In all the changes that retail has seen over the years, the customer is the one constant. Our point of view discusses how retailers have always focused on products, stores, channels and categories for growth rather than organizing themselves around their most profitable customers.

To survive, they must make a radical departure from retail norms to a model that centers all of the business—departments, decisions, investments, success metrics and more—around these high lifetime value (HLV) customers.

Accenture’s view is that not all customers are created equal. Our data-driven approach demonstrates that the largest retail profit concentration comes from a relatively small customer cohort. These are loyal, profitable—high-value—customers who are engaged with your brand, potentially for life. Retailers need to grow, maintain and acquire these HLV customers and Accenture has a demonstrated result.

5 %

of customers generate a third of the profit.

Hiding in plain sight: your best customers

Digital masters like Amazon have taught customers to expect premium service, while retailers’ promotion mania and countless choices have conditioned customers to expect discounts. Shoppers want to have their cake and eat it too: stellar service and special offers.

High-value customers should become retailers’ newest obsession. The good news is that not only are they out there, but it is possible to find them using data that most retailers have today.

15x

The most profitable retail customer is worth 15 times an average customer.

50x

And the most profitable retail customer is worth 50 times a low decile customer!

The golden ticket to future retail growth

Precision understanding of profitable customer cohorts is only the first step in the new retail model. After all, it is one thing to know your customers. It is quite another to develop business plans that focus on high-value customers and pivot the entire organization around the customers who are driving bottom line growth.

The place to begin is by acting on the most critical enablers of this transformation, building on a data-rich foundation to keep brand loyalists happy, entice new customers to become fast friends and bring lapsed customers home.

Back to the future of retail

Digital is bringing back intimate and interactive retail experiences at scale, combining them with new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as data and analytics, to build one-to-one retail relationships with millions of high-value customers.

Matthew Green

Managing Director – Applied Intelligence, Products (Retail)


Suzy Ross

Senior Advisor to Accenture Retail


Andrea Stouter

Retail Global Offering Lead

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