You’d think the convenience and speed of online shopping would speed up the buying process. But it’s even more complex and tentative on many different factors than ever. Gone is the inconvenience of having to find another physical store to price compare or seek alternatives. Shoppers have access to thousands of other online stores and information to compare offers in seconds from their smartphones. You have to go far beyond just presenting your product and hoping they make it check out.
Not only one should take steps to insure e-Commerce business from unpreventable losses, but also boost it in every possible way. Boosting e-Commerce customer engagement is the key to boosting not only sales but long-term revenue for e-Commerce sites. Customer engagement is your most important metric but also the most difficult to diagnose and improve. There are so many different factors that can improve or inhibit customer engagement with an e-Commerce site. Here are 7 really easy steps you can take to increase e-Commerce customer engagement and boost sales:
Go beyond just presenting products, build a brand
There are so many alternative products available at the fingertips of your customers, you have to compete elsewhere. It’s unlikely a small or medium-sized e-Commerce site can compete on price and shipping with giants like Amazon. What makes customers buy from small e-Commerce stores is a brand. Your e-Commerce site should work to build your brand as well as present products.
Do this through consistent branding, a consistent voice in copy, and an effective content strategy. Research your target audience’s interests outside just your product and use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Coschedule Headline Analyzer to create compelling content. Engage customers beyond products to create an emotional connection with your brand.
Make frequent announcements in a clear and engaging way
The draw of following and becoming loyal customers to brands is the excitement of something new. Make sure that you make your brand and products seem dynamic by making announcements for new products, sales, content, etc. Showing customers that there are changes constantly help add a time-sensitivity to your online store as well. Make announcements in a place where both new and returning customers can find them and engage. One tool you can use is Beamer – an interactive news feed that sits right within the interface of your site. Customers just have to click an icon or “What’s New” link in your navigation to open up a feed as a sidebar on any page.
You can make engaging announcements for anything in your feed: new products, launch dates, discount codes, sales, new content, new photos, videos, GIFS, and actionable CTAs to capture attention and increase engagement. You can also send out push notifications every time you post an update to users who have opted in. It’s a great way to get customers back to your site and engaging with your new offers and products.
Reward customers for engaging
An extremely “foolproof” way to get customers to engage is to incentivize engagement. I’m sure you’ve seen this before on successful e-Commerce sites. Offer customers discounts on their first purchase for providing you with their email. This is really important because the chances of someone making a purchase the first time they visit your website is not likely. 94% of people visiting an e-Commerce site the first time are not there to make a purchase, but to check out the brand and products.
You want a way to connect, engage, and convert these people in the future. If you don’t get their email, there is little chance they will be coming back. Incentivize giving their email to you by offering a discount on their first purchase in exchange. You should have the opportunity in multiple places on your site. The most successful are on a top bar or on an exit popup like this one.
Get more visually interactive with video on all platforms
For better customer engagement, replace some graphics or photos with video. Video on a landing page can increase conversions by up to 80% or more. Video in your marketing strategy can increase revenue by up to 49% faster than non-video users. It’s not that your videos have to be extremely well shot, short graphic videos created with Wave can be more effective at explaining or visualizing things to your customers. You can use video as a different and more engaging way to communicate your brand to customers. Even using a video as a background is extremely effective for e-Commerce sites.
Be mobile optimized and engaging on mobile
A responsive and functional mobile site is a must for a successful e-Commerce business at this point. 80% of e-Commerce shoppers use their phone to look up products and brands, price compare, etc and 60% of all smartphone users have actually made a purchase from an e-Commerce store from their phone in the last 6 months.
If your site is not engaging and functional on mobile, you could be losing a lot of customers. You don’t want users to be fumbling around with small buttons on mobile or trying to zoom in to see products or your navigation. Make sure the theme and elements you use are responsive and if not, use a plugin like WPtouch to create a fully functional mobile version of your site that is engaging and gets to the point of what users want.
Take advantage of peer-generated content and social proof
One of the most powerful conversion tools you can include to capture attention and increase engagement is social proof and user-generated content. These days, 95% of buyers read online reviews before purchasing and displaying product reviews can increase conversion rates by 380%. Simply including testimonials and enabling reviews on products can help boost sales dramatically for you.
But you can take it a step further and include user-generated content like photos and social posts. Amazon allows users to upload photos as part of reviews and plenty of e-Commerce sites report and include customer photos from social media. Some use photos and content from influencers or more high profile customers to boost engagement and use social proof to drive sales. Spanish shoe brand Au Revoir Cinderella uses customer Instagram photos to create trust and boost sales:
Include customers as part of your creative decision making
You’ve likely seen big brands ask their customers to help them create a new product. Now, it’s becoming increasingly popular for smaller brands to include customer opinion in their creative process as it’s very easy to have a two-way conversation with your customers. You can easily survey customer opinion by using tools like SurveyMonkey with MailChimp. You can send out surveys about what your customers would most like your team to create for the next.
It lets your customers know that your team cares about their wants and allows you to better predict and create products that will actually sell. It’s a great way to build brand loyalty and anticipation for releases to boost sales as well.
You can also generally gauge sentiment and converse with customers via social media. Customers appreciate when brands and interactive and responsive. Put up posts of concepts for products or various styles and see what your customers best respond to in likes and comments.
You can even create posts just to ask for direct feedback; it’s too easy to simply ask your customers what they want through social media. Instagram stories even allow for you to create polls people can click to respond to. Use this as a way to both engage customers, build product anticipation, and figure out what direction to go to please customers.
Here an e-Commerce beauty brand uses Instagram stories to poll which one of their products their customers are more interested in. They collect free proprietary data on what’s more interesting for their customers while engaging them in a fun and in-context way.
Making boosting customer engagement a focus for your design, marketing, and sales strategy will result in better sales now and return sales in the future for exponential profit growth. Also for successfully beating out the endless competition, focusing on boosting customer engagement is a must for e-Commerce sites.