How to Increase Customer Lifetime Value With Visual Product Discovery

How to Increase Customer Lifetime Value With Visual Product Discovery

The global pandemic prompted a huge shift in consumer behavior — including notable breakdowns and disruptions in customer loyalty. 

As supply chains suffered a shock that restricted inventory and forced long-time customers to look elsewhere, another important transformation was taking place. 

Brands and retailers that hadn’t been focused on their eCommerce presence suddenly went “all-in.” And those that already had strong websites and solid operations in place to serve online shoppers took things up a notch. 

The resulting advancement in customer experience created a new breed of consumers. These shoppers have sky-high expectations from brands when it comes to everything from product recommendations to fulfillment to customer service, and more. 

Building Loyalty in the Post-Pandemic Landscape

Now that the initial “shock to loyalty” is leveling out, the onus is on brands and retailers to create customer experiences that are so intuitive, delightful, and memorable that they’ll entice these new, more demanding shoppers to come back time and time again. 

The brands that invest in keeping the new business they’re seeing in the long-term — or those that crack to code on how to increase customer lifetime value (LTV) — are poised to be at a tremendous advantage in the coming months. Today’s blog post with BORN partner Syte helps illustrate that advantage by going into detail on LTV and how visual product discovery helps win over shoppers. 

LTV is so essential because loyal customers don’t just return to your website more often, they are also more eager to spend with your brand. In fact, 39% of loyal customers will spend more on a product, even if there are other, less-expensive options available elsewhere.

Still, when looking to build lasting relationships with customers, brands and retailers often overlook the most critical element of the customer journey: product discovery

After all, if shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for in the first place, why would they come back?

Why Visual Discovery Wins Over Shoppers 

Innovative brands and retailers are increasingly using visual AI to take their product discovery experience to the next level. This emerging technology, which includes image recognition capabilities, allows retailers to pinpoint specific details about each product in their inventory and to use that unique visual data to surface the most relevant items for each shopper. 

Visual discovery tools that leverage AI, including camera search and smart recommendation carousels, enable shoppers to easily find products that suit their tastes, even when they don’t have the right search terms or the time to navigate through dozens of product listing pages. 

Connecting shoppers with their ideal products so seamlessly leads not only to a higher conversion rate but also to a dramatic rise in customer lifetime value. 

In fact, Syte’s data analysis from July-December 2020 found that when shoppers interact with on-site visual product discovery tools — specifically those powered by visual AI — they are more likely to become long-term, high-value customers:

  • Compared to high-intent “add to cart” shoppers, those who engaged with on-site product discovery tools had a 12% uplift in retention rate at the end of a 30-day period
  • The higher retention rate among users of visual discovery technologies also translated to a 19% uplift in customer LTV within a 30-day period, compared to all customers.

These numbers demonstrate that today’s shoppers deeply value brands that help them find what they want intuitively and quickly — and that they see this process as a core element of an improved customer experience. 

Brands that rise to the challenge of creating an outstanding product discovery experience will become a trusted destination for shoppers and drive long-term value from new customers. To learn more about how these solutions impact customer experience and drive business value, take a look at our partner Syte’s blog.


Welcome to BORN’s Partner series! Through this program we look to highlight thought leadership from our vast array of technology partners. Follow along using the hashtag #thisisBORN and #BORNpartner!

Today, we’re happy to call attention to our visual search partner, Syte, and talk about how they help transform Customer Lifetime Value with effective visual product discovery.

BORN Partner Post: Avalara and 2020 Sales Tax Changes

BORN Partner Post: Avalara and 2020 Sales Tax Changes

Our Work

Riding that Wayfair wave

The number of states requiring remote sellers to collect and remit sales tax more than doubled in 2019. By the end of 2018, six months after the Supreme Court of the United States overruled the physical presence rule in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. (June 21, 2018), 19 states were enforcing economic nexus. As of December 2019, 43 states and the District of Columbia have economic nexus laws or rules requiring out-of-state sellers with a certain amount of sales in the state to collect and remit sales tax.

The last two holdouts will likely cave in 2020. Only two states with a statewide sales tax haven’t adopted economic nexus: Florida and Missouri. Both have economic nexus legislation drafted and ready for discussion during their 2020 legislative sessions, which start in January.

A state with no general sales tax may beat them to the punch. Close to 20 local jurisdictions in Alaska have signed the Alaska Intergovernmental Remote Seller Sales Tax Agreement, which was created by members of the Alaska Municipal League and will be managed by the Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax Commission. The agreement allows local jurisdictions to “implement a single-level, statewide administration of remote sales tax collection and remittance.” Remote vendors could be required to collect and remit sales tax in some parts of Alaska by early 2020.

The rise of the marketplace

If the Alaska Municipal League, Florida, and Missouri all succeed in their efforts, marketplace facilitators will be required to act as the tax collector for third-party sellers in those locations. And Florida, Missouri, and municipalities in Alaska aren’t the only ones looking to implement marketplace facilitator laws in 2020.

Like economic nexus, marketplace facilitator laws exploded in 2019. Only seven states required marketplace facilitators to collect and remit tax on behalf of their third-party sellers as of December 2018, and most allowed marketplaces to opt out of collection by complying with use tax reporting requirements. By contrast, 37 states and D.C. have marketplace facilitator laws now. And counting.

One benefit of marketplace facilitator laws is that they reduce or remove the burden of compliance for the smallest sellers. Another is that state tax authorities don’t have to deal with auditing individual marketplace sellers — they can focus on the larger marketplace facilitators instead.

There are similar benefits when businesses outsource sales tax collection and remittance to a certified service provider. 

Simplifying compliance with certified service providers

Before states won the right to tax remote sales, the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Governing Board came up with a way to encourage voluntary compliance.

Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) member states simplified sales tax compliance for remote sellers by establishing a central, electronic registration system; uniform definitions, rules, and tax bases; and more. They also compensate certified service providers (CSPs), like Avalara, for providing sales tax software and services for businesses that qualify as a volunteer seller.

The CSP program has been such a success that other states are emulating it. Pennsylvania already has a CSP program up and running. Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, and the Alaska Municipal League are developing similar CSP programs of their own. Expect more states to follow suit in 2020.

Other sales tax changes

Though they grab headlines, taxes on remote sales aren’t the only news in the sales tax world. As did 2019, 2020 will see changes in exemptions, product taxability rules, sourcing rules, and more. Expect to see sales tax developments in:

  • Bitcoin: How states treat it and whether tax departments accept it
  • Digital products: If they’re not already taxed, ebooks and streaming services likely soon will be
  • Food: Marketplaces that deliver food may be required to collect sales tax
  • Tampons: More states are likely to exempt feminine hygiene products in 2020
  • Transportation: More states will look to tax personal transportation services (e.g., Lyft and Uber)

And, of course, there’ll be sales tax rate changes. There are always sales tax rate changes.

Want to know more about 2020 sales tax changes? Get the report.