Customer
8 min read

eCommerce: What is Customer Lifecycle and How to Use it for Your Online Business

Written by Andriy Boychuk
Customer
8 min read

In the context of eCommerce, what is the customer lifecycle? Why do you need it, and how will it help you in your marketing efforts?

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Different customer lifecycle stages and what they mean
  • How to use eCommerce customer lifecycle in email marketing to drive more sales
  • How you can leverage the understanding of customer lifecycle for other marketing activities

From our experience, putting the customer lifecycle at the core of each email marketing campaign guarantees its success. Try these tips for your business today and see for yourself.

What is the eCommerce customer lifecycle?

The customer lifecycle is a process through which a person goes before buying something from your eCommerce and after the purchase.

There are five main stages through which each person goes through.

The five stages are:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Action
  • Retention
  • Advocacy.

Let’s take a closer look at each one of them and discover how you can improve your marketing and customer experience at each stage.

The Five Stages of the Customer Lifecycle

Customer Lifecycle Stage #1 – Awareness

When people learn about your brand, through Instagram, Facebook or even on a billboard, they are becoming aware of your company, and maybe they even get interested in it.

It is the stage when they may go visit your website and if you are lucky enough – subscribe to your email newsletters. This is when everything starts from the email marketing perspective.

It is the best time to take advantage (in a good way) of their interest and start a relationship by:

  • Sending a welcome email sequence
  • Setting up a browser abandonment automation.

New visitors want to know more about your brand, so they are browsing and taking the time to discover your products. If you want to encourage them to buy from you in the future, then you can use email marketing to:

  • Introduce your brand, your company, your team, your values, and your style
  • Recommend products the subscriber seemed to have taken an interest in considering his behavior
  • Offer a first-purchase discount to encourage the subscriber to test your products
  • Offer your help or guidance. Ask the visitor, “How can we help you,” or “Have you ever been here before?”.

Customere lifecycle stage 1: awareness with welcome emails.

Customer Lifecycle Stage #2-3 – Consideration and Action

The next two steps, consideration and action, go hand in hand.

This is when your subscribers are already aware of your brand, they even are already regular on something, and they are considering buying from you again.

What do they do at that stage? Two scenarios:

  • They decide to buy a product and check out
  • They don’t finish their purchase for a reason or another and let their cart abandoned.

If the latter happens, then you will need abandonment cart automation. To sound like, “Hey, Mr. Client, you started the checkout process, but you didn’t finish your purchase. Here are the products you planned to buy. Don’t forget about them!”

Cart abandonment email flows are perfect to remind your subscribers that there are stills items waiting for them. These types of emails usually have a high conversion rate.

And once the purchase is finally done, you can now put into action other types of email flows that are pertinent at this stage of the customer lifecycle:

  • The thank-you email automation, to thank the customer for his purchase and give some information about delivery time and/or recommend similar products
  • The review request, to receive feedback to improve your eCommerce.

Customer Lifecycle Stage #4 – Retention

This is the stage when you try to convert a one-time customer to a two-times buyer. There is around a 10 to 20% chance that you will succeed. So the chance is very, very, very small. However, from two-time buyer to three-times buyer, your chances are like 30%, 50%, which is already a bit more promising.

So you have to put a lot of effort to convert a one-time buyer into a two-time buyer.

In email marketing, to have more returning customers and improve customer loyalty, we use strategies and automation such as:

  • Up-sell
  • Cross-sell
  • Win-back
  • Sunset inactive
  • Browser abandonment (once more)
  • Cart abandonment (once more).

Customer Lifecycle Stage #5 – Advocacy

And the last but not the least stage is advocacy.

You want your current customers to be marketers, salespeople.

Of course, you first have to have a great service or a great product, but when you do, you want your current customers to market it to other people.

So there are few ways how you can do it, but the most popular one is the referral program, which is a part of your loyalty program.

This is how it works: customers share links or some coupons with their friends, and receive benefits and discounts themselves for doing it.

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