5 after-sales strategies to maximize your customer lifetime value  


April 9, 2024

Could your customers be an untapped resource? Here are 5 ways to maximize the lifetime value of your customers.

Data suggests winning new customers costs five times more than retaining existing ones. Companies that aren’t investing to maximize the customer lifetime value (CLV) of their existing customers are likely missing out on lucrative revenue opportunities. One way to extend this value is through a comprehensive after-sales strategy. After-sales refers to all post-purchase activities businesses use to engage with existing customers, from product exchanges and cross-selling to maintenance and repair.  

After-sales can be lucrative. For example, a machine manufacturer could generate over 60% of their service revenue from the sale of spare parts alone. But for brands and manufacturers looking to tap into these impressive new revenue opportunities, knowing how to build a winning after-sales strategy can be challenging. Here are some examples of potential after-sales strategies for your business. 

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1. Capitalize on the post-purchase period  

The immediate post-purchase experience is critical. This is where customer loyalty starts, and excelling in this crucial period is key to forming the customer relationships you need to maximize the customer lifetime value. After all, a satisfied customer is more likely to be a loyal advocate for your brand, leading to increased profitability through repeat business and referrals. 

Take apparel brands like New Balance, Intersport, or WE. Providing personalized and relevant post-purchase marketing content to their customers can make all the difference. For example, after a customer purchases a leather jacket from a high-end apparel brand, they receive an email with detailed care instructions, tips on how to style the jacket with different outfits, and recommendations for complementary products such as scarves, jeans, or boots. The email can also include links to the brand’s social media channels, where the customer can see how other customers are wearing the jacket and share their photos and feedback.  

2. Establish new after-sales services 

After-sales services are a goldmine for profitability, offering a huge range of ways to increase income without the need for aggressive new product sales tactics. From offering yearly maintenance services to partnering with maintenance businesses or selling new software updates for electrical goods, you can capitalize on after-sales to maximize revenue potential. It’s about seeing beyond the initial sale and identifying the mutual value you and your customers can provide each other. 

For example, a furniture brand like Jordan’s or Living Spaces can use after-sales marketing to offer additional products and services such as assembly, scheduled cleaning or item maintenance, and product repair. At the end of a product’s life, it could also be collected and returned to the company for further resale, helping businesses offer a wider selection of services even after the initial point of sale.  

3. Add subscription plans to your business model 

In the current economic climate, assuring customers that your products and services represent good value for money is key. One strategy for doing this is through the introduction of subscription services. For a fashion brand, these subscription services could see customers signing up to receive a new item of clothing, such as underwear or t-shirts, every month for a set fee. Alternatively, for a heavy machinery manufacturer, a subscription plan could include monthly or quarterly maintenance and repair.  

Introducing subscription models can be a winner for both manufacturer and customer alike. For customers, a subscription model secures regular, preventative maintenance which helps them reduce machinery downtime by up to 52%. For the manufacturer, the subscription model serves as a regular, dependable source of income long after the initial sale. Indeed, having a maintenance operative on-site at regular intervals can also aid the cross-selling and upselling of other products, parts, or services, opening further opportunities for revenue growth. 

A young African American female mechanic is standing under a car and examining the damage on the broken parts with a serious look on her face.

4. Tap into the sustainability goals of customers 

The global push toward sustainability has made it more important than ever for companies to demonstrate a commitment to reducing waste and embracing circular economy principles. After-sales services play a crucial role here by making products more serviceable and repairable, thus extending their lifespans and reducing resource consumption. Not only does this satisfy regulators and eco-conscious consumers, but it also opens up new revenue streams through repair, refurbishment, and resale opportunities. 

The reuse and resale of small spare parts is one example of how businesses can meet the demands of eco-conscious customers and regulators while attempting to maximize the customer lifetime value. From spare car parts to small machine components, companies offering consumers reused and refurbished items can do so at an affordable price, making them good value for buyers, but also differentiate themselves from their competitors by demonstrating their commitment to sustainability through an efficient after-sales service. 

5. Drive innovation through customer feedback 

Engaging with your customers doesn’t end at the sale. It’s a continuous process that provides valuable insights into their needs and preferences. After-sales interactions, including maintenance programs and customer feedback, are rich sources of information that can inform product and service upgrades. This proactive approach to innovation can significantly reduce unplanned downtime, lead to fewer defects, and ultimately extend the lifespan of your products, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

For an example of how customer feedback can drive innovation, let’s look at an electronics company that sells smart home devices, such as thermostats, security cameras, and smart speakers. These types of devices are very effective in being able to monitor customer usage patterns, which can be fed back to the manufacturer to provide valuable real-time usage insight. This feedback can also be used to identify common issues and unmet needs. A more formal feedback mechanism can also be used to highlight new features customers want, which can be looped back to the sourcing and design stage of a product’s journey to ensure new generations of the same product better match consumer demand. 

inriver: Maximizing the customer lifetime value 

To maximize the customer lifetime value through any of these after-sales activities, you need a solid foundation of data and insight. That’s where the inriver PIM solution can help. The advanced inriver platform simplifies the processes of maintaining precise product information across the entire organization. From post-purchase marketing efforts to in-field maintenance operations, the inriver platform provides a single, accessible, and reliable source of product data truth that powers effective after-sales strategies. 

But that’s not all. The composable, multi-tenant inriver PIM offers the most comprehensive Product Information Management solution on the market. Powered by transparent data onboarded, processed, and distributed across the value chain, you can be sure you have a solid foundation to extract the most from your products on every channel. With built-in syndication and digital shelf analytics technology, advanced data-sharing, and more, inriver offers the complete solution for every business in every market. 

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