There are plenty of ecommerce terms to follow when running an ecommerce store. So, you probably heard about managing customer relationships.
Consumer satisfaction is a major aspect of your retail success, and you need to be dedicated and determined about accurate knowledge to provide optimal customer service.
Ultimately, optimal service leads to a successful business that includes loyal and satisfied customers.
Understanding the customer lifecycle for ecommerce should be the first priority for any ecommerce business owner.
This ensures an increase in sales and customers turning into regular purchasers and ultimately royal promoters.
What is the customer lifecycle?
You talk with your friend being perky and cheerful, while on the other hand, you talk with a stranger in a different manner.
Customer lifecycle marketing works in a similar fashion. You casually speak with a regular customer but treating a new customer is quite different in this regard.
It is the journey that a customer makes with a company, from becoming aware of the company and its product or service to becoming a loyal customer who continues to use the product or service.
The customer lifecycle has traditionally been divided into four stages: awareness, interest, consideration, and purchase. However, more recent models have added additional stages, such as loyalty and advocacy.
Each stage of the customer lifecycle presents different challenges for companies and requires different marketing and sales strategies. Companies can develop more effective marketing plans and improve customer retention by understanding the customer lifecycle.
What are the customer lifecycle stages for ecommerce?
We have mentioned earlier that the customer lifecycle consists of different stages.
Let’s see the customer lifecycle stages in the following section:
Awareness or reach comes up with the first interaction of a potential customer. When they stumble upon your brand on a shopping ad, internet posting, or website, they enter the first stage called reach or awareness.
The customer tries to find the information related to their search criteria, and often they try to find additional information. This stage becomes effective when a consumer reaches out and tries to find more information and pricing for you.
You can increase your brand awareness by creating more content, running a social media campaign, working on SEO, and sharing your story with a wider audience.
A customer visiting your website or making the call is what the accession or acquisition stage stands on. From an ecommerce point of view, the product page and checkout forms are the key points for conversion.
In the acquisition stage, the customer may reach out to get to know more details about the product or product usage. You need to answer the customer’s questions and inquire and offer them the best products for their satisfaction.
Publishing custom popup on the website to invite users to the campaign, creating blog posts containing FAQs, invite social media followers to join your other campaign will help you increase acquisition.
3. Potential Purchase
The next stage is when the customer makes the purchase. The customers now opt to make a purchase by getting all the information related to your brand and being satisfied with the overall experience.
The potential purchase or conversion happens, and customers turn to the potential purchaser.
The conversion stage implies that you clear up all the inquiry customer is seeking and provide valued product with the prospect of making a relationship with you. But you should try to hold the customer for further purchase in the future.
Create a discount code, add a free gift, offer free shipping, create a popup for anyone who didn’t make a purchase, and provide an extensive review about your product to hold the customer for conversion.
Here’s a great example from Cometeer:
4. Customer satisfaction
The customer satisfaction or retention stage is initiated by judging the overall customer experience of the potential purchasers.
Open up a survey and satisfaction score to know and find the customers’ demands. The feedback will gradually help you improve your service.
For example, you can do this via email marketing:
The retention stage also conveys special offers that only your regular customers can access. The special offers include different product discounts, bonuses, and full-fledged customer support.
Creating popup messages for returning customers and special segments for customers who have purchased multiple products are a couple of ideas to lift up the retention stage.
5. Royal promoters
This stage defines that a customer will be the strength of your brand by making multiple purchases. They will share their story and experience, post the product review on social media, and inform future customers by sharing their overall experiences.
The customer gets to this stage by stepping onto the other four stages. Creating brand loyalty relies on the customer service experience.
After completing all four stages, customers share how they feel about your brand and the value of your product.
How do you perform a customer lifecycle analysis for your ecommerce store?
It is important to know how the customer experience lifecycle is performing at every stage for your brand’s benefit. A customer lifecycle analysis helps you improve the service, identify the problems, and also helps to get a solution.
In the following section, we will cover a set of questions that will help you analyze every stage of the customer’s engagement.
