: 36% of online shoppers feel more loyal to a brand that offers great advice, increasing the chance of return custom further down the line. Although future product suggestions can also work well in a post-purchase email, these should be personalised to avoid appearing opportunistic to savvy customers.

The real key is not to push further sales at this point, but to keep the conversation going and prepare the foundations for positive brand sentiment. Even a micro-conversion such as a Twitter follow could be enough to cement an ongoing brand-customer relationship.

Foster loyalty with targeted, omnichannel content

Considering the statistics above, it will come as no surprise that today’s leading ecommerce brands are placing increasing emphasis on loyalty programmes, from Amazon Prime to Marriott Rewards. However, loyalty initiatives like these focus on deepening the relationship with customers that are already highly engaged with a brand. How do businesses convert one-time buyers into faithful, return customers ripe for induction into loyalty initiatives?

Modern consumers – millennials chief among them – want to feel not commoditised but engaged by the brands they buy from. As a result, a good post-purchase and pre-loyalty programme should focus not on the next sale but on earning the customer’s interest. As Accenture’s customer loyalty report notes:

“Rather than investing in initiatives aimed at directly increasing the wallet share of loyal customers, companies can benefit from placing greater investment emphasis on leveraging the goodwill and word-of-mouth generated by the loyal base as a source of “warm” acquisitions. That means recalibrating investments to focus on retaining customers with highly satisfying experiences and leveraging their connections to acquire new customers. That’s where the hidden pools of loyalty returns lie.”

Businesses that prioritise retention over acquisition report a 3x faster increase in market share than those which focus primarily on acquisition. So what is holding CMOs back from achieving their goals? According to Forbes Insights, 33% of marketers believe that issues with content quality and quantity are mitigating factors in the drive to boost customer lifetime value.

Producing high volumes of online content in-house comes with a whole host of operational costs and challenges. These can be eliminated by outsourcing to an ecommerce content production specialist like Quill. To find out how Quill can boost both retention and customer lifetime value with expert, brand-tailored, ROI-positive content, get in touch below.

Susanna Quirke @ Quill ContentContent Marketing Manager at Quill, examining digital, SEO and e-commerce trends from across the web.

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