E-Commerce Customer Engagement: Improve It Now
According to Statista, 86% of e-commerce business owners consider the level of competition tough or very tough. As a result, companies are jostling to position their brands and products at the top of every niche to attract visitors and turn them into buyers. Since buyers impact marketing outcomes and revenue, it makes sense to attract as many as possible from different channels.
But what happens after you direct customers’ attention to your product? This is where customer engagement comes in: you need to devise solid working strategies to keep them interested in your brand. Otherwise, they will probably head to your competitors or giants like Amazon.
This article will explore the importance of e-commerce customer engagement and how you can improve it.
10 Tactics to Improve E-Commerce Customer Engagement
First, let’s dive straight into the tactics you should try. At the end of the article, there will be a theoretical refresher about customer engagement and critical metrics to track.
Omnichannel Customer Experience
The first thing to note when crafting a customer engagement strategy is multi-channel interaction.
With omnichannel customer experience (CX), your existing and potential buyers can access your offers from multiple channels. So, you need to jazz up the customer experience across the board.
For example, you can turn your website into a well-structured and clear catalog to display products, discounts, FAQs, and other relevant information on your landing pages and blog. You can also add your product to several marketplaces to expand its potential reach.
Besides, there’s a group of buyers who prefer using mobile devices when interacting with e-commerce brands.
Source: Think With Google
With that in mind, you need to work on providing a quality mobile user experience.
Don’t forget the importance of apps. You can think about creating an app with full functionality for the convenience of use. It’s an option to provide an even better CX to users who prefer mobile shopping and make more customers loyal. When using phones, customers always see your app, logo, and receive offers and notifications from you.
In the current world of fast-paced communication and short attention spans, your e-commerce business needs to provide instant assistance to stay relevant.
You should add a live chat feature to your website. Although a live chat seems to imply that it’s necessary to hire a support representative or even a full team to handle instant messaging with clients, chatbots are another option. They can handle frequent requests and can be cost-effective.
For reference, LinkedIn uses the ‘smart reply’ feature for peer-to-peer and business-to-business communications.
Source: LinkedIn Blog
Other tools like Help Scout and Acquire can also come in handy for live communication with your customers.
Feedback & Reviews
The most reliable way to engage with your customers is by asking them for feedback on every aspect of your business. Customer feedback gives you a better understanding of overall sentiments regarding your brand or service.
But people won’t willingly leave their feedback if you don’t offer them a platform to do so. You should encourage your consumers to share their opinions.
When you publish written content, allow your consumers to leave their comments. Provide a review widget for every service and use website testimonials to gather information from consumers.
It’s ok to send customers survey emails and let them leave feedback. You probably won’t receive many responses, but those you’ll obtain will be invaluable.
Quizzes or short questionnaires are also an option to experiment with.
Have you ever considered that your cart abandonment rate might be high because the shipping cost is sky-high?
If this is the case, you should consider providing free shipping. This freebie will incentivize customers to complete purchases, thus increasing their engagement with your product.
For stores struggling to handle the logistics of expenses, you can offer a tiered free shipping model for customers who purchase a specific number of goods.
Since we’ve already discussed reviews, you can also offer discount codes to customers who leave feedback on Trustpilot and Yelp.
Go further! You can set up a referral program, provide gifts for big purchases, and other types of rewards for specific buyers’ actions.
Loyalty programs encourage your customers to become loyal by the means of receiving various rewards. For instance, you can offer a 5% discount after the user completes a purchase. You can also provide limited access to premium features for their birthdays or anniversaries.
Quite similar to rewarding your customers for their actions, a loyalty program is more beneficial in the long run. It means you need to set up a lasting program, inform customers, and wait for them to join – it requires patience and some promotional work. The main idea behind it is to make your customers stay with you for a while, creating loyal buyers who won’t go to your competitors.
When your brand resonates with consumers, they will look for ways to express their loyalty. Use this window of opportunity to reward them for their dedication to your business.
