Commerce, Cocktails, & Customer Retention (An Event Recap of Commerce on Tap: NY)

On Monday, October 7th, 2019, BVAccel hosted the second edition in a series of events called ‘Commerce on Tap’ at The Tippler bar in New York City.

First and foremost - we could not have pulled off such a successful event without the support from our amazing partners. A huge thank you to our friends at Afterpay, Dynamic Yield, Flow, Gorgias, Shopify Plus, and Yotpo!

Over cocktails and craft beer, The Tippler (a cool cocktail bar located underneath Chelsea Market > highly recommend if you're in the area) was filled with industry leaders who were busy networking and talking everything commerce - but especially, customer retention. The evening’s theme? How to increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). 

Joining us for the educational portion of the evening was a panel of fashion-focused merchants, including Michelle Cordeiro Grant (Lively), Helen Nightingale (Draper James), Heather Kaminetsky (M.Gemi), and Aaron Luo (CARAA Sport).

Our panel moderator, and BVAccel's Chief Commercial Officer, Travis Hess, guided the speakers and the crowd through a series of questions aimed at revealing the panelists’ top tricks of the trade when it comes to increasing CLTV.

From analyzing customer acquisition costs (CAC), to SMS marketing, to building customer relationships through Italian shoes, this panel’s content had all of the Commerce on Tap attendees on the edge of their seats and (quite literally) taking notes.

In case you missed our event in person, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into a recap of some of the night’s hottest questions:

1. How should today's brands approach customer retention?

Build Community:

Our panelists focused on the idea of growing brand ambassadorship through social channels. When it comes to fashion specifically, creating brand equity is especially important. Leveraging social media in order to create a positive emotional association and human connection with your customers is key.

SMS Marketing:

The open rates for SMS campaigns are extremely high, making it another pro-tip from our panelists. SMS allows the customer to respond and interact with the brand in a way that other marketing channels do not. Pro Tip: Some of our clients at BVAccel use Postscript for SMS marketing.

Unique Promotions:

Building out unique value propositions and loyalty programs for your returning customers is another recommended way to increase CLTV. For example, launching new products on a weekly basis in an effort to build excitement and give your loyal customers something to look forward to.

2. Marketing to new vs. existing customers... what’s the best strategy?

Consider Your Age:

Our panelists noted that CLTV may not be top of mind for newer brands, while focusing on growth and acquisition is. Their words of wisdom? Although acquiring new customers and growing as fast as possible is important, CAC should never be overlooked in order to ensure you’re profitable from the beginning and targeting well-qualified customers that are likely to return.

Leverage Organic findings in Your Paid Ads:

Going back to the idea of building community through social channels, our panelists discussed the idea of taking a step back from paid ads and instead looking at what customers are organically reacting to. Whether it be to organic social posts, the brand’s great customer service, or fun user experience (UX) -- translating over the brand elements that get the most positive organic response to your paid ads can be highly rewarding.

3. How to differentiate against competition when it comes to CLTV?

Take Care of Your Customers:

Our merchant panelists know what competition feels like in the fashion and apparel industries, so discussing how to compete in a way that promotes loyal customer devotion is important. They noted the importance of nurturing your customer and continuously improving the user experience from Point A to Point Z.

Be Your Brand’s “Self”:

Our panelists were big on promoting authenticity. When it comes to branding, leverage whatever makes your brand unique. What’s the unique story about your brand’s founder? Where does your clothing material come from? What makes your brand passionate about what it does? Customers feel a brand’s authenticity when it shines through.

What gap does your product fill?:

This one may seem obvious, but showing customers the added value from purchasing your brand can help with both acquisition and retention. Sometimes keeping your brand top-of-mind for customers is merely a matter of reminding them that you can make their life better. Showcasing your value offering in the best possible light is essential.

4. Top advice for the holidays and converting all those gift buyers into lifelong customers?

Seamless UX:

Our panelists stressed the importance of UX throughout the whole discussion, but when it comes to the holiday season itself, creating a smooth, customized buying experience is key. Targeting users with offers that you know are likely to lead to a higher AOV during gift-giving season is a great way to get the most out of the holidays, while also introducing customers to potential new favorite products they’ll want to repurchase.


Thanks to everyone who helped make Commerce on Tap: NY a great event! As we head into the holiday season, we hope these CLTV-increasing tactics are helpful. For even more in-depth CLTV strategy tips from BVAccel's best and brightest, check out our recent article, How to Increase Lifetime Value.

If you missed this edition of Commerce on Tap, don’t worry, we’ll be hosting more! Stay tuned by signing up to get the latest updates on BVAccel's next event and content offers. 

Cheers! From our Commerce on Tap team: