Ask any business owner and they will tell you that customers are the real asset of their business. After all, taking measures to ensure customer satisfaction is the best strategy for any business. Now that technological advancements have dramatically increased competition and changed consumer behavior, businesses should also learn to distinguish themselves from their competitors. And improving customer engagement is the best way to do it.
To meet the modern customers’ demands of more personalized experiences, companies are now forced to invest their time and effort in identifying the individual needs and challenges of their customers and integrate that knowledge into their business processes to improve customer engagement.
Better customer engagement increases the likelihood for businesses to earn customer loyalty by helping them stand out. Research has shown that customer experience is likely to outdo product and price in brand differentiation by 2020.
Want to know what strategies you can use to improve customer engagement for your ecommerce business?
Here are some surefire ways to boost customer engagement for your ecommerce store:
1. Allow Your Customers to Give Feedback
Encouraging your customers to provide feedback is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve customer engagement for your ecommerce business.
Since customers have no direct contact with sellers in the ecommerce industry, they appreciate brands that make an effort to listen to their concerns and problems. Customers want to be heard and if you want to earn their loyalty, make them feel heard – it’s obvious but still overlooked more often than we think.
You can engage your customers by creating a space where they can share their thoughts, opinions, issues and complaints with you. Add a comment section to your website, let your customers provide reviews on your social media pages, have them rate your products and/or customer service, and encourage them to review your products or your company on independent review sites.
Reviews and feedback provide you the opportunity to engage your customers by listening to and resolving their issues, educating them about your products or services, and offering advice. Furthermore, they help you figure out the flaws or problems in your products or processes (if there are any) as well as know what products or services are working and what are not.
2. Make Information Easily Accessible for Customers
If you just take a look around yourself, you will notice that everyone is busy these days and multi-tasking has become a norm. Do you know what this means for your business?[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]Chances are that most of the people that visit your website are either doing something else while browsing through your ecommerce store. [/mks_pullquote]Chances are that most of the people that visit your website are either doing something else while browsing through your ecommerce store or they just have some time to place an order for something they need.
People who belong to the first category are casual browsers who are only visiting your website to see what you are offering and probably to compare your products or services with those of your competitors. These visitors generally skim through different website pages and product categories.
To keep these customers on your website for a longer time, make sure your ecommerce store is well-designed, has an organized menu bar and quick navigation.
Visitors that belong to the second category have identified their needs and they want to find the required information/ product/ service as soon as possible. If for any reason, it is taking them too long to find what they are looking for, it is highly likely that they will leave your site and buy from your competitor.
As an entrepreneur, your goal should be to make conversion easier for these types of people. Improving search functions and usability of your ecommerce store and designing a simple order placement process is the key to ensure that these visitors do not leave without placing an order.
You can also create multiple self-help sections on your website to help potential customers easily find the information they need. You can create sections or pages for frequently asked questions, buyer’s guide, user manuals, etc.
Simply put, make it easier for your visitors to search for their desired product and to place an order.
3. Keep Track of Your Existing Customers’ Most Important Days
You can improve customer engagement and win their loyalty by giving them personalized attention. One way of making your existing customers feel special is to reach out to them on important days, such as their birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasion, like New Year’s or Christmas. Send them a personalized message and, if you can, offer a special discount.
Make your existing customers feel that they are important for you to earn their loyalty as well as to convert them into your brand advocates.
Tip: Offer lead magnets, like free tools, eBooks, templates, or mini-courses, to collect details of your customers.
4. Do not Ignore Unhappy Customers
Ignoring negative customer feedback and reviews is the worst thing to do because, if not dealt with correctly, agitated and unhappy customers can cause serious problems for your business. On the other hand, addressing the issues of angry customers not only helps you to win their trust but also boosts your sales in the long run by converting the unhappy customers into your brand advocates.
But, dealing with unhappy customers isn’t as easy as it sounds. This is because most of them are not likely to share their bad experiences with you. According to research conducted by a US-based firm TARP in 1999, which still holds true, only one out of every 26 customers take the initiative of making a formal complaint. While some of the remaining 25 will do nothing, most of them will share their experiences with others.
“Customers very rarely complain to the service/product provider. Instead, they will tell their friends, who will, in turn, tell their friends, creating a pyramid of dissatisfaction,” the research concluded.
To understand the nature of unhappy customers and their reaction, you need to understand the Customer Complaint Iceberg. Here’s a visual representation to help you understand the concept:
According to the Customer Complaint Iceberg theory, an average of 1,300 people are likely to hear about the experience of at least one of your unhappy customers.
So, before you decide to ignore or disregard the few customer complaints thinking they are not important, consider what you are putting at stake.
To prevent losing this discontented group of buyers, you have to reach out to them and resolve their complaints. A good way to figure out how your customers feel about their experience is to conduct a brief survey soon after a visitor has made a purchase from your ecommerce store.
Real-time customer surveys are one of the best ways for businesses to figure out flaws in their products or processes as well as to identify what measures they can take to improve lead generation, conversion, and customer retention.
Research has shown that a 5% reduction in the customer attrition rate enables a business to increase its profits up to 125%. Isn’t that amazing? So, revisit your marketing strategy and review, analyze, and improve your existing practices for winning back unhappy customers.
5. Offer Loyalty Programs
As discussed above, making your existing customers feel special is one of the best ways to enhance engagement and convert them into your regular customers and brand advocates and loyalty programs can help you do just that.
According to the 2017 Loyalty Census of Colloquy, there are about 3.8 billion active accounts in different loyalty programs. When asked about the reason for choosing to sign-up for a company’s loyalty program, 53% members cited ease-of-use whereas 39% considered discount offers to loyalty program members as the key reasons.
These statistics show the effectiveness of loyalty programs in engaging a large number of your customers. However, you need to make continues efforts and regularly offer incentives to make your customers stick to the loyalty program.
6. Utilize the Power of Social Media
With about 3.48 billion social media users, globally, social media platforms provide businesses huge opportunities to engage with their existing and potential customers. However, there is a difference between being present on social media and using these channels for customer engagement in ecommerce.
In addition to maintaining an active presence by posting interesting content that pushes your audience to interact with you, make sure to monitor what people are saying about your business on social media by setting up Google alerts.
While you are most likely to be already using Google alerts to keep track of your brand mentions by bloggers or in the news, you should also set up the tool to monitor social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, in particular, if you haven’t done it yet.
Monitoring your brand’s social media channels with the help of such tools is essential because it will not only keep you aware of what people are saying about your business, but also allow you to locate and directly reach out to the person who posted a comment or a review. You can then respond to the customer feedback in a timely manner and in case, the customer has posted a complaint or a negative review, you will have a chance to win them back by addressing their issues before they leave for good.
If you are specifically concerned about a customer’s views and feedback about a particular product or service (for example, a newly launched product/service), you can also set up specific alerts for that. This will not only help you determine your audience’s response, but will also enable you to market your product to the right audience. For example, if someone posts to inquire about where to get an X product or service from, you can tell them about your company.
Customer Engagement is Crucial to Success in Ecommerce
If you are an ecommerce business that is focusing all its efforts on selling, then you are highly likely to self-harm your business by losing a larger number of customers. Modern-day customers value companies that invest time and effort in ecommerce personalization and enhancing customer engagement as opposed to those that push them into buying stuff.
Making use of customer engagement techniques may seem a little overwhelming at the beginning, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. What makes it even easier is that you don’t necessarily have to implement all the methods and tips discussed above at once. You can begin with a couple of them and then work your way to more.
Experiencing and enjoying the benefits of these techniques may take a little while, but stay assured that your investments will definitely pay off and your brand will enjoy a higher customer engagement and retention rate.