Most sellers create loyalty programs with discounts for their consumers. As an example, The North Face — a high-performance climbing and backpacking equipment retailer — uses the XPRL PASS points program to increase engagement.
Source: The North Face
These programs are double-pronged tactics to show your appreciation and stay relevant in the customers’ minds.
By planning your loyalty programs and customizing them to suit your consumer pool, you will boost engagement among existing customers and motivate them to make purchases.
Unhappy Customer Resolutions
Some businesses view negative feedback as non-existent — if you ignore it, there’s no issue. But this is a poor business practice. Negative reviews and comments are part of the customer experience and engagement.
According to Salesforce, 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services.
So how do you address the negative comments?
Pay attention to unhappy customers. Try to identify the root of their grievances and address them asap. Here, we need to take a few steps back and remember about asking for feedback and initiating a dialogue with an unhappy customer.
You should also apologize for the inconveniences caused by your brand. This shows that you are an empathetic company rather than a conveyor-type selling machine.
Here is an example of how to react (and how not to respond) to negative feedback:
Source: Neil Patel
Essentially, you need to set up one of the communication platforms to address complaints from unhappy customers promptly.
Email marketing is relatively inexpensive, easy-to-setup, and effective. And this avenue presents an opportunity to boost your customer engagement.
Firstly, your brand can customize the email content to fit a specific buyer segment. You just need to identify your company’s demographics and craft relevant messages.
Next, you can also increase the engagement rates by splashing a few promos. After all, nobody ever shies away from a good deal.
Don’t forget to send a welcome email or abandoned cart email reminders to your customers.
Some people go down a rabbit hole while online shopping and forget the things left in their cart. So, your perfectly-timed cart abandonment email will nudge them into finalizing their purchase.
Finally, experiment with re-engagement emails.Source: Email Design by BEEFree
You can schedule your email campaigns with services like MailChimp, ConvertKit, or alternatives.
Important note: Always encourage replies in your emails by telling your customers to reach out if they have any questions or complaints.
Social Media Marketing
Over the past few years, social media marketing has made massive strides to catch up with email marketing.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are now turning into multi-faceted marketplaces, especially among young people.
Source: Pew Research Center
But the advantage of using Facebook and YouTube for business is that it presents your brand as a physical entity. Your customers can now relate to your brand on a personal level.
Besides, the messaging feature makes it easier for consumers to reach out to your customer service reps and drop any suggestions.
And above all, social media marketing exposes your brand to a wider audience of potential consumers.
Videos & Visuals
As humans, we are visual creatures, which explains why we prefer visual content to written material. Social media marketing is blossoming, thanks to this innate trait.
You can convey more information through a picture, infographic, animation, or video than through written text. If you prefer a DIY approach or don’t have the budget to hire experienced designers, there are plenty of online tools to help non-designers in creating their own visuals.
Many e-commerce websites experiment with video product reviews. Statistically, content empowered by videos has 94% more views than plain text. You should capitalize on video content to connect with your customers. Use video tutorials, short animations, stop motion videos, reviews, and other content to deliver your brand message and personality.
Visuals will help you to improve:
- Short-span customer engagement
- Visual recognition of your brand
- Attraction of potential buyers
- Interactions with existing customers
FAQ & Blog
Starting a blog to engage customers is definitely worth trying. You’ll be able to share valuable information and consumer-oriented content. Just think of your blog as your brand’s mouthpiece. Check out a few examples of interactive and engaging content ideas to try in this article.
Besides, the comments on your company’s blog can also serve as sources for insights into consumer behavior and interests.
You can also optimize the blog content for search engine optimization (SEO) and sprint up the search rankings. Use WordPress-generated blogs or external platforms like Medium and Quora to share your written content.
Having a blog and producing content there aligns well with our tactics. For example, you can combine content marketing efforts with social media, emails, and more.
Content can also be delivered to consumers through an FAQ page. Ultimately, you should provide a frequently asked questions page to address common customer problems with short, straightforward answers.
What is Customer Engagement?
As the title suggests, customer engagement refers to the process of establishing a (personal) connection between a company and its customer, or in our case, between a store and a buyer.
Another definition of customer engagement describes it as the summation of interactions between a brand and the customer, starting from the first point of contact.
Typically, the first point of contact results from marketing the brand to its potential audience — customer engagement marketing. And from that point onwards, you need to nourish the relationship at every step of the sales funnel.
Most importantly, customer engagement serves to help a consumer purchase your goods and stay with your brand. This willful acceptance makes the interactions more natural and less invasive.
Why is Customer Engagement Critical in E-Commerce?
Customer engagement is central to every company’s survival, regardless of its size and industry. Once you identify your audience, you need to cater to their needs.
Let’s check out some examples from well-known global brands.
We all remember Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. Consumers could buy bottled drinks with their names on them. It’s a simple move, but it worked fantastically – there were millions of posts about the product across various social media platforms. Buyers were engaged, and the revenue increased.
Source: Coca-Cola United
Nike allowed footwear enthusiasts and regular online shoppers to customize their ideal shoes in an open design contest. What a buzz that event created for the company!
These are just a few examples of how corporations experimented with customer engagement. The same approach can work for smaller companies. The difference lies mainly in volumes. You can’t afford to operate with the same resources as large corporations and cover many markets, but you’re free to deploy a similar personalized campaign as Coca-Cola, or give your buyers an opportunity to participate in a small contest, and customize a product like Nike. When you focus on your niche and target audience, it’s even easier for you to leverage the personalized digital marketing approaches we described than for giant businesses.
So why do you need to think about customer engagement for your e-commerce store?
- Enhances the process of attracting and cultivating potential customers (lead generation)
- Improves the overall customer and brand experience
- Fosters customer loyalty to your brand
- Supercharges your sales funnel
- Provides vital user feedback
- Highlights essential metrics for your business
Meticulously planning and executing your customer engagement strategy gives your e-commerce brand a competitive edge. To better understand how you’re doing with customer engagement, you need to track and analyze critical e-commerce metrics. Below are 5 metrics to follow:
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that measures the loyalty of customers to a brand. Calculating NPS is possible in many different ways. Often, e-commerce stores measure NPS scores using a survey, and the ranks range from -100 to +100. The simplified version of NPS has a scale of 0-10, where everyone below 7 are detractors.
NPS focuses on the net customer experience score according to the company’s promoters and detractors. So, you want to keep it as close to the top of the scale as possible.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is a vital metric that evaluates how satisfied customers are with your product or service.
CSAT is often measured using a 5-point satisfaction scale. Participants express their satisfaction based on the following:
- Very unsatisfied
- Very satisfied
Customer Life Value (CLV) is a measure of the customer’s overall value to your business. This core metric focuses on the customer’s worth throughout their relationship with the brand.
Stores that run subscription-based programs should prioritize the CLV for every consumer.
Retention rate is the percentage of people that continue purchasing from your store to the total number of initial customers. Your e-commerce business’ retention rate is an excellent determiner for growth. So, you need to nurture leads to boost your retention rate.
Cart Abandonment Rate
Cart abandonment rate refers to the number of customers that complete a purchase from the cart, compared to those that only add items to their cart. If 100 customers add items to their carts and 50 of them complete a purchase, you have a 50% cart abandonment rate.
As I mentioned above, it’s crucial to measure all these metrics. Having this data is a way to understand what’s going on with your customer engagement, how to adjust it, and which improvement tactics to utilize.
Customer engagement is essential for e-commerce, as well as other fields. You have to identify your audience’s needs and interests through customer engagement marketing and turn it into value.
The tactics described above can help you start improving your customer engagement. Many of them work well with each other and empower each other to make your customers happy, engaged, and loyal.
It would be cool to know about tactics you use, which of them work, and which do not. Share your comments below!
nice take on ecommerce