By Andi Croft
There is no denying that e-commerce has enabled people to purchase anything they want whenever and wherever. Plus, it allows them to expect the products they bought to arrive at their doorsteps within days.
Here’s the thing: What makes people buy from you is more than just having affordable products.
According to a PwC study, 3 out of 10 consumers will walk away from a brand after one bad experience. This explains why e-commerce customer experience (ECX) is integral to your business success.
However, ECX results from the customer engagement that you do in your online store.
Defining E-commerce Customer Engagement
In a nutshell, customer engagement is the emotional connection a consumer has with your brand. It starts as soon as someone comes across your business and goes beyond purchasing your product or services.
Mind you; e-commerce customer engagement can help boost your sales and revenue.
Other than that, you can also reap the following benefits:
Cultivate Brand Loyalty
The prominent effect of excellent e-commerce customer engagement is brand loyalty. Mind you, engaged consumers are 5x more likely to stick with a brand within the next couple of years. This means that your online store will be their top-of-mind choice if they need your products or services.
Boost in Customer Retention
Excellent customer engagement can help you retain your customers.
Why would you need to keep your customers? That’s because it is easier to convince existing consumers to buy from you than new ones. As such, you do not need to spend much on marketing to keep them coming back for more.
Foster Brand Ambassadors
Engaged e-commerce customers can serve as your brand ambassadors. This means that they are more likely to recommend your products and services to their family, friends, and colleagues.
Imagine the ripple effect that word-of-mouth marketing can do on your online store!
Shortened Sales Cycle
Another benefit of customer engagement is a reduced sales cycle. This means that you do not have to spend money on convincing your existing buyers to purchase your products. That’s because they already know that what you offer works for them.
If you want to boost your e-commerce conversions, keep your customers engaged.
These days, offering your products at a lower price is no longer enough. You also need to give your customers a reason to buy from you repeatedly.
That said, here are ten proven ways that you can apply to your online store to boost customer engagement:
Leverage Customer Engagement Tools
One of the ways to keep your consumers engaged is to make it easy for them to communicate with you. You can do this through multimedia content and live chat.
Multimedia content is an excellent way of educating your buyers on using your products. This explains why you need to upload lifestyle photos and videos on your e-commerce site.
Moreover, this type of content gives your customers reason to stay longer on your e-commerce website. Doing so can reduce your online store’s bounce rate, improving your search engine ranking.
Meanwhile, a live chat feature allows you to answer customer queries in real-time. As such, you can have insight into their pain points and consumer behavior. This can also help them make an immediate and informed decision before buying your products.
If you do not have the budget to hire a customer support team yet, you can opt for chatbots. This feature can help you filter customer queries that can be answered through canned replies.
Provide Omnichannel Customer Experience
Omnichannel means providing a streamlined customer experience across various touchpoints.
Think of it this way: Some customers do product research on their desktop or laptop. Yet, they make the purchase on a mobile app for convenience.
Whether they are on your website or app, you must provide them with a consistent experience. It can be through your branding or marketing voice.
The key here is to fuse your physical store, online store, and mobile app to provide a simplified shopping experience.
Make the Checkout Process Hassle-free
According to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is close to 70%. This means that, across all sales niches, 7 out of 10 customers fail to complete the checkout process.
One of the reasons cart abandonment happens is due to a complicated checkout process.
If you want to boost your e-commerce customer engagement, you can use these quick tips:
- Simplify the process. This is a no-brainer. Shorten the checkout process and allow guest customers to checkout.
- Show shipping cost upfront. Customers do not like being surprised by hidden fees. Show them the shipping cost and taxes from the get-go.
- Reduce distractions. Allow the customers to focus on buying your products by eliminating unnecessary navigation.
- Provide customer support. Doing so allows them to receive a response immediately, helping them proceed with the checkout as quickly as possible.
Implement a Customer Retention Strategy
As mentioned earlier, customer engagement goes beyond the purchase. This means that you should keep your customers hooked with your brand, even after buying from you.
- 39% of customers are willing to spend more on your products even if there is a cheaper option.
- 60% of customers tend to recommend a brand they are loyal to their family, friends, and colleagues.
- 52% of customers would want to get first dibs on what you can offer.
The secret to retaining your customers is to give them a “wow moment.” One of the simplest ways to do that is by adding freebies to their purchase. Another compelling example is offering a discount code that customers can use on their next purchase.
Maximize Your Social Media Presence
In addition to the previous point, customer engagement also goes beyond your e-commerce website. Hence, you should engage your online customers using your social platforms.
