Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is an important metric representing the total predicted revenue a company can expect to earn from a customer throughout their entire relationship. 

CLV takes into account the customer’s repeat purchases, the average transaction value, and the length of the customer’s relationship with the company.

There are two primary approaches to growing any business: 

1) A focus on acquiring new customers (acquisition)

2) Nurture existing customers throughout their customer journey and create a buying habit for your products (lifecycle).

However, considering the context in which you’re conducting your business, it’s important to emphasize that relying solely on acquisition marketing may not sustain long-term success.

While it might bring quick wins in the short term, especially for products with repeated purchase potential, over time, this approach becomes a “churn and burn.” 

With this in mind, CLV becomes a mindset rather than a metric. It’s how you can rally your entire organization around your customers, embarking on the most straightforward journey toward long-term profitability. 

Calculating Customer Lifetime Value

So, how do you identify your CLV?

The basic formula is:

(Average Purchase Value x Purchase Frequency) / Churn Rate

​In this formula, we have the following components:

  • Average Purchase Value: the average amount of money a customer spends in a single transaction.
  • Purchase Frequency: how often a customer makes a purchase within a specific time period.
  • Churn Rate: the rate at which customers stop making purchases.

But why keep things simple?

Customer retention and value can encompass a handful of other dominant numbers, leading to advanced models for calculating CLV.

Here are some examples: 

  • Cohort Analysis

This model groups customers based on their acquisition date and tracks their behavior over time. 

It helps identify patterns and trends among customer segments, allowing for more accurate CLV predictions.

  • Predictive Analytics

Using statistical models and machine learning algorithms, predictive analytics can forecast a customer’s future behavior and spending patterns. 

This approach often considers a wider range of factors for a more nuanced CLV calculation.

For example, consider an online fashion retailer with the following numbers:

  • Average Purchase Value: $60
  • Purchase Frequency: 3 purchases per year
  • Churn Rate: 20% (implying an average customer lifespan of 5 years)

In this case, the CLV would be ($60×3) divided by 0.20, so $900.

This calculation suggests that, on average, each customer is expected to generate $900 in revenue over their relationship with the company.

Let’s look at another, this time real example. 

Amazon, one of the largest eCommerce platforms globally, is known for its sophisticated use of data analytics

They use various models and metrics to calculate CLV. For instance, Amazon considers not only the monetary value of purchases but also factors like customer engagement, product reviews, and the likelihood of trying new services. 

By doing so, Amazon can personalize recommendations, enhance customer experience, and ultimately increase CLV.

Factors Influencing Customer Lifetime Value

If you’re considering CLV as your North-Star metric, you’re naturally wondering: how do I improve this metric?

The answer isn’t as straightforward, unfortunately. 

Truth be told, CLV doesn’t exist in a void, as it’s strongly connected to your customers – namely, their satisfaction and willingness to return for repeat purchases.

To that end, let’s look at the factors impacting CLV.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Its Impact on CLV

Customer Acquisition Costs (CACs) are a key indicator of your customer acquisition efficiency. 

For instance, if CLV goes down, you should look at the CAC, which allows for a focused analysis. 

Was the decrease in CLV attributed to inefficiencies in customer acquisition, faulty pricing strategies, product quality issues, or another factor?

Consider a more encompassing ratio, CLV to CAC to monitor these factors comprehensively. 

This ratio highlights the contrast between the expected CLV and the initial customer acquisition cost.

This approach leads to a more thorough comprehension of the pivotal metrics shaping the authentic eCommerce landscape.

The Role of Customer Retention and Repeat Business in Enhancing CLV

The importance of repeat purchases cannot be overstated within the CLV framework. 

Repeat business from satisfied customers contributes to consistent and predictable revenue streams. 

The more frequently a customer returns for additional purchases, the longer the revenue relationship persists, directly impacting CLV by extending the duration of customer engagement.

The Impact of Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty on CLV

The relationship between these elements is symbiotic, influencing each other in ways that significantly contribute to the long-term success of your business.

Satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases. 

When customers are pleased with their initial interactions and transactions, they are inclined to return for additional products or services, thereby increasing the frequency of purchases over time and positively impacting CLV.

What’s more, satisfied customers become brand advocates, sharing positive experiences with friends, family, and colleagues. 

This word-of-mouth marketing can lead to new customer acquisitions, bringing in customers who are more likely to have a positive experience themselves and contribute positively to CLV.

CLV and Marketing Strategy

The paint point of CLV is finding a way to turn marketing into something more than customer acquisition. 

As this approach is unsustainable and expensive, CLV opens up new avenues for your marketing processes. 

There’s a lot to say about maximizing customer value through strategic marketing approaches, so we’ll keep it brief.

(don’t worry, though – we’ll also point you toward an incredible resource.)

Tailoring Marketing Efforts Based on CLV Insights

Looking beyond numbers, you’ll notice that CLV is a gateway to understanding the nuanced preferences and behaviors of distinct customer segments. 

So, as a by-product, CLV insights empower you to adapt your marketing tactics to cater specifically to high-value customers – i.e., people who bring in the most of your revenue. 

For example, you can craft specific marketing campaigns, exclusive offers, and loyalty programs to resonate with the unique needs of this segment. 

This way, instead of treating everyone like just another brick in the wall, you’re giving loyal customers the royal treatment they deserve. 

At the same time, you’re conserving your efforts and bandwidth by not engaging with bargain hunters or other low-value customers. 

Segmenting Customers by CLV for Targeted Marketing

Segmentation based on CLV allows you to move beyond one-size-fits-all marketing strategies. 

High CLV customers, recognized as the backbone of sustained revenue, may receive targeted communication emphasizing premium offerings or exclusive perks. 

Meanwhile, efforts directed towards lower CLV segments may focus on re-engagement strategies, ensuring resources are efficiently utilized. 

This strategic segmentation aligns with Omniconvert’s vision of delivering the right message to the right audience, fostering a more profound connection, and maximizing CLV potential.

Balancing Acquisition and Retention Strategies

While we’re not entirely dismissing the acquisition stage, we can’t stress enough the importance of finding the right balance between customer acquisition and retention. 

While acquisition is the initial step in the customer journey, the real value lies in fostering long-term relationships. 

A balanced strategy ensures a continuous influx of new customers while also nurturing loyalty among the existing customer base

Improving Customer Lifetime Value aka Customer Lifetime Value Optimization (CVO)

Some people believe that influencing CLV is an impossible challenge. However, this belief is only holding us back. 

Evidently, CLV is not a fixed reality; it can be positively influenced if you knows where and how to look at the metrics. 

Many companies fail to impact CLV due to incorrect monitoring or outright neglect. 

Relying solely on the profit and loss statement (P&L) limits the view to the past, whereas CLV offers a glimpse into the future, allowing businesses to assess their prospects. 

Impacting CLV is, in essence, altering the trajectory of the future.

While plenty eComm professionals get the theoretical concept and importance of Customer Lifetime Value, they can’t apply it practically.

For example, they don’t know how CLV aligns with their business or its changes over the last three months.

The Importance of Value from the Customer’s Perspective

​​CVO can be broken down into three main pillars that impact CLV:

  • What You Say: encompassing all marketing efforts, both pre- and post-purchase.
  • What You’re Selling: the product quality holds substantial weight in influencing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • What You Do: how a company behaves and supports the customer journey over time.

Now, here’s the real kicker.

You’re swimming in a sea of competition, where consumers have a buffet of options similar to what you offer. 

In this wild marketplace, you have to get see things from their perspective when they decide to swipe that credit card. 

It’s not just about the actual value; there’s another layer called perceived value. 

That’s why savvy companies can’t afford to brush off the perceived value their customers attach to the whole buying process. 

It’s how you get customers to keep coming back for more.

Go Further: Discover the Bible on CVO for Practitioners

What’s the point of acquiring customers today if they wave goodbye to join the competition tomorrow?

Without holding onto your customers, you’re constantly hustling, chasing new faces only to see them jump ship for better deals or flashier products. 

As you know, acquisition is just the first step. 

To truly grow an eCommerce, you need to master the skill of growing your Customer Lifetime Value. 

And if you don’t know where to start, we have the resource for you: The CLV Revolution Book, written by Omniconvert’s founder, Valentin Radu. 

Use the book as a blueprint to change how you do business. 

Create and retain a loyal customer base for greater profits and a sustainable business model.

Ready to jump into the CLV Revolution? 

Technology and Tools for CLV Analysis

You can use several tools to monitor and increase your CLV as an additional feature. 

But wouldn’t you rather work with the first Customer Intelligence platform built with CLV in mind?

Omniconvert Reveal can become your strategic ally, empowering you to not only monitor but also enhance your CLV with precision.

The key to CLV optimization lies in scrutinizing the evolving behaviors and patterns of your customers over time. Omniconvert Reveal enables businesses to track these nuances, offering real-time insights that form the foundation for strategic decision-making.

Omniconvert Reveal goes beyond simple monitoring, providing a comprehensive platform to delve into the intricacies of customer interactions, behaviors, and purchasing patterns.

Uncovering the identity of your most valuable customers is a game-changer. Omniconvert Reveal excels in this arena, offering a deep dive into customer preferences and buying habits. 

This profound understanding allows businesses to tailor their strategies to meet the unique needs of their top-tier customers.

screencap from Reveal

Future Trends in Customer Lifetime Value

To make any reasonable predictions regarding CLV, we must first look at the dynamic intersection of technology, consumer behavior, and industry shifts. 

When we look at it, we see several trends promising to redefine the landscape of CLV.

In terms of analytics, we’re seeing more powerful predictive analytics models, leveraging machine learning and AI for more accurate CLV forecasts.

Smarter algorithms can unravel intricate customer insights, giving businesses a deeper understanding of behaviors and future value.

On that note, we’re seeing the possibilities of real-time tracking and analysis of CLV for agile decision-making.

In such a fast-paced market, up-to-the-minute insights empower businesses to adapt strategies, optimizing customer interactions in real time.

We’re also seeing an evolution of personalized marketing through a profound understanding of individual customer preferences.

Personalization enhances customer experiences, fostering loyalty and increasing the likelihood of higher CLV.

While these trends provide a glimpse into the future, the actual trajectory of CLV will unfold based on evolving market dynamics, technological advancements, and shifts in consumer behaviors. 

Embracing adaptability and staying attuned to emerging strategies will be key for businesses looking to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of Customer Lifetime Value.

Wrap Up

There’s more to say about Customer Lifetime Value than this simple entry. 

More than a metric, this KPI can become a mindset, a way of doing business. It’s how you rally your entire company – from product to marketing – around the customer. 

It’s a story that only now begins to unfold. 

We highly recommend you read The CLV Revolution to learn more about improving CVO in a world governed by AI and customers craving connections more now than ever before.