Easy Steps to Improve Customer Engagement in E-commerce
Shaping e-commerce customer engagement into a focused strategy can help you strengthen the relationship that people have with your brand.
A study found that deeply engaged customers represent a 23% share of profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared to the average site or app user.
Keep reading to discover why customer engagement is fundamental in e-commerce and how you can improve it.
The Definition of E-commerce Customer Engagement
E-commerce customer engagement is nothing more than a metric used to gauge how connected your customers are with the business as they interact with you through various service channels.
These interactions create links between customers and companies in the form of emotional attachment. You can reinforce the company’s name and increase trust beyond superficial transactional relationships, helping define better-targeted customer strategies and improving customer experience.
As the Digital Commerce 360 survey states, businesses with more potent omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers. Only 33% of businesses can keep their customers without a developed customer engagement strategy. This is because customer engagement is no longer limited to just interacting with customers periodically via social media. It has become an ongoing practice allowing companies to anticipate customer needs through:
- providing attention to customers
- optimizing UX/UI of website or app
- promoting the brand through social media, email marketing, SEO
- encouraging loyalty to foster lasting customer relationships
How to Measure Customer Engagement in Ecommerce
Considering the importance of customer engagement, it is necessary to establish, compile, and quantify marketing indicators to improve the process. Here are the main customer engagement metrics:
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score or NPS describes the recommendation rate of a product. It lets you know the rate of customers who recommend or do not recommend products, brands, or services.
You can detect the Net Promoter Score through a satisfaction questionnaire. Even turning to buyers to match, “How likely are you to recommend this business to a friend or colleague?” will give enough ground for analysis.
The traditional NPS scale is 0-10. Higher NPS is preferable as it means that the number of so-called ‘promoters’ (9-10) or happy customers is higher than the ‘detractors’ (0-6), i.e., unsatisfied negative commentators, which is a good sign. Those in between are known as ‘passives’ (7-8), and you can turn them into active promoters.
Customer churn is the phenomenon where customers of a business no longer buy or interact with it.
High churn means many customers don’t want to purchase goods and services.
To have an estimate, you can segment your customers according to the frequency of their purchases.
The formula is:
For example, in the first year, the number of lost customers was 5, and the total number of customers was 100, so for the first year, your churn rate:
5 / 100 * 100 = 5%
Customer Effort Score (CES)
The Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric that calculates the degree of difficulty for the customers to solve a problem or achieve a goal each time they interact with the company.
Once the customer experience or the provision of services is over, CES is an exciting ratio with which you can find out the degree of difficulty or ease that your customer perceives in the experience with your company.
To know how the Customer Effort Score is measured, you have to take the results obtained from the scale. The best (and engaging way) is to use a Likert scale. For example, use the scale with emojis:
and apply them to the CES formula:
CES = Total Incidents / Total Responses.
The conversion rate, or CR, is the percentage of users who perform a specific action: whether they are making a purchase or setting up their account.
The conversion rate formula represents the ratio by dividing the number of goals achieved (conversions) by the unique users who visit the website (visitors):
Conversion rate = Number of conversions / Number of visitors
Conversion rate is one of the key performance KPIs in e-commerce since it clearly shows us how your business is doing.
These are essential indicators, but there are a few more customer metrics to track.
Some advanced indicators to watch out for are:
- Repeat purchase rate (RPR) tells you what percentage of your customers have bought from your brand more than once.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV) is an excellent supplementary metric to help you understand how much revenue you earn from one loyal customer.
- Returning visitors indicator tells how many visitors to your site are returning and can tell you how often people engage with your brand.
And if you don’t want to get confused in the metrics, turn to one of the e-commerce customer engagement platforms that can deal with them easily. This will allow you to see what you are doing wrong and diagnose which areas within your site need repair.
How to Improve Customer Engagement in E-commerce: 5 Easy Steps
If an e-commerce business wants to be successful, it must invest in customer engagement. Engagement strategies should always prioritize the customer and ensure that all pre- and post-purchase processes are easy and convenient.
Step 1: Polish your e-commerce website
A clear, intuitive, and convenient website significantly influences customer engagement.
So the first step is to make your ecommerce website engaging and straightforward at the same time.
Among the usability factors defining the positive presentation of your website are:
- An appealing design
- High-quality visuals
- Clear and easy-to-understand menu guidance and navigation
- Optimized responsiveness (to display properly on tablets and smartphones)
- Short loading times
- Self-explanatory user guidance
- Smooth switching between website sections
- Informative blog
- Comprehensive product information
- Clear company information (About US, FAQ, Contact Us pages)
- Security and privacy compliances
- Memorable and likable brand identity to associate all of the above with
Source: B2B Community
Step 2: Keep the checkout process simple
Website polished to perfection, everything consistent with your sense of aesthetics, but customer engagement metrics still aren’t satisfactory?
It’s time to improve customer experience, starting with simplifying the checkout process. Maybe the checkout flow is too complicated and requires a lot of steps, the placement of a CTA button doesn’t engage users to finish the checkout, or your website still lacks clarity.
Ensure a self-explanatory screen that makes navigation enjoyable and leads the customer through the purchase funnel. Make purchasing from your website as straightforward as possible:
- allow Single Sign-On (SSO)
- make a 1-click purchase option
- lead your customers to purchase on your own
- try out quick purchasing
Still, communication with support agents and their guidance can be important for many people. Permanent accessibility and a fast response time are a must. So more and more companies are recognizing the advantages of an AI-supported chatbot.
It can process users’ inquiries precisely and conclusively around the clock, thus helping customers to deal with common issues blocking them from checking out.
Live chat may be helpful too, as it will be another channel for reaching your website users. If questions or doubts arise in their minds when adding a product to the virtual basket, they will be able to contact you with a request to clarify the offer right away.
The face-to-face approach of conversational marketing adds a touch of warmth and personal attention to the customer.
Step 3: Be active on social media
Social media is one of the main channels customers use to interact with your business outside your website. Here you will be able to measure all types of interactions they have with your brand: likes, comments, videos, annotations, direct messages, etc.
See what the internet looks like today: influencers, virality, video marketing, memes, trends, and more. It’s a world where people have almost unlimited choices, and entry barriers are lower than ever, making it increasingly difficult for businesses to convert new users and retain existing ones.
For businesses, stimulating strong customer engagement via social media means:
- Deepening the emotional connection the audience has with your brand and relying on up-to-date trends to increase interactions
- Encouraging customers to participate on our social media profiles actively
- Catching trends, taking ideas from competitors, betting on humor and customer curiosity
Step 4: Use email marketing
With emails, you can maintain contact with your customers and remind them about your business. Besides, it’s an affordable and effective way to engage with your users.
By tailoring your emails and their content to each individual recipient, you can target them and their interests.
Remind customers of pending purchases or new arrivals according to their requests. Use email newsletters to share exciting content or business updates.
Also, ask your customers for regular feedback. This makes them feel valued, and you can find out what they particularly like about your company and what they don’t. You should then analyze their responses and make improvements.
Email marketing implies testing all the techniques and using tools for streamlining the process. Modern email marketing software provides wide functionality and features that help to automate, analyze, and polish email marketing performance.
Also, email marketing solutions are well integrated with other business tools and channels. For example, if you’re using Mailchimp, you can configure Mailchimp to Google Sheets export to store customer data, build reports, and improve the results of your campaigns. Or connect it with lead generation tools, social media, and more.
Step 5: Make your customer loyalty program delightful
If you have read the article carefully up to this point, you have already guessed it: good usability alone isn’t enough for customer loyalty.
As you have seen, repeat customers account for most e-commerce sales. You can reward them for this and at the same time give them an incentive to buy something in your shop again.
Give customers a big discount on a popular product instead of the whole range or limit the price reduction in time – it encourages your customers to buy. This tactic is beneficial especially for those running a B2B dropshipping business, as offering discounts on high-demand items to their wholesale customers can be an effective strategy to encourage them to make larger orders and increase their overall sales volume.
Another possibility: offer a volume discount on goods that your customers can store for longer. Or link the price reduction to certain conditions and communicate this transparently, for example, “Every second pair of shoes is 50% off”.
Product samples and small gifts are also ideal means of customer engagement in online retail. Enclose them with the order because you will not incur any additional shipping costs.
Make it possible for people to have an individual product of their choice or inform them early on about upcoming discount campaigns.
Highlights: Benefits of E-commerce Customer Engagement
Everyone intuitively understands that an engaged customer is a boon for the brand.
In detail, the benefits of full-cycle consumer engagement include:
- A higher customer conversion rate and better retention of new customers
- A successful customer experience
- An increase of loyal customers – true brand ambassadors
- A strengthened brand image
We hope this article opens you a way to start your customer engagement activities in ecommerce.