Featured image by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

In this post, we look at six practical ways you can increase customer engagement in your ecommerce business, both now and well into the future.

Don’t Lose out on Customers and Revenue in Your Ecommerce Business

Ecommerce is booming. While many brick-and-mortar businesses have taken substantial hits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales have soared as more people have turned to the internet.

For online retailers, however, there are two sides to this trend. While the overall rise in web sales is indisputably a good thing, competition has also become fiercer. Many big-name brands have refocused resources into growing their online presence. And new sites are popping up on a daily basis.

RELATED ARTICLE: WHY PEOPLE ARE STAYING AWAY FROM STOREFRONT BUSINESSES

In the hyper-competitive world of online retail, increasing engagement is key. Ecommerce sellers that fail to engage new and existing customers consistently are needlessly losing out on sales and revenue.

In this post, we’re going to look at six practical ways that you can increase customer engagement, both now and well into the future.

1.  Personalize Special Offers and Promotions to Increase Engagement

In one study, marketers reported an average 20 percent uptick in sales after personalizing their company’s web experience. And around three-quarters of customers said they experienced frustration when a website wasn’t personalized.

Personalization is one of the most effective strategies for driving increased engagement in your ecommerce store. By tracking behavior, interests, previous purchases, saved items, and so on, and adjusting advertising materials accordingly, you’re increasing the likelihood that customers will make a purchase.

Prime spots for personalization include “suggested product” sections of pages, marketing emails, upsells and cross-sells during checkout, and your site’s homepage.

2.  Send eCards to Customers to Mark Special Events

Small gestures can make a big difference when it comes to increasing engagement. Reaching out to existing customers with electronic greeting cards on meaningful dates like birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, and significant life events like graduation can create positive and lasting impressions. You can even suggest relevant products and offer one-off, personalized promotions.

For public holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and so on, sending mass greeting cards is a relatively straightforward task. In order to send personalized ecards, however, you’ll need to collect customer information like birth dates. So be sure to request this information during the customer sign-up process.

3.  Offer Free Next-Day Delivery for Increased Engagement

Customers love free, fast delivery. Numerous studies support this point. Next-day or even same-day delivery provides the kind of instant gratification that’s difficult to replicate with a digital experience. And when faced with two stores selling the same product, browsers will often opt for the one with the best delivery options.

It’s often worth letting overall profits take a small hit in the short term to provide free or expedited delivery. Your customer base will likely expand, and your value proposition will become more appealing to your current customers. Keep in mind that 90 percent of retailers now offer a next-day delivery option, so you’re putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage if you don’t also have one.

4.  Increase Engagement by Keeping Your Customers in the Loop About Purchases

Post-purchase emails have repeatedly demonstrated positive effects on engagement, loyalty, and customer lifetime value. These emails let customers know what is happening with their items after they’ve completed the checkout process. It’s common for retailers to notify shoppers when a purchase has been processed, dispatched, and delivered.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO START A DROPSHIPPING BUSINESS IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS

The key with emails like these is not to overdo it. While customers want to be kept in the loop, they generally dislike being bombarded with an excess of information. Provide a tracking link for recipients that want more detailed, regular updates about the location of their packages.

5.  Run A/B and Multivariate Tests

A/B and multivariate testing are among the most powerful tools in your ecommerce arsenal. By trying different variations of your site’s design and content, you’ll identify changes that drive increased engagement. Session length, session frequency, and overall customer retention rate are all useful measures of engagement,

Most retailers, however, make a big mistake when it comes to testing. They’ll trial two or three big changes, even entire designs, and roll out the top performers across their whole site. Often, this kind of testing is done for specific, time-limited periods, with very little activity in between.

In almost all cases, this is a mistake. Testing should be an ongoing process. What’s more, there’s no need to implement significant changes in one go. Instead, continuously test small elements of your site’s design and page templates, making incremental improvements over the long term. In time, all these changes will add up.

6.  Gather Qualitative Data from Customers

Many online retailers rely exclusively on quantitative numerical data to boost customer engagement levels. And while there isn’t anything wrong with hard data, it doesn’t provide a complete picture. You might notice that a particular page’s bounce rate is particularly bad, for example. But that information alone doesn’t give you any insights into browsers’ motivations.

Qualitative data is information that’s given directly by customers in the form of testimonials, online surveys, one-on-one questions, and so on. It is good practice to build mechanisms into the customer journey that allow you to collect this kind of data.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO START AN ECOMMERCE BUSINESS

Use These Tips to Increase Engagement in Your Ecommerce Business

The ecommerce space is filled with opportunities. Savvy retailers understand the importance of fostering long-term relationships with their customers and converting new visitors into repeat buyers,

Use the tips in this article to build a robust, testable strategy for driving engagement. And don’t forget to test!