Engaging your customers is the number one goal of every ecommerce store. To inspire that conversion, you want to make your visitors happy. In fact, user experience is fast becoming one of the most important brand differentiators.
And yet, many brands are still unsure how to engage their customers and grab their attention. They’re not sure what they can do not just to get customers to convert but to have them coming back. In a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to market a product, many are left to wonder what tactic will work best for their specific corner of the industry.
In this post, we’ll go through nine proven ways to boost customer engagement on your ecommerce website. However, before you start applying all of them on your own pages, remember that not every tactic works for every brand, so make sure you align our list of tips with your own customers’ preferences.
Personalize Your Offer
Personalization is probably the next big thing in marketing. Everyone who wants to grow a brand will have to embrace it.
Customers want to feel valued and like they are communicating with a brand that understands them and their needs well. They want to be more than a nameless shopper; they want the shopping experience to feel intimate and tailor-made.
Luckily, there are probably countless ways to personalize your ecommerce website to better engage your customers. Here are a few effective tactics:
- For starters, you can show different pages to returning visitors and those who have just landed on your website for the first time.
- You can also base your recommendations and personalization on the experiences of other, similar customers.
- Use widgets to apply the previous tactic effectively. The “People also bought” and “People also like” widgets can easily draw the attention of a customer to a product they may not have seen yet but would certainly like to check out.
Very, for example, uses widgets across all of their product pages. This helps them ensure customers get to see more of their offer from a single page, saves them time browsing, and ensures more items are added to that cart.
Make Sure to Cross-Sell
Cross-selling is another tactic you should be employing freely. Similar to the People have also bought tactic, it offers customers other products they may be interested in and that go well with the product they’re already considering adding to their cart.
The psychology of this tactic is simple. Customers can’t purchase products they don’t see, and by directing their gaze in the right direction, you’re able to inspire an additional sale.
You can also add discounts and other perks to your cross-selling efforts. For example, if a customer purchases certain products in pairs, like a pair of socks with their new trainers, you can give a 20% discount on the socks. These kinds of incentives are what usually gets shoppers to spend money on items they weren’t originally planning to purchase.
Alongside the “People who bought this also bought” widget, Book Depository also has another one that they use for cross-selling.
They’re boosting engagement by showcasing the bestselling titles from the category the visitor is already viewing. This helps them ensure at least a couple of clicks and wishlist additions, if not an actual purchase.
Ask for Reviews
Reviews are a fantastic way to engage your customers. And that’s mainly because they offer insight into a product that you, as the seller, could never provide.
Customer reviews, after all, come from people who are just like the current shopper reading them. They probably want to solve the same problems, and they share the same tastes and interests. But most importantly, they already own the product.
They also don’t have an agenda to push, which makes them more trustworthy. Potential customers are more likely to believe them over any sales copy you could ever come up with. And when you think about it, you also probably check out the reviews on Amazon before purchasing a product.
Fantasy Jocks has a review section that accompanies all of their products, and some of them are home to some great banter and story swapping. Certainly, hearing from a fellow fantasy football enthusiast makes conversion much more likely. And that’s why these simple review plugins are such a great tool for boosting customer engagement.
Offer Guest and Express Checkout
Ideally, all of your customers will register an account with you and always browse the website logged in. That way, you can gather as much information about them as possible. But in reality, not all of them will want to do that. In fact, the majority of your customers won’t want to register at all.
Registering an account with an ecommerce store makes sense if you plan on making repeat purchases. It also makes sense if you want to save a wishlist or have a list of favorite products. Other than that, it’s mostly seen as an unnecessary hassle. Even if it’s not a one-off purchase, sometimes people just can’t be bothered with the registration process. Understandably, they just want to check out as quickly as possible.
This is why guest checkout can help engage your customers. Forcing registration can be the cause of a lot of abandoned carts, so to prevent that, simply allow guest checkout. In fact, you want to allow it even to registered users. Accept the perceived lack of customer data you’ll be able to gather, as it’s worth the engagement boost.
Mannequin Mall, for example, offers guest express checkout on top of the account creation and log-in they also offer on their pages.
That way, they’ve ensured that customers who have a longstanding relationship with the store are able to quickly reorder a product and keep track of their purchases, and new customers have a positive experience too.
Have an Abandoned Cart Strategy
Despite your best efforts, a number of visitors will abandon their carts. That’s just part of ecommerce life, but it doesn’t mean you should accept this fact and do nothing about it. There are plenty of improvements you can make to avoid cart abandonment.
