It is known by many names, and has several variants. Some like to call it conversation marketing, others have fancier terms for it. But at the heart of it, it is all about customer engagement.
Engagement is a term that I have often heard in the context of foreign policy. So is your customer like an alien foreign nation? Though there might be some parallels one could draw, let us get right basic question:
What Is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is an activity or a set of activities that cause the customer to interact with a brand.
I have deliberately created a limited definition above, to highlight the most important aspect of customer engagement.
Methods to Increase Customer Engagement on Ecommerce Websites
- Social Ecommerce
Incorporating elements of popular social media destinations on your website can skyrocket the customer engagement on your website. Social media is all about connecting and sharing. Pick up elements of this consumer behavior and incorporate it into your ecommerce website.
- Set Up a Blog
On an ecommerce website that is otherwise full of product descriptions and images designed to hard sell, a blog can be a refreshing addition. Of course, an ecommerce blog is not an elixir for ecommerce success. A neglected blog, or one that sounds like sales copy, will have a negative impact on customer engagement.
- Enable Customers to Contribute
An unequivocal learning from social media is that customers have a voice, and they want to be heard. Customer contribution on your website could be of many different forms:
- comments on the blog
- product reviews
Permitting your customers to visit AnEcommerceWebsite.com and convert it to MyEcommerceWebsite.com is what customer empowerment is all about. Such personalization takes place in two modes:
- Customer Initiated Personalization
In this kind, the customer accesses some kind of a preferences page, and chooses settings that control the way the ecommerce website appears to that customer. The proportion of customers who would bother to significantly adjust the default settings on your website will be quite low. However, these might be your best customers as they bothered to invest time in adapting your website to their preferences.
- Automated Personalization
Based on the customer's clickstream, purchase history, or behavior, you could modify the way your website appears and interacts with that specific customer. If you read the customer right, automated personalization techniques can be quite powerful.
If you have ever visited Amazon.com, you would have noticed their "More Items to Consider" and "Related to Items You've Viewed" widgets that suggest products based on your recent navigation. This is an example of automated personalization. Such widgets give customers the impression that you are working hard to help them out. And most customers appreciate that.
- Customer Initiated Personalization
- Offer Customers Multiple Channels of Communication
If you are able to manage them effectively, multiple channels of communication increase customer engagement and satisfaction. Some of these channels could be:
- live chat
- Facebook page
- Twitter account
- Pinterest account
- Provide Software Utilities That Empower Customers
We live in an era of smartphones that can be adapted to perform a wide range of functions by installing relevant apps. In the same vein, if you are able to provide functionality that goes beyond just the basic search and navigation, you could truly empower customers to make informed and convenient purchase decisions.
Examples of such software utilities could be:
We exist in an era where we need to run fast to remain in the same spot. The ecommerce race has started appearing a little like a treadmill. An excellent illustration of this is the expectation of customer engagement. What was once a nice addition to an ecommerce website has become a requirement.