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James Helliwell
James Helliwell has written 15 articles for SB Informer.
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7 Super (Unique) Strategies for Building Great Customer Engagement on Your E-commerce Site

James Helliwell

February 27, 2018


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Have you ever tried working out a business bridging loan or raising finance and setting up your own online store with the ability to accept multiple types of online payments? Establishing a successful e-commerce website may seem to be quite a challenging task.  Truthfully, it isn't a small feat, and requires significant amount of effort to start making great profit and have an edge in competitive online marketplaces.

However, some inevitable steps to propel your site's visibility includes, driving a reasonable—or maybe even huge—amount of traffic to it, and equally implementing the latest SEO tools. Also, another important step is retaining your visitors—who would eventually become your customers. This can be achieved by building effective customer engagement on your e-commerce site.

 “Customer engagement is the future of e-commerce,” says  head of business development for xedi.com.

If a customer enjoys your brand, they are more likely to value it above every other. Yet, most brands rather focus on lead generation and customer acquisition.

According to Verint, 61% of consumers would tell friends and family about their experiences, while 27% reported that they would sign up to the company’s loyalty scheme.

With that said, here are 7 unique strategies to give you an edge over competition and build better customer engagement.

1.  Pay close attention to customers

Brand advocates are not made out of thin air; they're a product of satisfactory welfare and delicate nurturing.

The internet has evolved from what it was eight years ago, as there are now businesses, products and information today that could easily steal the attention of customers.

E-commerce websites can take a cue from Avis, a car rental company, yet has the highest level of consumer engagement. This they achieved by constantly going the extra mile to provide answers to customer's questions, as well as provide effective solutions to their complaints.

Today, quite a number of e-commerce site bloat their pages with information overload which acts as stumbling block to customer engagement.

A study by Accenture discovered that, “46% of U.S. consumers said they’re more likely to switch providers than they were 10 years ago.”

E-commerce giants Amazon are known for their immense urge for achieving customer satisfaction. Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, has shown his ability to pay close attention to his customers, their welfare, and everything they experienced with his site.

“Obsess over customers,” says Bezos, and according to a 2014 data, “72% of U.S. shoppers want to feel more in control than ever before when shopping.”

2.  Improve email contents by analyzing

Contents in your automatic or even transactional emails are almost as important as contents on your e-commerce website.

Analyzing the effect of your email contents would help greatly in tweaking your emails in line with customer behaviour. This would have a massive impact on retention, engagement and overall growing of your e-commerce website.

According to Brennan Dunn, founder of management software company, Planscope, behavioural emails are very important and can have a high success rate.

“Another behaviour email you could add to the mix: reach out the first time someone “kicks ass” with your product. In Planscope’s case, when you close your first estimate or pass a certain billing amount, an automated congratulatory email (from me) goes out,” said Dunn.

“My goal here is to… gently remind them that Planscope had a role in making them more money, and these emails have been ‘crazy’ effective.”

If you're hoping to secure long term customer loyalty for your site, sending the right emails will go a long way, because this is the most frequent channel of communication with customers.

3.  Include product video description

Unfortunately, there are quite a number of big and small e-commerce websites that are yet to implement the power of video product descriptions; most just settle with short, recycled and over clichéd text descriptions.

However, some retailers have discovered that including video description boosts conversion—as the presence of video would create a richer, more persuasive product page.

A video product description can create a more realistic emotional connection, ensure visitors take an action and can be equally personalized to target a specific section of your audience.

4.  Make brand advocates community leaders

While faithful customers are already actively engaged with your e-commerce site, it is important to build healthier relationships with these set of customers.

If utilized properly, these customers can become strong brand advocates, propagating the site and create viral engagement through numerous channels.

Creating a community for customers is one of the most effective yet frequently undermined ways to increase long term engagement on an e-commerce site. Having customers who are loyal to your brand, helps in spreading a positive influence to others leading to boundless potential.

The social media space is the best place to look. So, find those customers consistently publicizing your site and its products. Engage them in conversations and kick off a relationship, then consider other ways you can maximize their passion for your brand.

Popular blog, Free People, utilized this technique as they had their biggest fans write on their blog and it resulted in series of highly engaging content.

Think about how creative ways to get your customers to publicize for you.

5.  Create a functional mobile app

Some e-commerce sites pay less and less attention to their mobile application —with quite a number of them plagued with spammy ads or dysfunctional UI.

However, according to a recent report from IMRG Calpgemini, “a total of 52% of web traffic to retail sites currently comes via smartphones and tablets.”

“More so, over a third (36%) of online sales are now completed on a smartphone or tablet device.”

Proper analytics in addition to effect psychology for customer behaviour are the defining factors that separate an app from a website or any other software.

In terms of customer engagement, mobile application elements can turn a casual conversation into a bonded relationship that bolsters sales.

According to statistics by The Nielsen Company, in Q4 2014, smartphone users accessed 26.7 apps per month on average, and spent 37 hours and 28 mins per month on apps.

Also, creating a unique application icon would give your e-commerce website an edge.

6. Create an avenue for customer opinions on products

Inquiring from customers for opinions on your current product offerings—as well as future ideas—creates an opportunity for stronger engagement with your brand.

The Consumer Generated Content (CGC) concept is quite straightforward. Consumers post personalized contents like video clips, pictures, testimonials, reviews, and blogs, which would be made publicly available online through social media and other relevant sites, about your store.

According to BaazarVoice, CGC can be instrumental in achieving more engagement to your e-commerce website.

“Shoppers that interact with CGC are 97% more likely to convert with a retailer than customers who do not. Brands see a 78% lift in conversion rates when customers interact with CGC.”

Utilize this strategy by organizing product contests on social media and encouraging people to share how they are interacting with your products— enabling voting rules. Inquire on how to make your product or service better, and use real time-interactions via numerous live stream platforms.

7.  Build emotional ties with customers

Creating strong emotional relationships with your customers is an effective way to positively engage them. In fact, it's been shown that businesses that utilize strong emotional connections outperform their competitors by 85% in sales.

According to a report, using popular online shoe store, Zappos, “A customer was late returning a pair of shoes due to a death in the family, so the Zappos’ customer service team went out of their way to take care of the return shipping and arranged a courier to pick up the shoes at no cost.”

“They also sent the customer a bouquet and a note offering their condolences.”

That gesture, showed a company willing to make legitimate emotionally connections with its customers.

Therefore, it's important to listen carefully to customers to show that you care about their welfare. Monitor their online conversations and you’ll be able to uncover their needs, challenges, and distress points.


                   



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