4 Ways To Increase Engagement On Your eCommerce Site
“I want to increase engagement from my customers.” – said every eCommerce company ever.
Everyone selling stuff online is looking for ways to grab attention, create connections, and utilize any means necessary to get the clicks that lead to sales.
But not everyone is paying attention to what’s happening in the industry and how customer behavior is shifting.
The truth is, eCommerce is at a turning point. As we recover from the pandemic in more ways than one, the way people shop online and the things they look for from online stores have changed significantly.
We’re talking about artificial intelligence, ultra-personalization, and confronting customers in a way we’ve never seen before.
Luckily for you, we’ve been watching this all go down, and we’re ready to share some killer on-trend strategies to draw attention to your eCommerce site.
Let’s get started.
What’s hot in eCommerce right now?
As you probably know (and, like us, have far too many existential thoughts about), the pandemic sent disturbingly mixed signals to eCommerce.
COVID pumped the breaks on the economy while accelerating online activity. Millions of people sat in their homes with constant access to the internet and increased uncertainty about their finances.
This led to lots of weird things for consumers. For example, TikTok trends and the words “unprecedented times” used to the point of not making sense anymore.
For online stores, COVID created a paralytic problem – more engagement opportunities, fewer sales opportunities.
Thankfully, we’ve reached a turning point.
As the population and the economy recover, eCommerce has emerged with a far greater proportion of global retail compared to 2019.
So, what’s changed?
Augmented Reality (AR) is changing the game
We all know someone who refuses to shop online because they “want to see things in person”. Actually, over a third of people choose not to increase their online shopping because they can’t try products virtually.
AR tackles that objection. Actually, it destroys that objection, and experts are predicting that it’s going to help brands increase engagement dramatically.
Augmented Reality is squashing one of the few advantages that brick-and-mortar stores have over online experiences.
The companies investing in AR are going beyond high-resolution product images, and actually giving customers the opportunity to see how products look ‘on’.
Take a look at Australian sunglasses retailer, Quay.
They’re increasing engagement from customers by allowing them to effortlessly try on their glasses online. Using cutting-edge, seamless technology from Ditto, Quay’s customers can experiment with new styles with ease.
All they have to do is activate their laptop or smartphone camera – it’s easy, and far less awkward than checking yourself out in-store!
It’s also super fun – “let’s see how silly these huge glasses look on my face” – so it’s bound to skyrocket user engagement!
AI makes shopping experiences feel tailor-made
As scary as it might feel sometimes, we need to acknowledge that the growing prevalence of AI is a huge opportunity for eCommerce stores.
Now, we all know that customers crave personalized experiences. In the sea of numbers on order reports, they want to feel special. In many cases, the difference between you and your competitors isn’t your price point, but whether or not you know your customer’s name and show them products they like.
Leveraging AI allows online stores to provide immediate assistance to every customer. An algorithm in your website can effortlessly sort through data, crunch numbers, and interpret customer behaviors to show them what they want to see.
What about their privacy? We hear you say. Well, listen to this – your customers don’t mind you using their data, so long as you use it in a way that’s meaningful to them.
90% of shoppers are a-okay with giving out personal information if it means their experience is more convenient – and 75.5% of businesses are getting positive ROI from personalization.
That’s right. It turns out that leveraging AI to learn about your customer is just fine. So long as it makes them feel special when they’re spending money with you. Also, your business will be all the more successful for it.
Access to multiple payment methods is a must
As online purchases skyrocket, customers have become spoiled with an abundance of choice. One minor inconvenience is enough to justify clicking elsewhere – even at the checkout. eCommerce brands have pulled out all the stops to make the checkout process as seamless, personalized, and convenient as possible.
The data shows that offering more payment options increases conversion rates – and, even if your customer isn’t fussy about payment options, seeing that you offer them builds their trust in your brand.
If your site doesn’t offer the plethora of convenient payment options available nowadays, from ApplePay to Paypal, your engagement and conversions will take a hit.
Sustainability is front-of-mind
Eco-consciousness has been a growing trend for a while now. But, today, it’s impossible to ignore.
Eco brands and slow fashion are on the rise as customers vote with their dollars for businesses that do their bit to look after Mother Earth.
We’re not saying companies should rewrite their brand story, swap corporate for crystals, and say “vibe” all the time.
Regardless of who you are and what you sell, making an effort to minimize plastic and offer recyclable packaging will help increase your engagement rate while shrinking that carbon footprint.
So, that’s what’s going on in eCommerce right now. With these trends in mind, we’ll show you some relevant strategies to increase engagement on your website.
4 killer strategies to increase engagement (+ examples)
1. Create an interactive store assistant
Online shopping used to be a lonesome experience. Sure, some people are into that, but the lack of interaction and indulgence was a deterrent to those who love the helpful and immersive experience of a brick-and-mortar store and its staff.
