Customer interaction may happen overnight, but a long-lasting relationship takes a lot of effort. For a customer to feel emotionally invested with your brand, you would need to persuade them to the point where they don't want to look past your brand. All their future orders would naturally flow to your store.
A successful brand tries every step of the way to retain new customers. A returning customer placing a repeat order signifies their trust in you. It goes to show that they had a positive experience last time around. A seamless and profitable transaction made rebound quite likely.
Customers don't place their faith in anyone that easily. They tend to research, compare, and weigh their options before spending a dime. Thus, a returning customer is a testament to how well you served them. Buyers are familiar with the value they get when they buy from you. Hence they choose to buy again.
A strong relationship with your customers makes it easier to convert them. They already see the credibility in associating with you, so going back to them will result in little to no negotiation. Just a casual and friendly reminder would be enough to restore your relationship and acquire an order.
What is Customer Engagement in eCommerce?
Customer engagement is an ongoing process of brands anticipating customer needs and staying connected with them to foster long-lasting relationships, creating deep loyalty, and building business growth. In essence, customer engagement strategizes to create happy, returning, and loyal customers.
Customer Engagement can also be a measure of a brand's success. For instance, prominent brands have a higher and more significant customer engagement rate than startups. Nonetheless, brands hope to engage with consumers to strengthen their relationship consistently. Brands must seek to interact with their customer base pro-actively.
They need to employ a wide variety of tactics to entice and lure customers back to their store. The only motive is to stimulate more interactions with the brand and acquire more orders. However, your messaging mustn't convey or reveal your intention to grab more orders. Use indirect content strategy, but ensure it somehow persuades your buyers to place orders.
Why Do You Need Customer Engagement?
Brands can't survive merely on one order from each new customer. They need recurring orders and a higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) for consistent revenue. Hence they employ several measures to create positive experiences that'd lead to memorable moments, resulting in long-term relationships.
There exists a direct correlation between the extent of engagement and business profits. Fully engaged clients are emotionally attached, committed, and rationally loyal. They won't accept any substitutes. However, disengaged customers are emotionally detached from a company's products and will readily switch to another brand.
Here's everything you stand to gain when you persist and engage your clients.
If a customer stays with you for longer, you'd be able to extract more orders than a customer who only trades once and doesn't return. Even today, loyal customers are known to generate more orders for corporates than fresh-new clients. Order placements will continue and won't come down after a while.
If your business gets more orders, it'd directly impact your income. Not only that, but your top-line revenue will start to witness steady growth. From that point onwards, profits would become a regular part of your quarterly figures.
Promote and Endorse
Customers who have been with you longer are more likely to advocate and endorse your company, products, or services. They've been with you long enough and have grown to respect your partnership. There's no doubt that they'll be recommending your company to others.
Impactful Customer Engagement Strategies
Gamification elements on an eCommerce store can increase the retention time by enticing the user to play a game. The rewards within the game, recognition, and immersive gameplay motivates them to return and play again, thereby building loyalty and long-lasting relationships.
Gamification elements are very addictive, plus the thrill of competing and outranking other global players on the leaderboard will motivate people to keep playing. In some instances, a bumper prize is enough to draw thousands of users. Even a difficult and challenging game fails to keep users away.
Establish what you hope to achieve from the game. For example, conversions, an increase in subscribers, social media activity, etc., and then carefully design the various levels and other components within the game to match those goals. Convey the difficulty and reward early to keep users hooked. Some popular gamification elements are listed below.
- Treasure hunt through the website
- Solve the clues to unlock a coupon
- Guess the name of a product
- Trivia and pop quizzes
- Photography contests
- Point-based arcade games
Engaging content can draw consumers back to your website. Create a Content repository of industry trends, latest developments, and frequently forward this content to your users via emails and social media. This way, your users will always turn to you to know the latest news.
Any content of this sort practically glues them to your company. You wouldn't need to do anything extra. Wanting to learn and stay up to date keeps them coming back for more refreshing and informative content. Ensure your content is fact-checked, proofread, and addresses the topic.
Entertaining content in the form of PDFs, blogs, case studies, PPTs is known to arouse your user's curiosity. Also, the more you write, the more you elevate your credibility. If possible, personalize the content for your users. Nurture this relationship and acquire more orders.
Soon your eCommerce site will also function as a hub for everything trending in your industry. As a result, more users will depend on your portal for every little development. What has happened is you have successfully turned your online brand into a reliable source for everything about your industry.
Captivating images can leave a long-lasting impression on users. Use this principle to create stunning images and videos about your company or the industry in general. Stunning graphics prove to be more immersive than a bland and boring eCommerce store.
Create infographics, start a video series, build tutorials, webinars, podcasts, etc., to increase your clients' longevity. Even promote these collaterals via social media, PPC, email, and more. Give your audience a significant reason to return to your website.
Don't hesitate to turn your website into the number one hub. Use the help of a gallery, rich visuals, and insightful videos to attract customers back. Feature tips, tricks, and the latest industry news in a mesmerizing format.
Who doesn't love a little discount, a cashback, or a freebie. So, go on and start a promotional campaign for the next festive season or whatever else is around the corner. The chance of grabbing a product at lower rates will tempt your consumers to engage with your brand.
- A percentage discount on any product
- A specific cash discount on a product
- Selling a product for a fixed, but reduced price
If you do this enough number of times, create a sense of excitement around your sales events, and market the same correctly, expect a heavy rush of new and old customers. Consumers eagerly await discounted products or combo deals. Consumers get all the value of the product for a lesser price.
The same product's availability at lower rates consistently will make buyers view your company as the premier eCommerce hub for significant savings. From that point onwards, they'll only associate savings and discounts with your site. As such, they'll prefer to shop only in your store.
Nothing builds a long-lasting relationship than a good quality product or service. Customers seek quality over price. No matter the cost, if you delivered the best product to your customers, they'll return to your store in a heartbeat. It's as if no other substitute exists for them in the market.
You impressed them to the point where even your competitor's cheaper deals are not enough to make them reconsider their trust in you. Free shipping, free installation, or free product, from your rivals - nothing changes their faith in you. Quality is known to foster the purest form of a long-lasting relationship, that nothing can deter easily. Showcase the following measures right away to reinforce the quality.
- Certifications from a credible institution reinforce the quality
- Testimonials from previous customers
- Quality analysis documents act as a seal of trust
If they buy an item from you, they expect it to work as advertised. When it does, the next time they seek the same or similar product, your brand will get the priority. However, a bad experience can mean no return, plus the likelihood of getting negative reviews and bad word of mouth about your brand and its products.
6. Customer Support
When a customer needs you the most, you have got to be there for them. The pro-active back-and-forth communication is what makes them see you in a different light. Your availability on all channels, email, phone, chat, etc., conveys that you value their orders.
An absence when they require your assistance could convey that you take them for granted. It'll not help in building a long-lasting relationship. Buyers may go through with the current order. However, they'll likely not return for future orders. The only reason being they couldn't access you at a critical time.
If you are unable to attend to customer queries and issues all the time, employ an AI bot and automate the process. Common questions about tracking-number, shipping charges, or product information should not need human intervention.
Ensure that the application addresses these functions adequately and answers their questions correctly. Wrong information could create further misunderstandings. Even rely on content like FAQs, brochures, PDF manuals, pamphlets, etc., to clarify recurring questions. Try as much to be there 24/7 for your clients.
7. User Experience
The overall UX on your eCommerce website will contribute to the decision-making process. A slow page load, cluttered page elements, improper links, crashes, too many pop-ups, 404 error pages, etc., reduces the chances of furthering the relationship.
A returning customer will want to see a frictionless experience in your eCommerce store. Your inability to provide this alienates your customer. Even a discounted product can't compensate for an unpleasant UX in an eCommerce site. A seamless and fluid experience is mandatory to convert customers.
Check the performance of your store, rework your site structure, rearrange your content and other elements on a page, fix your payment gateways, optimize your checkout, and more to create a smooth browsing experience. Glitches, errors, and any other issue will certainly repel users from continuing on your eCommerce store.
Check your UX on mobile devices across all browsers as well. More users are gravitating towards smartphones for purchases. If your site fails to load properly or if the structure seems uneven and poorly formatted, then expect visitors to abandon your site. The responsiveness and overall layout of your site on smartphones must stimulate more conversions.
A presence on multiple touchpoints for the omnipresent buyers will trigger higher engagement with your brand. eCommerce businesses can't ignore smartphones and, therefore, mobile optimization. Marketplaces are also equally important in this regard. Have a presence on as many channels as possible.
Buyers seek convenience. The ones that frequent a marketplace won't want to visit your eCommerce store or retail outlet. However, if you had a mini-store in that marketplace, they might consider the product from your inventory. This results in more connections with your brand.
Buyers don't need to restrict their purchases to one touchpoint. The omnichannel model increases buyers' likelihood of engaging with your brand, as they can access your business at more places. From a factory outlet to a kiosk in a mall, brands can be available everywhere for their customer base.
Merchants can consider even a native mobile app or a progressive web app for mobile-first users. Either way, the legacy system of selling through a single interface lessens the chance of forging a long term relationship with your buyer base.
Customizing customer experiences based on their age, past purchases, relationship, geography, etc., compels them to associate with you for longer. They see offers, discounts, shipping options, etc., specific to them. Personalized suggestions tempt them to associate with you for longer.
Tailor-made experiences help the customer to view the site through their eyes. Instead of seeing random content that does not concern them, they view information that aligns with their profile and suits their interests. Even the upsells and cross-sells are carefully curated and symmetric with the buyer's background.
Merchants might need to employ data mining, analytics apps, and AI tools. These software detect patterns, consider previous interactions with the site, search, and purchase history for recommendations. Finding the right offer or product suggestion might compel buyers to make a purchase. In contrast, irrelevant products invoke absolutely no interest.
10. Retargeting Customers
Customers may have disconnected with your company after a while, but it's on you to proactively reach out, reconnect with those customers and build a rapport. They wouldn't think of you - it's your prerogative to remind them about your brand's existence continually.
Start an email campaign, send newsletters, give them a ring, send SMSs, attract them via samples, send festive greetings, or try other measures to maintain and grow your relationship. The point is you got to keep in touch and create that sense of loyalty anyhow. The failure to do so may lead to a lost client.
In your absence, a competitor could be strategizing ways to acquire that client and get recurring orders. No matter how long you've known your client, it'd still do you good to reapproach them once in a while. This ensures that your brand remains active and fresh in their memory. Consumers rarely take the effort to remember their past association with a brand.
If the last communication wasn't all that impressive, it might not be engraved in their minds. As a result, they will not think about you the next time they need anything. Then, a lengthy gap of absolutely no messaging between the buyer and seller will result in forgetfulness. Thus, once you net a client, try to build a relationship.
B2B Vs. B2C - Varying Nature of Customer Engagement
The customer relationship in B2B versus that in B2C is vastly different. In B2C, the relationship between the business and the customer could be non-existent, yet users return to your store and engage periodically for their daily needs. However, that is not the case in B2B. In B2B, you can't afford to overlook long term client relationships.
B2B companies are compelled to re-engage with their clients with the hope of a future order. Unlike B2C, where you deal with one person per account, in B2B, that is not the case. In B2B, you may have to coordinate with several decision-makers. A B2B client is a company, not one individual. In B2B, your core focus will be on the company as a whole.
Merely mailing a promotional offer will not be enough to close a deal in B2B. In B2C, that might work as customers are more impulsive with their purchases. In B2B, the same offer will have several other parameters that would need to be balanced. E.g., logistics, payments, volume, quality tests, etc., that will be evaluated before placing an order.
Also, at any stage, the order can get rejected by the upper management. When dealing with a business, the human-to-human connection needs to go through several key executives in the decision-making cycle. In B2C, phone calls and seminar gatherings are uncommon.
However, in B2Bs, phone calls, seminars, expos, events, webinars, and now virtual meetings are widespread to discuss the ins and outs of a deal, products, company, and more. In B2B, sales professionals get more time to build and maintain closer relationships. The approach and dynamics of a customer relationship will vary from B2B to B2C.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
In many companies, the existing support team handles customer success initiatives. However, that being done via spreadsheets and documents manually is not very productive for the organization. Hence, many companies have started investing in CRM solutions to track and manage customers.
The best part, you can use a CRM system across departments. These solutions help you to learn more about your customers. All you need to do is dig deeper and analyze the data sets to extract intuitive information about your customers. Empowered with the right data, you can create the best customer experiences.
Furthermore, your sales team can use the CRM software to collect information about their interactions with each prospect. CRM tools also let you monitor the level of success each client has had with you. Valuable metrics reveal, number of orders, order value, onboarding process, repeat purchases, and more.
- Provides credible and polished reporting standards. All the data is sorted, cleaned, and analyzed.
- Interactive and visually stunning images showcase data in graphical format.
- Improve efficiency with AI. Set triggers and send alerts, notifications, emails with increased automation.
- Simplified cloud-based collaboration makes it easy to store and access all your conversations, interactions, notes, and contact information.
In essence, your workforce can gather insights and collaborate better to provide an exceptional service to customers. Data organized and presented properly by a CRM solution leads to a better understanding of clients. As such, your messaging and outreach improves, and you end up building a more healthy customer relationship.
Customer engagement is paramount in eCommerce. Any successful company cannot sideline customer relationships. Building a long term partnership must be a constant endeavor for any company. You can't choose to disconnect with your consumer after the first interaction.
Every eCommerce business must take measures to retain every single client. Even a customer that orders less quantity of a low value product is significant for your business. Cutting them out or not focusing on them might lose you future orders. Whereas cultivating an honest relationship might see an increase in their overall order value.
The lack of face-to-face interactions has made it hard for many eCommerce companies to retain customers. However, even via an online medium, you can foster and reconnect with your previous customers. Superior customer engagement can no longer be a side thought.