Improve customer retention and lifetime value for e-commerce with Email Marketing

You may have heard the term Customer Lifetime Value, but what does it really mean? Let’s discuss how to improve CLV for e-commerce email marketing.


To begin, what does Customer Lifetime Value (we’ll refer to this as CLV from hereon) have to do with customer retention in e-commerce?

As a business, there are seldom metrics more important than your CLV. Essentially, CLV represents the total amount of money a customer is expected to spend on your business, or on your products, during their lifetime. One of the main reasons that it’s such an important metric is because, in most businesses, it costs less to keep existing customers than it does to acquire new ones, so the benefit of increasing the value of your existing customers to drive business growth cannot be understated.

Our view is that if you’re focused on CLV, you’re focused on building a loyal audience while catering to their needs. Now, you want CLV to be the best it can be, but doing this can be tricky, however, if you do this the right way, not only is there potential to increase your CLV but this can have a massive impact on your customer retention.

Email marketing is one of the greatest tools you can use to find out more about your customers, what makes them tick, and improve the way you solve their problems. This is why email is so important to increasing CLV.

Here are some of the top ways you can use email to improve your CLV and retention rates.


Database Segmentation

Email database segmentation is one of the most common tools used to engage with customers more effectively, but have you considered segmenting your database by CLVs?

Though these values per customer are constantly in flux, having some way to focus on your segments with a lower CLV in a different manner from those with a higher CLV could benefit your business greatly.

This means having different approaches to customers based on their levels of engagement is key to ensuring the right targeting and approach are used based on their relationship with your business.

This is a visual representation of what a typical CLV curve looks like


Using email to improve customer retention and lifetime value for e-commerce

As a starting point, you could use these three distinct groups of CLVs to segment your email database, helping you to communicate differently with each group.

The overarching goal here is to get your clients into the segment of “very profitable” customers, however, this is often not an immediate reality. Ensuring customer loyalty in the early stages is key here, and email segmentation is a great way to achieve this.


Personalisation and Intention

When discussing personalisation, we’re not simply referring to addressing someone by name in your email campaigns. Now, that is important, however, the emphasis should shift from simply “adding personalisation” to making their email experience with your business personal.

The best way to achieve this is to be specific and have a specific intention behind each email campaign. If you’re sending an email asking a customer to take an action, such as to purchase or update their details, ensure that the purpose of those emails is exactly that! Don’t confuse your audience by asking them to take an action to buy something, but in the same email ask them to take another action to update their details, visit your social pages, or even rate the email. You get the picture. Make your emails specific.

Don’t forget to make your emails human either.

Though your company may not be a single person, it becomes important for you to communicate with your audience as people. Your email’s intention, tone and offer need to have a human touch. Email can’t simply be another robocall; your audience wants you to be human as this improves your relationship with your buyers, impacting both your CLV and the retention of customers.

Here’s a great example of a personalised campaign that has a specific purpose and a bit of humanity behind it too. This is how you look improve CLV for e-commerce email marketing:

Using email to improve customer retention and lifetime value for e-commerce


Automation is one of those broadly used terms in the world of email marketing to refer to simple automated emails, but it’s often understated how powerful of a tool it can be.

For automation to impact your CLV, the best approach would be to set specific goals around your automated emails and the consensus is that these goals are split up into three groups:

  1. Acquisition
  2. Optimisation
  3. Retention

Starting with the acquisition, it might seem somewhat counterintuitive that acquisition may improve CLV for e-commerce email marketing. After all, aren’t the stages of optimisation and retention the very stages where your CLV growth occurs most frequently?

To clarify, what we’re referring to here is simply that if your acquisition goal or strategy is not optimal, you may wind up building a disengaged email database from the very beginning.

Therefore, customer onboarding needs so much focus and setting the tone for the relationship off the bat can be beneficial. As a prime example, putting a strategic focus on your welcome email or series of emails is a new subscriber’s first impression of what it’s like to be on your list. Make it valuable, try to wow your customer and you’ll likely experience a higher CLV.

Optimisation, on the other hand, refers to sending the right type of message, to the right individual, at the right time, and at a well-structured frequency. Your intention is to stand out, loud and clear, in your subscriber’s inbox.

There are no sure-fire ways to achieve this all at once as it differs business-by-business, however, start by putting a focus on subject lines, personalising emails and ensuring you constantly keep your database segmentation up to date. This can help increase CLV. You can also begin looking at dynamic content and incentivising actions specific actions such as sharing your emails.

Lastly, when we talk about retention in the field of automation, this is not simply keeping a customer spending money with you, it’s also ensuring you keep customers engaged and informed, and by having an automated means to do this based on their activity within your emails, you may have a recipe for retention success.

Retention isn’t simply about keeping subscribers around by whatever means necessary. Retention is keeping your subscribers’ user experience with your business awesome throughout their lifetime with your brand.

Simple automated emails that contribute to a customer’s CLV include:

  • Birthday emails
  • Special occasion emails
  • Anniversary mails
  • Feedback mails
  • Thank you emails
  • Re-engagement campaigns

And a host more! The trick is to be relevant, build a relationship and ensure the customer finds value in being a customer of your brand.

Our team at TouchBasePro are specialists in turning a database of names and email addresses into customers of value. Reach out today and let’s chat about increasing your client CLV using email at

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