Awareness stage analysis
Analyzing the reach phase, you need to figure out if your customer can find your website or company at ease.
You can analyze the reach stage by finding an answer to these questions, such as:
- How did the customer first hear about you? For example, it can be through TV channels, sponsored ads, search engines, or social media.
- How is your performance on these channels? The overall impression and click-through rate would be the indicator of the reach.
- What kind of ideas are your competitors using that you don’t use at all? Find these ideas by observing the competitors.
- What is your reputation regarding your customer service? Compare your good or bad service reputations and find out the cause of the bad ones.
- Do you reach a wider audience through social media posts? Get some followers on social media to reach a wider audience while you post any topic.
Accession stage analysis
The accession or acquisition stage contains the tools and information you provide. Later, this information enables the visitor to make a purchase decision and become a potential customer.
The following set of questions will set your goal for the acquisition stage:
- What is the essence of your content that makes a customer purchase? If your content is well-versed and descriptive enough, it will lead to a faster conversion and purchase decision.
- Do you own a blog? And how are the navigation and the readability? Get a good blog about your products to share the information with your customers. Also, smooth navigation and content readability are a plus for your ecommerce website.
- Is your content good enough for conversion? Make sure your content is good enough for customers to make a purchase decision.
- Is the pricing of the product and customer service available? Customer service should be maintained properly at all stages via live chat, email, or phone.
Potential purchase stage analysis
In this stage, you try to find out the issues or problems with making a purchase. The following sets of questions should be answered:
- How is the purchasing process? And is it easy to understand? When customers step on to purchase the product, they may find some options hard to understand, such as the payment option. Add user-friendly and convenient purchasing processes for your customers.
- Does your website contain bugs or an insecure domain? If your website contains bugs or insecure web pages, users won’t show interest in browsing the products. This will quickly make them go back to search for another ecommerce website.
- Do you have a refund policy or trial period program to make the purchase easy for your customer? The trial period will let the customer test the product or offers. The refund policy will ensure that if any customer is not satisfied with the product, they will get their money back.
These options provide users satisfaction; in the future, customers may be interested in buying more products from your ecommerce store.
- Is the product description descriptive enough to introduce the quality of a specific product? The product description should cover the key features, overall shape, size, and information about the product elaborately. You will find ten great product page examples here!
Customer satisfaction stage analysis
In the customer satisfaction or retention stage, you need to dig deeper into the customer purchase experience and make it better to hold potential customers.
Here are some questionnaires to analyze your retention stage:
- How is the overall feeling about the business to your customers? When customers finish shopping on your ecommerce platform, you can place a quick survey on your website to know the shopping experience of any customer.
- Do your returning customers get special offers for purchasing more products? Include special offers on your website to hold the current customers. Announce offers on different occasions or public holidays.
- What is the reaction of customers after purchasing your product? You can observe the customers’ reactions by knowing their feedback about any specific product or communicate with them via live chat to find out their experience.
- Do you have a personalized experience for your customer to show your appreciation? You can appreciate your customers while they provide feedback, whether it is negative or positive. This will ensure your professionalism in this field.
Royal promoters stage analysis
You need to observe this part of the lifecycle, if any customer returns to you for another purchase.
You can improve the customer purchase experience with the following questions to analyze your business loyalty:
- Does your website contain follow buttons for social media and your business email? The follow button for social media lets your customer share the page or product on their social networking page. The business email also allows customers to share their experiences or share product-related inquiries.
- Are you responsive to your customers on social media? If you have a social media page, your followers may want to inquire about something related to the ecommerce product, but in this case, you need to respond faster.
- Do you offer special discounts, referral programs, birthday gifts, and offers to keep the current customers? Ecommerce websites offer special discounts, referrals, and special gifts to keep the current customers. You can offer your customers the exclusive product at reduced pricing.
- Is your company easily accessible to the customer via live chat, phone, or email? Live chat, phone or email are the primary options for customers. Customers find these options on the website in the first place to know about the product or services.
Bonus: Using customer lifecycle software
Other than the customer lifecycle stages, you can still improve the purchase experience with customer lifecycle software.
