How to Improve Customer Engagement and Foster Lasting Loyalty

Customer engagement and loyalty
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These days, the term "customer engagement" is used frequently. This word is popular in the world of e-commerce and in business. But it can be difficult to come up with a single definition of it. Engagement does not occur when a marketing message is delivered in a one-way fashion from the brand to the customer. It’s no longer a one-way street. Customer social media practices such as “liking”, “sharing” or “commenting” doesn’t actually mean “engagement”. But what’s true, customer engagement is a key component of running a successful Shopify business. Engaging and building relationships with your customers should be your top priority. When done right, customer engagement marketing can help you build customer trust and loyalty. When you consistently engage your clients on a variety of channels you show your human side and provide value beyond just transactional relationships. Nevertheless, many new companies tend to focus more on customer acquisition and it’s one of the reasons for failure in e-commerce. That’s why you should take a client-centric approach. You should engage better with your customers and reward your most loyal ones.

"The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing."

John Russell

By keeping your customers engaged throughout their journey you can better understand them. You will know who they are, what they need from you, and how to make them loyal.

In this article, we’ll show you how to boost customer engagement and loyalty.

So, here’s a sneak peek into what we will be discussing in this post:

  • What is Customer Engagement (CE)? What is the Correlation between Customer Engagement and Loyalty?
  • How to Increase Customer Engagement and Loyalty?

What is Customer Engagement (CE)? What is the Correlation between Customer Engagement and Loyalty?

Any successful firm depends on its loyal clients. Why? It costs less to engage existing customers than to acquire new ones. Engaged customers are loyal customers. But what do we mean by customer engagement? What is the correlation between customer engagement and loyalty? Let’s dive in.

ustomer engagement. You might be surprised to know that this marketing concept is relatively new. It is only a couple of decades old. The widespread use of the Internet in the late 1990s marked the mainstreaming of customer engagement. There is currently no agreement on how CE should be defined despite numerous definitions being offered. What they all have in common, though, is CE can be thought of as a continuous, two-way interaction between a brand and its customers with the primary objective of strengthening the company’s relationship with them. The first interaction starts this process and it continues after the sale is over. You can engage your customers through social media accounts, email, Shopify forums and communities, your company blog, or any other space where they’re communicating or consuming content. However, engagement doesn’t stop there and goes beyond attracting customers. It’s a long continuous process. So, you should be always working on maintaining and improving customer relationships to build a loyal, engaged customer base. You should also consider integrating effective phone systems for direct and personalized communication. As we’ve told you before, building strong customer relationships will help you better understand their needs and how to meet their expectations. Their active feedback will help you deliver a better customer experience. The journey you provide is a game changer. It is said that 87% of customers who had a wonderful experience will return to make another purchase compared to 18% of customers who had a negative experience.

A successful approach to customer retention includes a genuine connection with your clients, their trust, and satisfaction. How customers feel your company treats them, is the foundation of customer engagement. Their activities are impacted by these perceptions, which also create memories and emotions that motivate their loyalty.

How to Boost Customer Engagement and Loyalty?

1. Engage Customers Through Social Media Sites like Instagram

In today’s digital world, traditional advertising techniques aren’t as popular as they once were. Engaging with your customers or “soon-to-be” customers on social media platforms is the simplest way to increase engagement and foster loyalty. By communicating with customers online, resolving any problems they may have, and responding to any concerns, you may also lay the groundwork for excellent customer service. Every direct message, comment, and reply you get requires your full attention. The faster you react, the better because the speed of communication is what matters on social media. You should keep your direct messages open. Try to reply to every direct message as promptly as possible. Even short answers in the comment section can do miracles. They can calm your customers and strengthen your relationship with them. You make them feel appreciated and loved. You can turn them into lifelong customers. Social media attracts billions of people every day and some of them are rude. It’s important to know how to deal with negative comments on social media. Respond to them quickly. Be apologetic. Discuss the problem privately. Ask them how you can help. When reacting to negative comments, be composed and keep in mind that many people are reading them. If your company isn’t active on Instagram, you are passing up a ton of chances to engage with your clients. It’s better to keep your posts short, engaging, and to the point when writing them for any type of social media. Make sure that you are writing posts that users want to read and share. Calling customers by their names will help you build strong bonds with them. Take a look at how some of the most well-known companies, like Lexus keep their Instagram posts short and catchy. What’s more, they refer to their customers by their names.  

Source:

What is the ideal length for an Instagram post? Marketing experts from Sprout Social and Influencer Marketing Hub claim that posts with 138 to 150 characters get the most engagement.

In addition to that, hashtags can undoubtedly improve your audience’s engagement with your posts. They are an important asset in your loyalty engagement toolbox. You should use niche-specific hashtags rather than popular ones. By adding too many hashtags, you’ll miss out on engagement. Although Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags per post, 15-20 would be more than enough to engage your clients and keep them coming back for more. Keep your hashtags short and easy to read. You need to create a unique hashtag for your brand. Then you need to make sure that people remember it. How can you do it? Organize contests for your customers. Encourage people to share pictures using your company’s hashtag. A feature on your Instagram feed or other material rewards are just a couple of possible incentives. The hashtag  #LookAtMyLexus is a perfect illustration of this.  Lexus encourages its customers to include this hashtag in their Instagram posts. Then they repost these pictures on their Instagram feed.

Source:

It is a fantastic approach to get people talking about your company. It enables you to re-engage your existing customers and improve your customer loyalty. You can also work with Instagram influencers in your specialized field and request that they include your hashtag in their sponsored posts. This can help you reach more people. If you are not using Instagram for your e-commerce business, you are missing out on a great deal of engagement.

2. Reward your Loyal Ecommerce Shoppers

Simply using social media for customer engagement may not be enough. Rewards and incentives can make customers more engaged. By incentivizing your customers to leave reviews, comment on their purchases, and refer to their friends, family, and colleagues, you can increase engagement while simultaneously improving their loyalty. Customer appreciation means a lot for your ecommerce business. It is a fantastic way to humanize your brand and make your customers feel heard and valued.  

How can you thank your customers?

Loyalty Programs

Good customer loyalty programs are a great tool to keep your customers engaged and loyal. The main idea behind loyalty programs is that customers will receive more rewards the more they purchase from you. This in turn promotes continuous engagement with your brand, which boosts conversions.

The most effective loyalty programs are the ones that are the simplest. Every time a consumer buys from you, make it simpler for them to receive awards.

Here are the 3 most popular loyalty programs:

1. Points-based programs

Points-based programs give customers points for every dollar they spend. Customers can redeem their points for merchandise, cashback, or discounts after they reach a certain number of points.

The number of people who are eager to give private information to businesses in exchange for benefits like monetary rewards, points in loyalty programs is 63%

2. Tiered programs

Tiered programs are customer incentive strategies that divide benefits into different levels. Your customer spends a certain amount of money and unlocks a new tier. It can be the name of precious metals (gold, silver, bronze). To get a higher tier your customer needs to engage more with your brand.

Companies who have tiered programs have a higher return on investment than those who don’t. (1.8% higher ROI)

3. Referral programs

Referral programs are a type of marketing strategy that rewards customers for sharing your brand with friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors, either online or offline.

The number of people who trust recommendations from friends and family is 92%

You would want to create your own loyalty program as a Shopify store owner. One that can help you engage with your customers, deepen relationships with them, boost sales, and increase loyalty. One that includes points on purchases, VIP tiers, and referral programs.

At Growave, our software allows you to do just that and more. Growave offers the full package and would only be one app installed instead of many. It has tools for loyalty programs, wishlists, referrals, shoppable Instagram galleries, and UGC. It is one of the best Shopify loyalty apps on the Shopify App Store. It ensures the right balance of functionality and adaptability to successfully manage 3 types of e-commerce loyalty programs. (Points, VIP Tiers and Referral Program). With Growave, you can build a program that works for both your customers and your company. You can improve customer engagement and build a perfect brand-customer relationship. You can collect data from your frequent buyers and get valuable insight into their purchasing behavior.

If you’d like to learn more, make sure you read the following article: Best Shopify Loyalty App for Retention Marketing

3. Master Email Marketing and Power Your Customer Loyalty

Email marketing is your golden ticket to your Shopify success. It is a great tool for engaging your customers and increasing their loyalty. It’s a two-way conversation and provides a direct connection between the two of you. Email marketing remains an effective strategy among Shopify merchants, and the numbers don’t lie. According to statistics, every $1 spent on email marketing brings in $36 in revenue. To achieve this level of success with email marketing, you must have a solid plan for fostering customer engagement and loyalty at every stage. When done right, email marketing can increase your revenue.

There are many reasons why email marketing is good for customer engagement and loyalty. Let’s take a closer look at them:

Personal touch: With email marketing, you can personalize your communication for each recipient in contrast to generic advertisements. By addressing your customers by their first name or referencing their past purchases, you make them feel valued and understood. 

Exclusive offers: Everyone enjoys a good bargain! By sending exclusive offers and discounts to your email subscribers you make them feel like they are a part of an exclusive club. 

Regular updates: Keeping your customers informed of new products, company news, or future events builds a sense of community. 

Feedback loop: We’ve talked about it before but it is really worth mentioning that email marketing helps you collect customer feedback. Email surveys or feedback forms allow you to do it. By taking their suggestions into consideration you show that you value their opinions. This way you can boost their customer loyalty.  

