Customer engagement key to long-term retail success
Author: Maria Alejandra Lopez
Source: Retail Customer Experience
Customers tend to stick with brands that make their experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible. The goal of any successful business is to not only attract customers, but to retain them and encourage them to return and continue making purchases.
So how can you do it? The key to customer engagement is to not just provide products and services to people, but to also provide them with content that will keep them connected with your brand. Continue reading to discover what customer engagement is, why it’s important, and what you can do now to improve your plan.
What is customer engagement?
Depending on where you look or who you ask, definitions of customer engagement may vary, but the concept is not actually as complicated as it seems. Customer engagement includes all the messaging and resources it takes to maintain ongoing relevant and valuable communication with customers. Your level of engagement represents satisfaction and loyalty customers feel about your brand; in a Forrester survey, 72% of consumers agreed that they are likely to shop more frequently with retailers that send them relevant communications.
The impact of your customer engagement is not a concrete metric to track; while you likely measure engagement rates of emails, social media, and other content, measuring whether your overall strategy is resonating with your audience is totally different. Collecting feedback is an important qualitative measurement of your customer engagement and experiences with your brand, but there are two quantitative methods for calculating the value of customers: lifetime value (LTV), the projected revenue a customer will generate for you during their lifetime, and average order value (AOV), the average dollar amount spent each time a customer makes a purchase.
It’s easier to focus on trying to get people to make a purchase, but altering your viewpoint to providing value to customers to improve their experience and encourage them to return will result in more long-term revenue. It’s been proven that increasing retention rates by five percent can increase profits by anywhere between 25 and 95 percent.
Steps for an effective customer engagement strategy
1. Set goals and develop your strategy. What are your ultimate customer engagement goals? You likely want to increase email open rates and clicks, marketing engagements, and customer retention rates; consider what it takes to get there. The best way to draw customers in and keep them is relevant communication across channels and throughout their experience. Determine which places people come into contact with your brand and deliver consistency across all those touchpoints.
2. Use the right tool. It may seem complicated to execute a successful cross-channel marketing strategy, but finding the tool or tools to support it will significantly simplify the process. Depending on your specific needs, an integrated solution with customer relationship management, the tool used to manage interactions with customers and prospects; email; customer feedback aggregation; marketing automation; social media; and reporting features will help you better understand your customers and give them the most relevant content to keep them engaged. There are also solutions that combine all the systems needed into one interface, making connecting the dots between customer touch points and behavior much easier.
3. Measure results. You can only offer personalized experiences to customers if you have the information you need to understand who they are and what they are interested in. Regularly gather data on campaign performance and customer demographics and behavior, such as marketing engagement and previous transactions. This data enables marketers to create predictive models and re-engagement campaigns to directly target customers who abandon their cart, or for upselling, cross-selling, or replenishment. For instance, by tracking a customer’s repeated purchase of the same product, predictive analytics can tell when that customer might be ready to purchase again, allowing you to target them with a replenishment campaign.
Customer engagement doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right strategy and tools in place, you will offer personalized content and experiences that wow your ideal customers and get them to love your brand. Remember: keeping customers as the focal point of your strategy benefits you in the long run.