When using the lifecycle app, you can automatically manage the customers. Some of the app’s names worth mentioning:
- Content management system. This is the software app that lets you build & manage the website without the knowledge of coding.
- Marketing automation tool. This tool will allow you to send emails and content ideas and have a list of customers.
- Customer relationship management system. Also called CRM, this system helps organize and manage the customer relationship while tracking the whole database of customer activity.
- Customer service (Help Desk). This tool allows you to create, communicate and carry out the customer service experience.
7 Tips to improve customer lifecycle for ecommerce
Even if you have theoretical knowledge about the customer lifecycle, there are still some ways you can improve the overall customer experience.
Here are some tips to enhance your customer service experience:
1. Effectively define your marketing channels
Customer lifecycle management is the key to achieving a purchase from your potential customer.
When you comprehend a channel that helps turn regular customers into advocates, you have some room to achieve your goal.
Some core channels that help your business improve include running paid ads on social media and social media posts, improving search results, email marketing, and app notifications.
Here’s a great infographic to get you started:
When you see one of the channels is providing better results, it allows you to improve your content, segments, and updates effectively.
2. Calculate customer lifetime value (CLV)
The customer lifetime value defines how much money a customer spends on your business for all purchases they will ever make.
So, how can you calculate CLV?
You can easily calculate CLV using basic math and numbers:
CLV = Average Order Value X Purchase Frequency X Average Customer Lifetime
Higher customer lifetime value refers to the valued customers who can bring in more profit to your business.
Moreover, a high CLV means a higher return on investment, customer loyalty, time-saving, marketing, increased regular customers, and cross-selling capability.
3. Improve the user experience to increase conversions
User experience mainly defines the customer’s journey to your business. When some users are satisfied with your brand, they are more likely to be regular customers or advocates.
Collect the feedback of your customers or users that are associated with the stage of the user’s lifecycle. The feedback will point out the areas you may need to impact on improving the buyer purchase lifecycle.
Customer service is one of the major points for improving your business. When you have excellent customer service, you can expect to have great customer satisfaction.
Your visitors won’t wait for a second to hit the back button if you have below-average customer service.
First of all, provide instant customer support on your online business and offer them cross-channel support. Experiment with the channels your users prefer to use, such as social media, email, or apps, to find out and show them the best customer service.
Secondly, properly maintain your support team. Ensure 24/7 support to the customers.
Finally, get to the real-time communication system, for example, the live chat system by your support team. While many websites use automated chat systems, you should go for live chat support.
5. Measure your customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the key to improving the customer lifecycle. You can attach a customer satisfaction survey to get their feedback while completing a purchase.
Use your support team’s assistance to improve the overall customer lifecycle.
Get the customer surveys and know their preference to manage your current business structure.
6. Follow cluster content strategy
The cluster content strategy can improve the customers’ lifecycle.
When keeping relevant information to your article with several internal linking that introduce the topic users are interested in, there’s a chance that people can collect a lot of information from your website.
Eventually, people will be more interested in browsing your website. Cluster content includes industry-related blogs, email templates, infographics, marketing tools, etc.
Provide a lot of engaging, SEO-optimized content to improve your website’s appearance in search engines.
Plus, you can even add CTA buttons in the articles:
Social media is the center of getting a broad customer appearance. The social media strategy includes the master plan that incorporates how you create posts for your audience.
Also, it contains guidelines, social media campaigns, customer engagement strategies, and creative plans.
Make a target audience, create quality content, emphasize key social media appearance, count the social media traffic coming to your website, and follow those tactics to improve the social media strategy.
Every valued customer goes through the process of lifecycle stages. The five customer lifecycle for ecommerce stages defines the whole process of how a customer can engage with your website.
While it is quite certain that you have the slightest chance to deal with customer lifecycle, you can still take control.
Take control of the customer lifecycle through analyzing the overall performance, various marketing lifecycle campaigns, and creating a trusted customer base.
Want to learn more about ecommerce?
Ready to move your online store to the next level? Check out the articles below: