There are various ways one could define the different stages in the customer’s lifecycle. In the context of retail marketing, Custora uses the following framework:
1) Member: any user who has signed up for email communications, but hasn’t yet made a first purchase.
2) One Purchase Buyer: any customer who has made one - and only one - purchase.
3) “Active” Repeat Buyer: a repeat customer who looks like he or she is buying at his or her own typical purchase frequency.
4) “At Risk” Repeat Buyer: a repeat customer who looks like he or she is beginning to “cool down,” or veer off of his or her individual purchase frequency. For example, for a customer who typically buys once a week, this might mean going two or three weeks without making a purchase.
5) “Lost” Repeat Buyer: a repeat customer who has veered so far off of her typical purchase frequency that, based on other historical customers that she resembles, she is very unlikely to return.
We’ll return to this subject to highlight the kinds of strategies that tend to be most effective at every stage of the customer lifecycle, but in the meantime you can start brainstorming to lay the groundwork for a lifecycle marketing strategy. What’s the best way to encourage email subscribers to place their first order? How would you follow up after a great “first date” to encourage a second purchase? And what would you say to a valuable customer who seems to be fading away to encourage them to give you a second chance and come back to your shop?