You can do this by posting informative and compelling content regularly. Moreover, your social media channels can help you build a community of people who are loyal to your brand. This is why some B2B brands have Facebook groups.
Aside from that, social media is an excellent listening tool. This means that you can use these online platforms to know what people say about your brand. That way, you can find ways to improve your products and services.
Responding to negative reviews constructively also allows you to showcase customer service. This includes acknowledging and addressing valid complaints. Nonetheless, you should use discernment to know whether criticism about your e-commerce business is valid or just a troll.
Invite Your Customers to a Community
It is recommended to have a Facebook group for your business because customers want to be part of an exclusive community. In addition, branded communities are 13% more likely to have an impact on customer experience.
This includes the following:
- Increased customer retention
- More repeat purchases
- Boost in revenue
Of course, you cannot achieve these things unless you give your customers a reason to join your community.
One of the often used tactics of branded community building is providing exclusive promos. For instance, you can promote a discount code that is unique to your community members. That way, you can track and reward your customers who are also part of the community.
In addition, your community is more than just your Facebook group. This can also include your newsletter subscribers and Instagram followers.
Create a Loyalty Program
A loyalty or rewards program is another excellent way to engage your e-commerce customers. That’s because it boosts customer retention and increases lifetime customer value (LCV).
A great example of a loyalty program is Amazon Prime. Being part of this paid program means that you can enjoy faster delivery and earn referral rewards.
One such excellent way to boost customer retention is to have loyalty programs. Many companies will offer discounts and extra privilege to their sales promotion to loyal customers. You can browse gifts to send to your loyal customers in their next order.
Here are some examples of e-commerce rewards programs that you can use:
It is when you give points for every purchase and let customers accumulate them for freebies, cash-backs, and other perks.
This is when customers get different benefits based on their ranks.
Rank 1 customers can have early sales access, while Rank 2 customers can have early sales access and discounted shipping rates. Meanwhile, a Rank 3 customer can enjoy early sales access, discounted shipping, and exclusive offers.
Like Amazon Prime, a customer pays a one-time or recurring fee to receive benefits like faster shipping, more significant discounts, and rewards.
This refers to allowing your customers to participate in your charitable programs. For instance, you can ask your customers to donate in addition to purchasing your products. In exchange, they can receive a freebie.
Leverage Customer Reviews
According to a 2020 Trustpilot study, 89% of customers take the time to read customer reviews. They use this feedback to make an informed purchasing decision. It also shows how c
That said, customer reviews are integral in e-commerce customer engagement and boosting sales. And you can acquire customer reviews by applying any of the following tactics:
- Ask them straight. Most of your customers are more than happy to leave a product review if you ask them.
- Use in-app messages. If your customers bought your products using your mobile app, it means you can send push notifications. Use this opportunity to remind customers to review the item they purchased.
- Send an email reminder. On the other hand, you can send an email reminder to your customers who bought through your website to review your product.
- Send customer surveys. Sending a survey to your customers is helpful if you are looking for ways to improve your products and services.
- Give an incentive. You can use this to nudge your customers a little to leave feedback on your online store.
Provide an AR/VR Experience
As more people use e-commerce, the demand also increases. Hence, you need to search for innovative ways to set your brand apart.
This is where Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality come into play.
IKEA is known for maximizing the AR experience. With the help of an app, you can virtually place furniture in your home. That way, you can decide whether a piece suits your interior or not.
From there, you can decide whether a piece of furniture is worth the purchase.
Depending on the products you sell, providing an AR/VR experience is something that you might want to consider. That’s because 40% of online shoppers are willing to bring out their wallets as soon as they experience augmented reality.
Personalize the Shopping Experience
Often, the secret to keeping your e-commerce customers engaged is to provide a personalized experience. This means that you need to be data-driven.
There are analytics tools that you can use for free to monitor everything. Start tracking how your marketing funnels are doing and adjust. Doing so can help you figure out your source of site traffic, where most customers fall out, and more. From there, you can tweak your purchasing process and provide the best experience for your customers.
Focusing on sales will never be enough if you want your e-commerce business to succeed. You need to ensure that you provide your customers with the experience to make them come back for more.
When you use the e-commerce customer engagement tips listed above, your buyers will not hesitate to share their experiences with their family, friends, and colleagues. Hence, you can expand your market reach with the help of your consumers-turned-ambassadors.
Ultimately, the benefit of customer engagement is a boost in brand loyalty and an increase in sales.
Andi Croft is a freelance writer interested in topics related to business, technology, and travel. She has a passion for meeting people from all walks of life and bringing along the latest tech to enhance her adventures.