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The 8 best ways to engage with ecommerce customers

Author's avatar By Content Partner 27 Feb, 2018
Essential Essential topic

Customer engagement in ecommerce is paramount to success and must be a constant priority for your company

If your company isn’t hitting its sales targets, there could be a number of reasons responsible for these shortcomings.

However, all too often, companies aren’t profiting as much as they should because they’re not engaging customers as much as they should. This is an especially prevalent problem in ecommerce. Without any face-to-face opportunities, far too many companies are dropping the ball when it comes to customer engagement.

Sound familiar?

Why Customer Engagement Is Essential to Ecommerce

It should come as no surprise that people like individual attention. Alternatively, no one wants to feel like they’re just a number.

We’ll spend our money on something we want, but most of us will also pay more if better service comes with it.

This isn’t a small distinction, either. You ignore it at your company’s risk.

86% of consumers will spend more if it involves a better customer experience. By 2020, customer experience is expected to become a bigger brand differentiator than price and even the products themselves.

So if you want better retention and more conversions, you want to invest in engaging your customers.

The 8 Best Ways to Increase Customer Engagement in Ecommerce

The question then becomes, how do you increase customer engagement in ecommerce?

Understanding that it is extremely powerful is a good first step, but solid tactics will make it much easier to put this concept to work.

Fortunately, it doesn’t require any massive changes. Here are eight easy ways to begin better engaging your market.

1. Enable Customer Feedback and Allow for Reviews

Have you ever felt what it’s like when you’re talking, but no one’s listening?

It doesn’t feel great, does it?

So one easy way to improve your customer engagement in ecommerce is to let your customers give feedback. Provide them with a comments section or let them leave your company ratings.

That said, letting your customers speak is only half the battle. You also have to make it clear that you’re listening. Otherwise, this strategy will only prove to your customers that you pretend to listen but don’t really care.

2. Pair Requests with Rewards

One really effective way to prove that you’re actually listening is to reward customers for their feedback and requests. Of course, people love free stuff, so that’s a great incentive for utilizing this method, too.

You can use personalized pop-ups, live chat, and emails to gain reviews from your customers. Then, leverage ecommerce personalization to pair their feedback with coupons, rewards, or other types of special offers.

Again, everyone appreciates free gifts, but this type of giveaway also shows that you truly value what your market has to say. After all, it’s literally costing you to hear from them, so it must be something you view as important.

3. Provide Easy Access to Information

Retail workers are often taught that as soon as someone enters their store, they need to approach them and ask, “Can I help you find something?”

While it may be well-intentioned, the advice ignores the fact that most people would rather help themselves.

Again, this isn’t by a small margin. Across every industry, 81% of consumers will try to help themselves before asking a live representative to do so. 90% of them will go to your site first.

You can use these facts to improve your customer engagement in ecommerce by providing your visitors with a self-service portal that offers as many resources as possible. This could include everything from buyer’s guides to an FAQ.

4. Immediately Engage Unhappy Customers

Customer churn is a serious problem. Lowering this number for your company could increase your profitability by as much as 125%.

Unfortunately, unhappy customers don’t always let companies know before deciding to take their business elsewhere. For every 1 customer that complains to you, 26 don’t say a thing.

Well, they don’t say anything to you. Their friends, family, and social media following on the other hand…

That’s why you need to engage unhappy customers before they turn away from your company for good. You can do this by offering surveys with every transaction and enabling those channels we mentioned in the first tip.

5. Increase Account Creations

Increasing customer accounts will definitely improve your ability to engage said customers.

The problem is that most people would rather make purchases without opening accounts. So while they give you profits, they don’t help you improve your customer engagement on your ecommerce platform.

The key here is not to look for that account creation right away.

Wait until they make that initial purchase and then offer them the opportunity to start that account. At that point, you’ve earned a bit of trust, and they’ve proven they like what you have to offer.

6. Offer Loyalty Programs

Speaking of offers, another way to create ongoing engagement with your customers is through loyalty programs.

According to the 2017 Colloquy Loyalty Census:

  • There are 3.8 billion active membership accounts in loyalty programs
  • 53% of those with accounts cite “easy-of-use” as the reason
  • 39% cited the discounts

So while you still need to incentivize your customers to stick with these loyalty programs, they’re still an effective way to engage an absolutely huge number of them.

7. Keep Track of Significant Days

As we mentioned before, people like to be treated as individuals. You can offer your customers this personal attention by reaching out to them on their birthday, anniversaries, and other special days.

This kind of ecommerce personalization is fantastic for engagement because it’s obvious that the customer is being treated as an individual. It is their special day, after all.

At the same time, they may not have otherwise purchased from you on that specific day had it not been for your outreach. You can offer them a special deal, a certain percent off their purchase, or just about any other promotion you can come up with.

Just make sure there’s actually some value to the offer. Simply recommending products won’t feel like much of a present. That kind of ecommerce personalization should be present throughout your site anyway.

8. Make Better Use of Social Media

As of 2017, 2.8 billion people use social media all over the world.

Obviously, you want your company to be there, too.

That said, having a social media presence is not the same as using these platforms for customer engagement in ecommerce.

For one thing, you should commit to posting at least once or twice a day. Over time, you’ll know which amount is right for your company by monitoring the engagement you receive for each post.

However, you should also set Google alerts to monitor what is being said about your company on social media. This is something you should already be doing so if your business is mentioned in the news or on a blog, you can react accordingly.

You can also use Google for monitoring sites like Twitter and Facebook, specifically, though. It’s especially helpful to do this on social media because you can easily reach out right to the person talking about your business.

If they have a complaint, you can address it (remember tip #4). If they have a question, you can answer it. If they have praise, you can share it with everyone who follows your account.

You can also set these social-media-specific alerts for products and services you offer. That way, if someone asks their followers, “Does anyone know where to go for X?” you can put your company in front of them.

Improving Customer Engagement in Ecommerce

If you focus all of your ecommerce efforts on “selling”, you’re going to lose a lot of customers. In the future, they’ll flock to the websites that are invested in ecommerce personalization – the companies that leverage the eight methods we highlighted above.

While it might seem overwhelming to begin implementing all of them at once, the good news is that this isn’t necessary. Simply begin with one or two. Put them to work for your business and move on to a third and fourth once you can.

Over time, your investments will pay off as your company gains a reputation for superior customer engagement and support.

Author's avatar

By Content Partner

This article is contributed by a Smart Insights Content Partner. To find out how you can become a regular contributor and share your knowledge and experience with our readers, please see our Content Partnership options.

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