With chatbots, quizzes, and pop-ups, savvy eCommerce brands are turning their website into a fun and engaging storefront.
If you bought new sweats during a lockdown, you’ll know that online stores are much more interactive than they used to be.
Unsure what size to get? Don’t abandon your cart and wait ‘til you’re near a store and have time to try items on. The ASOS virtual assistant will walk you through detailed questions to help you find your perfect size.
Using the ASOS virtual assistant is deeply satisfying. Even if you weren’t planning to make a purchase. The level of personalization – and, let’s face it, indulgence – on offer is enough to keep users clicking.
But you don’t need an ASOS-sized budget to increase engagement with a virtual store assistant.
With the help of a team of eCommerce-savvy developers, you can integrate a simple but effective chatbot to increase engagement.
Tips for an effective chatbot:
|Use a human face and characteristics||Adding human elements to your chatbot makes interactions with your customers far more personal. Give them a name, a face, and even some personal features like expressions, jokes, and emojis (without being too annoying!)|
|Use push notifications||Enable pop-ups with useful messages, like “Hey! Our laptop cases are on special right now, want me to take you there?”. Include a pop-up sound so people with lots of tabs open will look for your chatbot.|
Your chatbot can help you:
- Answer customer questions immediately
- Point customers to the right product
- Offer discounts, cross-selling, and upselling opportunities
- Make customers feel valued and supported
- Outclass your competitors
- Showcase your brand personality
67% of millennials say they’re likely to purchase from brands using a chatbot – so if you’ve got a younger audience, this is a huge opportunity!
2. Showcase risk-reducers
There are 24 million eCommerce sites in existence. Yep, just let that sink in.
It doesn’t matter how confident you are about your niche or the quality of your product. If your online experience is just a little too inconvenient for a customer, they’ll click away. Let’s face it, they’ll find the same or a similar product elsewhere with free shipping.
To prevent those dreaded bounce rates right off the bat, you can provide your customers with the peace of mind that you won’t waste their time at the checkout.
These elements are called ‘risk reducers’. They’re bold, valuable messages that immediately tackle objections or provide reassurance to customers who might have doubts.
They could be textual messages or simply logos displaying the forms of payment you accept or the forms of accreditation your product has received from authority groups.
The most common, industry-wide risk reducers are things like:
- Free shipping
- Payment options available
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Next-day delivery available
- Transaction security
- Recyclable packaging
But, others are more specific to your product, service, and customer goals. These are things like:
|Risk Reducer||Industry Relevance|
|Dermatologist approved||Skincare customers are looking for authority and safety in their products. Appeals to authority like this are crucial for many other industries, too.|
|100% cotton, linen, hemp||Clothing brands should highlight their materials (if they’re on-trend) right off the bat to immediately entice customers who are looking for clean, green, and hypo-allergenic products.|
|Number 1 bestseller on Amazon||For booksellers, this is an immediate way to draw in customers who want to feel confident about purchasing a book they don’t know much about (especially if it’s a gift)|
Example of risk-reducers in action – Your Super
Health-food company Your Super really nails this strategy with their home and product pages. Visitors will immediately see that the site offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, free shipping over $75, and 7 days/week customer support.
These bold and on-brand messages immediately tackle objections and concerns such as:
- Uncertainty about product effectiveness and quality
- Unwillingness to spend too much on the product + shipping
- Lack of understanding of which product is best for them
Rather than clicking away at the first inconvenience, visitors will be encouraged to continue with their shopping experience and keep engaging with the company.
How to create effective risk-reducers to increase engagement on your website
|Collaborate with your sales team||Your sales team will have an in-depth understanding of what objections your customers have that could be immediately tackled with a bold, refined message on your website|
|Consider the placement of your messages||You might opt for placing your risk-reducer messages on the Home page – but what about your product pages, too? When shopping on mobile, visitors are often sent straight to the product page.|
|Ask your customers!||Who knew you could simply ask your customers what they’re looking for. Create a simple form on your website or your socials asking customers what they look for in the product you sell, and what factors immediately turn them away. Make sure you throw in a discount code to encourage participation!|
3. Highlight user-generated content
“Social proof is crucial!’ says the marketing guru on LinkedIn. Wow, thanks, how revolutionary.
The real question for eCommerce is, how can you make testimonials cooler while at the same time hyping up your engagement?
We’ve got the answer – user-generated content.
User-generated content maximizes your marketing efforts while simultaneously giving your team a break – once it’s up and running, they won’t have to do a thing!
This strategy is a winner for increasing engagement. Think about it – your customers love to be recognized by your company, to feel valued and part of a community, and to get some likes and follows on their socials!
