Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 40 Number 2 2023 pp. 470-502

Maximizing Online Revisiting and Purchasing: A Clickstream-Based Approach to Enhancing Customer Lifetime Value

Jabr, Wael, Ghoshal, Abhijeet, Cheng, Yichen, and Pavlou, Paul


Online retailers are increasingly focused on maintaining a long-term relationship with customers, encouraging repeat visits rather than single-time purchases to increase customer lifetime value. To help retailers maximize the probabilities of customers’ revisiting and purchasing, we develop a two-stage model to better characterize and predict these two fundamental customer activities. In the first stage, we characterize the propensity of a customer revisiting the retailer’s website. In the second stage, we develop a stochastic model that predicts revisits while also incorporating individual customer heterogeneity in exerted search effort during repeated visits. This heterogeneity is based on individual customer preferences in the choice of consideration sets, product information, pricing, and the search environment. Using customer level clickstream data, we show that our approach is not only better at predicting repeat customer visits, compared to existing methods, but also explainable and managerially interpretable. Most importantly, using computationally efficient simulation-based prescriptive analytics, we leverage our modeling approach to propose practical intervention strategies that maximize the joint likelihoods of customers revisiting and purchasing at the individual customer level.

Key words and phrases: Clickstream data, probabilistic modeling, prescriptive analytics, explainable modeling, lifetime value, online retail, e-retail, online repurchasing