Up until recently, the in-store shopping experience was at the epicentre of the retail market’s focus. But with consumers increasingly migrating online, the new goal of retail brands is to create an equally immersive shopping experience on a virtual scale. The ultimate goal? To increase customer engagement.
Over 70% of retailers are trying to personalise the online shopping experience. In fact, 75% of consumers respond to personalised offers, recommendations or experiences. With customer data and AI technologies on the ready, businesses have endless opportunities to cater to shoppers’ needs and desires.
Marching into 2019, it’s vital for online brands to view themselves less as eCommerce platforms and more as personal online shopping assistants. Here are 3 simple ways with which online brands can increase customer engagement:
1. Value the top 20% of your customers
Not all online brands are retail giants. But limited budget does not have to mean limited customer experience. Efficiently increase customer engagement by focusing your efforts on the right customers. The top 20% of your customers are typically the ones that generate 80% of your profits. These customers are extremely important. So use each point in the user journey to show them that you value them (or risk losing them to a brand that does this better.)
- Display personalised product recommendations based on shared preferences, past purchases, browsing history and product availability.
- Send personalised trigger emails with offers and relevant product content. This can be anything from products the customer has left behind in their cart, to products based on browsing history.
2. Don’t shy away from using influencers, but do so wisely
Social media is deeply embedded in every modern day shopper. Passing up on the opportunity to make a mark in this space is not an option.
Through years of development, advertising-driven business models now power communication networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Leading online brands around the world are taking advantage of these added features to strengthen their relationships with consumers. Because of that, influencer marketing has, too, become a considerable force to be reckoned with.
Big-star names are probably what people associate this kind of advertising with. Earlier in the year, however, Launchmetrics revealed that 46% of brands prefer to use micro-influencers. So, it’s becoming increasingly blatant that marketers no longer value influencers by the size of their following. Instead, influencers are now classified by the strength of the relationship they have with their audience and their ability to get that audience to act.
While influencer-marketing strategies involve careful planning, if done right, businesses have much to gain by hopping on the influencer bandwagon.
- Display content from influencers on your store’s website to inspire shoppers.
- Incorporate a ‘shop the look’ style offering onsite. Display the products worn by influences to encourage your customers to browse further.
3. Use user-generated content as social proof and let your products speak for themselves
The granular level in which businesses can now define their target audience allows for personalisation on a whole new level. Combine this with your customer data and quality content, and you are set to create an army of brand evangelists.
User-generated content can help increase customer engagement by both establishing social proof for brands, and underlining a more authentic brand image. After all, referrals are more likely to inform customers’ choices positively than you tooting your own horn. This strategy has gained significant momentum over the past year. Thereby, it comes as no surprise that several brands have seen success by integrating user-generated content on their websites.
- Launch a marketing campaign around user-generated content to start building brand loyalty. Drunk Elephant built a successful campaign around #barewithus that’s taken the internet by storm. The campaign now features lifestyle and well-being influencers and your wellbeing-conscious next door neighbour alike.
- Utilise your customer base: gather content that resonates with your audience and show your products in use in real-life.
How you can take online personalisation a step further
Leveraging techniques like influencers, user-generated content and onside product recommendation can turn brands into the ultimate virtual online stores. The magic, however, behind delivering entirely tailored shopping experiences is to analyse how these customers interact with your brand across multiple channels – including social and email – and tailor content and products beyond their onsite journey.