5 Ways To Drive Brand Loyalty And Customer Lifetime Value
What if online shopping were just like window shopping in the real world, where you stumble upon an item you never expected to find and love? Where, instead of your searching for a product, the product actually finds you?
This serendipitous and delightful experience — which we at Facebook have dubbed Discovery Commerce — was common before the pandemic forced a rapid shift to digital for many e-commerce brands. But now the appetite for discovery has accelerated. In a recent survey, 84% of shoppers said that they discover new brands and products online.1
There are few people more qualified to speak to sparking and sustaining discovery than Aubrie Richey, VP of media for TechStyle Fashion Group, the incubator for brands like Fabletics and Savage X Fenty. In a recent conversation I had with Aubrie, she shared her top tips for marketing organizations looking to maximize their Discovery Commerce opportunity:
1. Identify and hone your competitive advantage. For TechStyle, this means letting data be the guide. By concentrating its data science resources to a centralized in-house team, TechStyle marketers have been fast-movers and fearless testers who uncover unique insights about key indicators, like the impact of ad formats on conversion rates and customer lifetime value. These capabilities, as well as the team’s agility, have allowed them to use Discovery Commerce from the start as an opportunity to expand to new audiences and launch new brands.
2. Embrace the idea that great creative can come from anywhere.
Break out of your typical creative building habits and testing content no matter where inspiration strikes. Doing so can help you find and even create valuable new customers and avoid creative fatigue. Consider testing content made by influencers, creative partners or even your own customers. The TechStyle team conducts this kind of exploration regularly, running “MarchAdness” and “Adfest” contests that call on their employees to propose new creative. The team even tested whether showing off their shoes on a log an employee found by the side of the road would boost ad performance (it did).
Of course, you don’t need to wait until you discover a log by the side of the road to find and test creative ideas. Instead of opting to take weeks to plan the perfect ad, opt for a high quantity of assets, and frequently testing them supported by machine learning. TechStyle marketers even track specific micro-variables in their ads, allowing them to find and replicate precisely what works in user- and influencer-generated content.
3. Leverage influencers to connect with new audiences. Influencers are at the core of the TechStyle team’s paid and organic strategy, helping them reach new audiences they may not have otherwise discovered through a combination of human and machine feedback and guidance. Running ads from influencers’ own handles helps generate new content, maximizing exposure in Facebook’s auction, and mutually beneficing reach for both the brand and the influencer. The TechStyle team is continuously analyzing and testing content from the approximately 100 influencers in its marketing program, helping Facebook’s machine learning platform learn about these unique audiences and optimize ad performance based on those learnings. This strategy also means that other voices than the brands themselves are endorsing the brands.
4. Optimize for lifetime value, not just cost-per-acquisition (CPA). As marketers at a subscription business, Aubrie’s team analyzes signals that prove directional for higher lifetime value (LTV)—that is, identifying behaviors that high-value users exhibit, and then letting the machine learning find similar cohorts of customers. This allows them to bid more for high-LTV audiences, rather than setting a one-size-fits-all price for customer acquisition. In other words, her team looks for the predicted LTV of various value tiers of customers to increase profitability. And through Facebook’s Post-Conversions Event API tool, the team passes signals to help the machine learning technology optimize further for LTV.
5. Obsess over the conversion path (it makes a huge difference). If you have friction at checkout it can make or break even the best creative strategy. For example, the TechStyle team found that its style quizzes, which are typically core aspects of their engagement model across its family of brands, were actually driving down the conversion rates with men. When the team removed the quiz and adjusted the user experience for this cohort, they saw a significant conversion lift.
Customers’ expectations for the online shopping experience have reached new heights. Driving delightful discovery and fueling the customer relationship over the long term are the keys to success for today’s marketers. By remaining relentlessly data-driven, agile and open to creative as well as to measurement and technological experimentation, e-commerce powerhouses like Fabletics effectively spark and sustain discovery as they match their value with each customer’s needs and desires, whether expressed, unexpressed or even unknown.