When a customer sees other people celebrated on your site, they’ll feel much more compelled to buy your products and showcase how they use them.
If you’re intentional and meaningful with your campaigns, you create a community where customers share stories and connect with other raving fans of your brand!
Inspo 1 – Blunt Umbrellas
Blunt is a NZ-based umbrella brand taking the market by storm – yikes, pardon the pun.
They’ve developed a neat aesthetic on their Instagram feed, a combination of product promos, professional photography, and user-generated content showing their umbrellas out in the wild.
The feed is effortlessly displayed on their website, a cool photo reel reminiscent of Tumblr. Those who are aesthetically inclined will not only be inspired by the real-life images, but they’ll want to contribute their own, too.
Inspo 2 – Burt’s Bees
Burt’s Bees does a great job of this, too. Their user-generated content is cute, personal, and relatable. Look, they also use risk-reducers!
In this fun little reel, customers immediately get a feel of the community they can be a part of. All the smiling faces of happy customers build trust – and, like the gurus on LinkedIn will remind you – 92% of customers trust recommendations from others.
How to do user-generated content successfully
- Work with a savvy web design agency
Developers will help you integrate your social media feed into your website in a way that entices your audience without dominating your sales messages.
They should also help you come up with an authentic social media campaign that reflects your brand identity and the way your customers use their social media.
- Ask permission before posting!
Even though a customer has used your hashtag, it’s still good manners to make sure they’re cool with their photo and handle being shared with thousands of strangers. Slide-in their DM’s or make a polite comment on their photo to show that you’re interested.
- Credit and reward the customer
Again, this comes down to manners. If you’re using someone else’s content to leverage your product, they’re gonna need some recognition. Make sure you tag them in the photo you’re reposting and offer them something in return. This could be a discount code or a free product.
Send clever cart-abandonment emails
Fun and fluffiness aside, sometimes your customers just… ditch you. Like, fill their cart with products, fill in their shipping and contact details, then bail right at the last moment.
In real life, abandoning your shopping cart at the checkout is a damnable offense, and if you saw a friend do it you’d seriously question their morality. On the internet, we all do it.
If you’re keeping an eye on engagement metrics, you might find that your cart abandonment rate is disturbingly high. So, what are you doing to do about it?
You could dedicate effort, resources, and time to improving your site, your copy, and your product offerings and hoping that you’ve read your customer’s minds and fixed the exact thing that made them leave.
But, that’s quite passive and very expensive, and probably won’t change anything. What if you were a little more confrontational?
You’re not gonna believe this, but over half of all serial cart abandoners will make the purchase when asked.
This is where cart abandonment emails are such a clever way to increase engagement and sales. Your customer filled in their contact details before ditching, so why pass up on an opportunity to win them back?
Remember – abandoned cart emails shouldn’t be aggressive. Unless your brand is on the edgier side and your customers respond well to that kind of thing, these emails should be gently persuasive and ever-so-courteous.
Let’s take a look at a few companies that are nailing it with their cart abandonment emails.
Example #1 – Dyson
The vacuum world-leader has a perfectly polite, helpful, and persuasive cart abandonment email. Sure, they directly call out that you’ve left something in your cart, but they patiently advise you that it’s still there waiting for you to change your mind.
For good measure, they remind you of the excellent reasons to shop at Dyson (there are those risk-reducers, again!).
Example #2 – Ugmonk
This one is just so good. Ugmonk’s brand is centered on creating a bespoke feel as if your product has been expertly handcrafted just for you.
And their cart abandonment email utilizes the same energy – with a powerful impact.
The email is simple and formal and crafted as though the owner himself is personally reaching out to help you with your order and ask what is wrong. It’s a tactic that is personal, persuasive, and painfully direct – all at the same time.
Without guilt-tripping, the email creates a sense of personal connection and responsibility, where the customer inevitably feels called out and obligated to follow through with their purchase to support the owner.
Alright, that’s enough gawking at other brands.
How to increase engagement with cart abandonment emails
Let’s go back to basics. Make sure you include the following elements authentically:
- Attention-grabbing subject line – “You forgot something” is a great one-liner
- Time it right – a couple of hours post-abandon is good
- Personalization – include your customer’s name and an image of their cart
- CTA – a button that sends them straight back to where they went wrong
- Writing – the email itself has to be persuasive and refined
Conclusion: we help eCommerce brands increase engagement with their website.
Maximizing engagement from your customers can feel like you’re chasing a moving target. That’s because trends are constantly changing and your customer’s behavior is always evolving.
To stay on the pulse of industry trends and ahead of your competition, you need support from a team of technologists.
We know what’s going on in your industry and we have the web development tools to harness trends and make an impact with your customers. To take your website to the next level and increase engagement, reach out to our team.