For starters, you can speed up your website and ensure the checkout process is flawless. You don’t want carts to take ages to load. You also want to offer plenty of payment options and accommodate a wide range of shoppers.
You should also focus on reducing your shopping costs, as this is often the biggest cause of cart abandonment. You may want to set up a certain free shipping threshold (which is another great way to boost sales and average order values) so that you’ll still make it worth your while.
Finally, make sure that checkout requires as few clicks as possible. If there are pages upon pages to load and boxes after boxes to fill, chances are a large percentage of customers will simply give up. Refrain from gathering too much information about your customers at this point. Better save it for later, and reduce checkout times as much as possible.
Provide Stellar Support
To engage your customers, you also need to be able to provide some amazing customer support. And we’re not just talking about hiring the best and most helpful customer service agents.
By creating an FAQ section on your website, you will provide a space for customers to get their questions answered without having to contact you at all. This can save both them and you a lot of time and ensure a conversion without any input on your part.
You can compile a list of questions from various sources, such as:
- your customer service team
- your marketing and sales team
- your own ideas on the questions most likely to be asked
- by doing a Google search
Writing helpful blog posts can also help customers understand how best to use your products. These posts may point out tips that the customer has not thought about but that are great conversion catalysts. Keep in mind that you want to make sure that visitors can easily find these blog posts from product pages.
However, if contact is required, your best bet is to install a chat application that will be readily available across the website. Real Thread has done just that, and they’ve also personalized it completely, ensuring that the brand’s voice runs through the entire website.
This kind of approach boosts the customer experience and brand authenticity.
Offer a Loyalty Program
To further engage your customers, you can consider offering them a loyalty program. Everyone appreciates perks and discounts, and tying them to certain loyalty achievements will make customers feel more valued and appreciated.
For example, you can:
- Offer a discount after someone has made their n-th purchase.
- Offer discounts when someone reorders a certain product for the n-th time.
- Send personalized discount codes to registered customers every year.
- Also reward other behaviors such as leaving reviews on your website, sharing your posts or your marketing efforts on social media, and so on.
Some huge brands offer loyalty programs in the form of points. For example, Sephora’s VIB sale is a very important event in the beauty community.
Now, it’s entirely up to you to tailor yours as you see fit. Don’t forget that you need to stay in the green, so don’t offer discounts that are not worth the effort.
Allow for Wishlists
We’ve discussed the cons of asking users to register and allowing for guest checkout. But there is one very appealing perk you can offer your registered users: the option to create their own wishlists.
They are a great way for customers to create their own custom lists of products, add comments and their own thoughts, sign up for wishlist product discount alerts, and so on.
You can also send customers other notifications, such as:
- back in stock
- going out of stock
- a similar item has just popped up in the store, and so on.
Book Depository, which we’ve already mentioned as an example, has a decent wishlist. However, its main allure comes in the form of special wishlist discount codes that the brand often runs. Users are alerted by email that they can get 10% off their wishlist books, and they often make lists of the most wished-for books from the website. These lists help boost engagement, as most email recipients rush over to see what others are wishing for.
Master Email Automation
Email marketing is an amazing tool for engaging your customers. It provides a direct connection between the two of you, and it allows you to further engage your customers through personalization.
Most people check their email several times a day. And while they’re not likely to check out those brand emails every time, they may save them for later if they like the subject line and the potential information that is hidden inside. This is an engagement option you should never miss out on.
Email marketing is also the fastest and simplest way to promote anything. You already have access to a list of interested parties; all you have to do is send out your blast. This can boost your traffic intelligently, for example, when you’ve restocked certain items or added new ones to your store.
Capturing leads is thus incredibly important, and you need to provide plenty of touchpoints for newsletter signup. Ideally, you want to have a little conversion box on every page, discreet but present. Ask for signups in your blog posts, even on your product pages.
All that’s left to do then is to segment your list well. You don’t want every customer to get the same email, and you’ll need clever email copy for all the different instances. Speaking the language of your customers and tailoring your offers to their personal interests is key. True, it may take longer, but it will help you engage your customers far more effectively.
Automate your emails with the use of an automation tool that will be triggered by different actions, including:
- Abandoned carts
- Special dates, etc.
Use your website as the main lead collection hub. Lastly, make sure to A/B test different email variations and tactics until you settle on a strategy that reaps the most conversions.
Engaging your customers is one of the main goals of any ecommerce website. And while there are dozens of ways to achieve it, your best course of action is to start small, perfect each tactic in turn, and then move on to the next one. Trying to master several engagement touchpoints all at the same time may end up costing you more time and effort than it’s worth.