There will always be room for improvement. So, keep iterating and stay curious. The bigger the investment you make, the larger the return will be.
Even before we were all asked to stay at home and save lives, it was expected that online shopping – and other non-retail purchasing – would grow as much as 14% this year. That increase represents about 20 billion dollars in additional spending. If you run an online business – or, really, any type of business – you’re probably wondering how you can capitalize and bring some of those sales your way.
Though there may be many different tactics, you should really have just one focus: customer engagement. With the bombardment of ads and marketing emails sent each day, it’s no surprise that it’s becoming more and more difficult to cut through the “noise.”
I think it’s safe to say that this season’s hottest commodity is attention. In order to keep that attention, you need to be engaging. In this article, we talk about four ways eCommerce companies can improve customer engagement.
Have Strong Product Content
Shopping online has a lot of benefits. You can do it from anywhere, on your own schedule, and at your own pace. There’s no worry about pushy salespeople or something of the like. Though online shopping offers a lot of benefits, there are some drawbacks. Mainly, you don’t have the ability to interact with the product first-hand.
Without that direct interaction, what customers really need is robust content that can help them make an informed decision. Customers have a lot of questions about the item they might purchase. Research shows that 81% of customers will try to find an answer on their own prior to asking a live representative.
Really what you’re trying to accomplish is to take any anxiety out of the purchasing process. First, you need to have a detailed description. Let the customer know exactly what the product does and its key features. Be succinct, but don’t leave things out for the sake of brevity. Along with a detailed description, including images of the product.
Last, when relevant, create video content for the product. According to research, customers retain 95% of a message when seen on video, as opposed to 10% when that information is read. Great visual content is also more likely to see customer engagement on social feeds than dry product descriptions.
We all get a lot of emails. In fact, research suggests there are as many as 290 billion emails sent per day. Of those emails, a decent few are trying to sell you something, but not always something you asked for or are interested in.
Early on, the “email blast” tactic may have worked decently. We all got fewer emails and weren’t cynical about the whole business.
Now, we need to work harder to convince customers to read our content.
For example, having a personalized email subject line increases open rates by 17%. It makes sense. An email that starts with, “Dear Customer” doesn’t make you feel very valuable to that company. It’s like that one person we all know who can never remember your name, even though you’ve met multiple times. You may not outright despise them, but they probably aren’t your favorite person either.
Consider sending out special offers on days like birthdays or their anniversary of being a customer. It’s showing you see them as a person and not just a potential sale. Even if they don’t buy anything right then, it’ll help you stay top-of-mind when they’re ready to.
Allow Customer Feedback
Did you know that 91% of people regularly, or occasionally, read online reviews? The same study showed 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That should be a pretty big indicator that customer feedback is important. If you don’t allow online reviews, you’re missing out on a great touchpoint with customers.
Not every review is going to be positive. It’s the nature of being in any business. That said, even when someone leaves a negative review it’s a great opportunity to engage with them. In fact, 45% of customers say that they’re more likely to interact with a company that responds to negative reviews.
As we talked about above, what it really comes down to is showing, not just saying, that your customers have value to you outside of just how they contribute to your business financially. Addressing a negative review shows that you’re interested in and engaged with them. It shows it’s a two-way street. No one likes feeling as though they’re talking to a brick wall.
If you’re worried about what to say, here are a few quick tips for responding to less-than-stellar comments and reviews:
- Thank them for their feedback – It may feel counterintuitive with customers that are particularly nasty, but, even in those cases, it’s best to start on a positive note.
- Address their concerns as succinctly as possible – Since you’re in a public forum it’s best to get to the point quickly. Anything overly complicated or long could start to feel as though you’re avoiding an answer.
- If you made a mistake, own it – There’s a quote I love, which is, “anytime you argue with a customer you lose.” You may have an explanation, but in a heated moment, it doesn’t really matter. We all make mistakes, and you’ll only make things worse if you try to shift blame.
- Give options to continue the conversation privately – There’s a point at which when a public conversation begins to hurt more than it’s helping. If there’s more than a few messages sent back-and-forth, it might be time to take it private.
Have you noticed that almost anytime you buy something online they want you to create a profile? And, they want you to have a card saved on file. That’s because it reduces friction. If it’s easier to make a purchase, the more likely you are to do it.
Take Amazon, for example, they started having one-click ordering. Also, there are plenty of items you can set to be a recurring purchase. Again, it makes it so you don’t have to as much effort in. Essentially, our minds are lazy and don’t want to do any more than what’s needed. If something is difficult, we tend to avoid it in favor of doing something easier.
Removing unnecessary steps in the process is a great start to keep customers engaged, but you also have to consider where they may be visiting you from. By 2021 it’s expected that 54% of all eCommerce sales will happen on a mobile device. So, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, that could be a potential barrier for a customer. In fact, only 12% of customers find online shopping on mobile convenient.
As mentioned above, it doesn’t take a lot for us to change our minds or decide something simply isn’t worth the effort. Do your best to remove anything that’s not needed and also do your best to make sure the customer experience is the same no matter where they do their shopping from.
Getting someone’s attention can be difficult, but the true trick is keeping their attention. These days, there’s a whole world of options just a click away, so it’s more important than ever. A good place to start is by having strong product content. There’s always some amount of uncertainty when shopping online, so any way you can limit that anxiety, the better.
When you’re sending out messages be sure they’re relevant. Or, at the very least, include their name in your message. Each customer contributes to your success, so it’s only common courtesy that you recognize them as an individual. Also, allow their voices to be heard. Customer reviews and comments are an integral part of customer research. If there’s nothing to find, they may decide to look elsewhere.
Last, remove any unneeded barriers the customer may face. Whether that be making it a few less clicks to checkout, or ensuring they have a great experience no matter their device, it’ll pay off. There will always be room for improvement. So, keep iterating and stay curious. The bigger the investment you make, the larger the return will be.