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Signifyd FLOW: customer lifetime value powers the new era of ecommerce 

Read “The State of Commerce 2023” report

“The State of Commerce 2023” report

Cover of Signifyd's State of Commerce 2023 report

The keynote designed to kick off Signifyd’s FLOW Summit 2024 on Wednesday kicked off a lot more than that. It was instead something of an unveiling of a new era of ecommerce, one in which the online store is indisputably the flagship and the most successful brands have turned their focus from racking up transactions to building long-term customer loyalty and love.

Signifyd CEO Raj Ramanand welcomed the 300-or-so retail and digital commerce professionals to the lower Manhattan conference center by framing the near future of ecommerce as one that calls for a focus on profitable growth based on a strategy of maximum trust and personalization.

“A delightful customer experience consists of two things,” Ramanand said. “One, I as the retailer, as the brand, have to trust who that person is. And two, once I can do that, I need a way in real time, at the moment when someone is making a return, when someone is checking out, at that moment, I need to be able to personalize that experience.”

Maximum trust and personalization, Ramanand explained, are the key to building lifetime customer value and changing course from an unhealthy dependence on constantly acquiring new customers — customers who are expensive and as likely to be short-term fans as they are to be long-term shoppers.

Yes, some retailers are already moving down the path to maximum trust and personalization; a few are far down the path. For others there is work to do.

Technology is the key to maximizing customer lifetime value

“It’s not all doom and gloom,” Ramanand said. “This is the moment for retail. When you get to profitable growth, you’re making choices. You can’t spend money in an unlimited fashion. You have to pick your one or two bets and you have to optimize the business. And the ability to do that only comes with innovation and the ideas you have to think about.”

Ramandan’s call for increased trust and personalization comes against a backdrop of how far retail has come since the turn of the century.

In the early 2000s, the store was still where it all began. It was the spiritual hub for shoppers and where their buying journeys started. Within a decade (and we’re looking at you, iPhone) mobile became the device and activity that was driving growth for merchants. 

A chart showing the growing percentage of online revenue in commerce

Meanwhile, retailers who had been focused on the in-store experience started looking to take advantage of the rise of digital, plotting ways to anticipate a digital shopper’s next move and prepare to convert them. The focus was transactions — how much value can I extract from a consumer’s digital journey?

There was a lot of talk about digital transformation and it seeped through marketing, merchandising, ecommerce platforms, checkout, customer service, fulfillment. The ideas were churning as fast as the technology was advancing. 

But transformation wasn’t really the right word. It implies a finished product. Ramanand’s presentation made it clear that the “transformation” is ongoing. Call it an evolution, a constant work-in-progress or digital transformation — v-dot-infinity.  

A move from transactions to relationships fuels a new era of ecommerce

Brands now have the tools — thanks in large part to advancing artificial intelligence — to upend the transactional model and strive for something more powerful and more lasting. Relationships.

The ongoing evolution has shifted the focus of the consumer/brand relationship, Ramanand explained. Forward-focused brands and merchants no longer view customers as “value-extraction” targets to be marketed at. Customers in the new era are value-creation partners to be collaborated with. Each buying journey is an investment in the future and in a better customer experience and a more lucrative customer lifetime value.

When it’s done right, one buying journey leads to the next — and repeat. 

It was a message that resonated for the hundreds of retail professionals who gathered in New York at the Convene event center for sessions that explored topics including the role of AI in commerce, the rise in first-party fraud, the challenges of returns, advances in payments — and it included a toast to Signifyd’s 2024 Most Influential in Ecommerce. The day also featured a keynote from makeup artist and entrepreneur Bobbi Brown, who shared lessons from her 30 years as an entrepreneur. 

And throughout the event, the expertise was flowing from invited industry experts representing Forrester, Mastercard, Canadian Tire, Lenovo, Discover, Worldpay, Square, Abercrombie & Fitch, Christian Louboutin, BetMGM, Pandora, Michaels, Genuine Parts Company, Rainbow Shops and others.

Advances in AI provide rapid insights into customers

But the day started with Ramanand pointing to the potential role of technology advances in the ongoing evolution of ecommerce. And this is a heady time to talk about that. Solutions driven by artificial intelligence and the companies that design, build and bring them to market have provided brands with the power to change the way retail is accomplished. Brands have unprecedented insights into their customers — their identity and intent. They now have the ability to know what works, not just for the brands, but what works for consumers and how they can run their businesses in ways to better serve those consumers.

Brands and merchants have nearly instant insights based on a wealth of data to guide them in building customer journeys that replace outdated paths to purchase that were often disconnected and dissatisfying. 

Commerce enterprises can now understand who their best customers are and in fact which customers are likely seeking to take advantage. And they can understand which customers belong to criminal enterprises that have been advancing their own digital transformation in order to industrialize ecommerce fraud and abuse. 

Retailers and their partners have an industry-changing opportunity ahead

Brands and retailers are now able to optimize every aspect of their operations to produce the sort of flawless customer experience that promotes customer lifetime value and long-term profitability for the enterprise and for investors, alike. And much of that ability is made possible by partners who specialize in advancing the technology that makes that optimization possible. 

The path to retail success, then, harkens back to a key theme from last year’s FLOW: The winners will be those who assemble a combination of partners that provides and constantly improves the technology to gain a view into who the consumer is and what the consumer wants — while providing the operational prowess to deliver on that. 

Are you prepared for ecommerce’s new era? Let’s talk.



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Mike Cassidy

Mike Cassidy

Mike is the head of storytelling at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at [email protected].