Post-purchase intent: boosting customer lifetime value with content

Despite comprising only 15% of internet shoppers, returning customers currently account for an impressive ⅓ of global online transactions, with studies predicting that repeat business could be a $1 trillion market by 2019. Meanwhile, research from Forbes Insights suggests that businesses which prioritise customer retention see a 3x faster increase in market share than those which focus primarily on acquisition. The evidence is clear: developing customer lifetime and incremental value beyond the first point of purchase should be a vital goal for CMOs.

But while it’s true that boosting retention can yield great dividends, the increasing savviness of customers means that keeping them coming back is also getting more difficult. 77% of current shoppers admit to abandoning 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.

So 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

Increasing average order values is one sure-fire way to boost overall CLV. The online content that consumers engage with immediately prior to purchase can be hugely influential; leveraged correctly, this content can increase AOVs through subtle up- and cross- selling.

Helpful, informational how-to and buying guides are an invaluable resource, attracting valuable organic search traffic as well as informing and aiding customers. When linked to from product descriptions and category pages, however, they serve an additional function: exposing the buyer to new pages and products and increasing the chance of additional ‘add to basket’ moments. 1 in 10 online shoppers is 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. If possible, guides should also be optimised with relevant keywords and vocabulary for visibility in organic search.

Capitalise on post-purchase glow

According to research from ROKT, the happiest stage of the customer journey is the very 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 related 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 post-purchase relationship – and, further down the line, more conversions.

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). The post-purchase email should also combine strong visual and written content with a distinctive brand tone of voice and a 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 lay the groundwork 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, and just as with the post-purchase email, a good post-purchase and pre-loyalty programme should focus not on the next sale but on increasing engagement. 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 superior growth – 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 that 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.

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