How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Grow Your Business

How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Grow Your Business

As an e-commerce business owner, it is crucial to understand the metrics used to gauge your business health. These metrics help you gain insight into your performance and can help you build customized strategies and budgets for the future. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is one metric you must track.

Keeping a healthy inflow of customers is important to any business. Both customer acquisition and retention involve large sums of money. Customer Lifetime Value allows you to assess the worth of each customer you acquire in the long run. It is also used to help analyze how much budget you can allocate for customer acquisition and retention.

What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)?

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)  helps you estimate the revenue that a customer helps you generate during his association with your business. In simple terms, it helps define the value a customer contributes to your business.

More often than not, businesses avoid looking into these metrics, due to the sheer amount of mathematics and calculations involved.

We’ll introduce you to a simple method of calculating CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) and inputs on how it to use it to grow your business.

How to calculate the Customer Lifetime Value?

Instead of dwelling in large confusing formulas, here is a simple approach to calculating the CLV (CLV formula).

In this step-by-step process, you will first have to calculate the following variables. The time frame depends on the stage of your businesses and your budget allocation. For ease in calculations, we have taken the time period to be set for 365 days (1 year). 

The variables are: (customer lifetime value formula)

  • Average Order Value (AOV): The average of how much is money you make in sales with each new order.

Average Order Value (AOV) = Total revenue generated in 365 days/ Total number of orders

  • Purchase Frequency (f): This defines the number of times a customer will purchase from you in a year. We have taken the time period for all calculations to be 1 year. You can customize it to suit your needs. This metric helps define customer frequency and gauge whether you have a successful customer retention strategy.

         Purchase Frequency (f) = Total number of order in 365 days/ Total number of new customers

  • Customer Value (CV): Defines the value addition that the customer contributes in terms of revenue for your business, for a set period of time.

         Customer Value (CV) = Average Order Value (AOV) X Purchase Frequency (f)

  • Customer’s Average Lifespan (t): This is one of the most difficult metrics to gauge. This can be defined as the estimation of the average time a customer continues to transact with you before he decides to switch brands or stops associating with you. A general approximation for a customer’s association with any brand before he switches is 1-3 years.

Using these above variables, you can define the CLV:

         Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) = Customer Value (CV) X Customer’s Average Lifespan (t)

Using this formula you can mathematically estimate how long a customer will stay loyal to you.

Additionally, it will also allow you to numerically analyze the worth of a customer who was acquired in terms of revenue generation. It helps to estimate the marketing and budgeting costs associated with retaining a loyal customer.

Though the above formula can be used to give you an estimate, it ignores important variables such as your business’ profit margin and customer variance.

Try other variants of CLV (Customer Lifetime Value):

  • Customer Lifetime Value Including Margin: This takes into consideration the profit margin. The profit margin is the final amount that reaches you subtracting all other variable costs involved. This is constant and varies from business to business.

          Customer Lifetime Value Including Margin = Average Order Value (AOV) X Purchase Frequency (f) X Profit margin (m)

  • Customer Lifetime Value by Segment: This takes into consideration the customer variance. This means that different customers have different needs and spending tendencies. While averages are easier to understand the bigger picture, you must create segments to analyze target customers and their spends better. This metric is calculated using the same above mentioned formulas for different segments. This will help gain a better understanding of specific customers. These segments can be based on location, modes of distributions, select marketing campaigns and more.

Why should businesses calculate Customer Lifetime Value?

CLV helps you numerically analyze your spends and project future spends and growth. It also helps you determine how much money you can spend to acquire new customers based on the revenue you generate.

Additionally, you can evaluate the financial impact on your customers when you rebrand, run special discount campaigns, change your pricing and more.

A huge aspect of a customer’s user experience depends on the end-to-end experience. This includes having a neat online store, clear check-out instructions and a seamless, secure way to pay.

Whether you are a micro, small or medium enterprise, Instamojo has you covered. Built exclusively to meet MSME needs, Instamojo doesn’t just help you set up payments gateway for your business but also provides you various free tools and a free online store to start, manage and grow your business online!

We have developed another way you can calculate customer lifetime value easily. Now, it is easier for you to collect your customers (or leads) in once place – the Instamojo Leads Manager App. All you need to do is sign up on Instamojo and subscribe to the leads manager app. The video below will help you understand it a little more:

More than 10,00,000+ businesses trust Instamojo with their payments. You can too!


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  1. In case of online businesses, many bleed money to acquire customers. Break-even analysis, customer LTV, and referral rate (repeat purchase propensity) remain most important metrics to watch for. Thanks for sharing insights!

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