Deep customer engagement is at the heart of customer retention and repeats business, which is key for eCommerce stores or retailers. Hence, it is essential for ecommerce store owners to learn how to maximize available digital customer engagement channels to deliver first rate customer experience.
In 2017, global retail ecommerce revenue stood at $2.3tr. By 2021, it is projected to reach a whopping $4.88tr, more than double its size in 2017. This makes sense considering that as of 2016,1.66 billion people reportedly bought things online and 2.14billion people are estimated to buy things online come 2021. With increasing internet access,more and more people will eventually shop online, which can only mean one thing; more revenue.
However, only ecommerce stores that are optimized for user experience and customer engagement in today’s highly competitive retail market, may be able to grab the lion share of retail’s market share.
In this post we’ll be highlighting five key customer engagement channels for ecommerce conversion rate optimization. At the end of it we’ll see which digital customer engagement channels we should be focusing on, why and how to use them as growth drivers for ecommerce retail businesses like dropshipping, but first
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement encompasses the various ways companies and customers (or in this case, brands and buyers) communicate or interact with each other. It also includes customer to customer communication or interaction. For ecommerce retail businesses like dropshipping, this happens online.
Recent studies reveal that 84% of customers say being treated as a person and not a number is key to engaging them more and eventually winning their business.
Hence, retailers with more robust KYC can better personalize customer experience which will increase customer engagement, which reflects in the level of satisfaction shoppers derive from shopping with you. This can include how fast your site loads, user interface, design, navigation, forms, categories, etc.
Why is Ecommerce Customer Engagement Important?
There are two main reasons why customer engagement is important for retailers.
One, human attention span is now 8-9s long, not long enough to tolerate brands who suck at customer engagement. In other words, the faster you can impress them, the better.
Two, competition is huge. Thankfully, the market is equally huge, and growing. But again this means if you want to start a dropshipping business for instance, and gain good market share, you must be ahead of the competition, and customer engagement is a great place to start.
You may tag today’s customers as Picky Nickys or Choosy Suzzies, but it’s not their fault, they’ve options and are spoilt for choice.
Some Key Benefits of Effective Customer Engagement for Retailers
- Customer satisfaction
- Repeat purchases
- Increased spend per visit
- Word of mouth referrals
- More @Mentions
- More social media followers
- Brand loyalty
- Genuine customer feedback
- Better data collection
- More personalization, etc.
And, here are
5 Key Ecommerce Customer Engagement Channels for Smart Marketers and Retailers
1. Push Notifications
One of the causes of shopping cart abandonment is too many form fields to fill during checkout. Another reason is fear of giving out too much private information. With push notifications you can now push these two aside.
Push notifications allow 1-click subscribe, turning your visitors into subscribers with just one click, no form fields to fill, no privacy concerns to worry about. Retailers can use push notifications to reach buyers using different browsers (Mozila, Chrome, Microsoft Explorer, UC browser, Opera, etc) devices (desktop, mobile and tablets) and languages.
Retailers can use push notifications to alert shoppers about deals, discounts, promos, sales, clearance, upsells, birthdays, holiday seasons; anything. The more personalized these messages are, the better for customer engagement.
2. In-App Messaging
Communication is a key sales facilitator. Brands who know how to communicate well with customers literally have their hands in their customers pockets. With in-app messaging, messages or notifications are displayed in-app to customers, when the app is open or in use.
Again, brands that know their customers well can use in-app alerts to guide new visitors or subscribers along their customer journey. In-app messaging presents retailers and marketers another opportunity to send media-rich content to customers.
With over 98% open rate, short messaging service is one of the leading ways to communicate with and engage your customers, any day, amytime, anywhere. This is even ahead of email which has an open rate of around 22%.
With 98 out of every 100 sms read, retailers can easily engage and re-engage customers who may have abandoned cart. Mobile is increasingly being used for browsing and buying on the go, and is therefore a great place to capture customer attention.
Combining push notifications, in-app messaging and sms can greatly amplify your brand voice and increase the chances of getting a sale, even with a first time visitor. Care has to be taken, and consent sought in order not to overwhelm recipients with overtly salesy messages.
Just because email has a lower open rate than sms doesn’t make it any less powerful a medium for ecommerce customer engagement. In fact email ROI at $40 per $1 spent is pretty impressive.
Because ecommerce depends heavily on displying product images, email is a great medium to engage customers visually with rich multi-media content. Most retargeting messages are sent via email and can help reduce cases of cart abandonment.
Promos, discounts, sales, etc, can also be communicated via email, following certain conventions and email best practices to increase your chances of getting an open and a click back to your econmerce store.
Business blogging isn’t yet welll appreciated by retailers, but reports reveal that companies who blog consistently record 16x more traffic than those who don’t. A good ecommerce blog built around your dropshipping business for instance, can help you build trust and bond with customers.
By communicating with them as a friend and addressing their pain points you gain a level of trust that makes it easier for them to buy from you. Additionally, customers can communicate with other customers in the blog comments section with you as moderator.
This three tier communication model is great for customer engagement. Masterfully combined with push notifications, in-app messaging, sms and email, you’d be able to engage your customers on a much deeper level.
One More Thing
So, having come this far, how do you know how well you’re doing with customer engagement?
Besides analytics, here are
Some Key Ecommerce Customer Engagement Level Indicators
- Higher dwell time
- Lower bounce rate
- More pageviews
- Increased on-page actions
- Improved conversion rate
- Increased AOV (average order value)
- Higher RPR (repeat purchase rate)
- Low churn rate
- More @mentions
- More social media followers
- More social likes, shares, comments
- Higher sales, revenue and profits
- Rich blog comments and interactions
The key to great ecommerce customer engagement is consistency and excellence. Implementing these tips using these customer engagement channels will greatly boost your ecommerce business.
Let us know which ones have worked for you so far.
Olubunmi Onwukwe enjoys writing about small businesses and ecommerce. In his free time he loves to sing and write songs.