Segmentation: Email marketing platforms like Klaviyo or tinyEmail allow for segmentation, meaning you can send targeted emails to specific groups. You can separate your email lists based on a variety of criteria, including purchasing preferences, frequency of purchases, acquisition sources, browsing habits, and more. Both Klaviyo and tinyEmail offer this feature. This targeted approach not only boosts customer engagement but also improves customer loyalty. 

Automation: Email automation, especially when personalized using AI, enhances customer engagement by delivering the relevant content to the right customer at the right time. This tailored approach fosters loyalty as customers feel appreciated and understood by the ecommerce brand. 

Both tinyEmail and Klaviyo offer email automation services. Klaviyo is one of the best platforms for email marketing and automation. As for tinyEmail, it is a relatively new email marketing platform and offers such features as AI-powered messaging and automated personalization engines. This means that users can send personalized and targeted email messages automatically. These messages will be tailored to the recipient's preferences and behaviors.  

Email marketing isn’t just about sending messages; it’s about building and nurturing relationships with your customers. By providing value, recognizing individual needs, and maintaining regular communication, you can turn casual customers into your brand advocates. So, if you are looking to improve customer engagement and loyalty, it’s time to hit “send” on your email marketing strategy. 

4. Drive Repeat Business with Reviews

Customer reviews are a fantastic way to engage your customers and they also play a pivotal role in fostering customer loyalty. This is largely due to the fact that they present a view of the product that, as the seller, you can't provide. After all, customer reviews come from people who are just like the current shopper reading them.

They likely seek solutions to the same issues and have common preferences and passions. Crucially, they possess the product in question. Moreover, they don't have a hidden motive, enhancing their credibility. Prospective buyers tend to trust their words more than any promotional content you might produce. Reviews also create a platform for open communication, allowing you to directly address your customers’ concerns and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. In addition to improving the customer experience, this interaction helps build a sense of community around the company. What’s more, positive customer reviews can serve as powerful word-of-mouth marketing, while constructive criticism offers you an opportunity to improve your products or services. Overall, customer reviews bridge the gap between you and your customers, solidifying long-term relationships. 

Furthermore, in the digital age, online reviews boost a brand’s visibility, driving more traffic to your online store. They act as social proof, reassuring new customers of the quality and reliability of products or services. By actively responding to reviews, you show your proactive approach, further wining over your audience. Additionally, loyal customers often become brand ambassadors, and their reviews can inspire others to join the community. In essence, customer feedback not only supports your claims but also deepens the relationship between your brand and your customers. 

5. Engage and Retain Your Customers with Powerful Cross-selling Strategies

Cross-selling isn’t just a sales tactic; it’s a golden opportunity to enhance customer loyalty and engagement. Therefore, you should be employing it. 

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.

By offering complementary products or services, you show that you understand your customers' needs and preferences well. This personalized touch fosters a deeper connection, making customers more likely to return. Moreover, when customers find value in additional purchases, they consider the brand as a trusted advisor, not just a seller.

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 get shoppers to spend money on items they weren’t originally planning to purchase.

Furthermore, cross-selling can also result in increased communication between the brand and the customer. Each recommendation provides an opportunity for dialogue, feedback, and further personalization. Over time, this continuous engagement solidifies the customer's relationship with the brand, turning them into loyal brand advocates.

6. Transform E-shoppers into Loyal Customers with Wishlists

Wishlists are a powerful tool for e-commerce and retail businesses. When implemented and utilized effectively, they can significantly improve customer loyalty and engagement. 

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. If you are thinking of getting this feature, make sure to check out our customer story and find ways SWAK added social proof to their online store via Growave Wishlist.

You can also send customers notifications, such as: (see the picture below)

Wishlists enable targeted notifications about desired items, promote easy sharing with peers, provide businesses with valuable data insights, and boost loyalty through exclusive deals. In essence, wishlists fill the gap between desire and purchase, making online shopping more personal, enformed, and rewarding.

7. Implement a Good Abandoned Cart Recovery Strategy

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. 

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.

Regularly reach out to your customers, whether through reminder emails, retargeting ads, or other channels. You should always keep the brand at the top of their minds. This consistent communication can lead to increased engagement and loyalty. 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. Having a well-thought-out abandoned cart strategy is crucial for your e-commerce businesses. Not only does it help in recovering potential lost sales, but it also plays a significant role in enhancing customer loyalty and engagement. 

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. 

8. Improve Your Customer Engagement with the Magic of Personalized Offers

Personalization is the future of marketing, essential for brands aiming for growth. By offering a tailored shopping experience, you make your customers feel valued and understood. 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 use cookies to help you sort the products in your categories to best suit the likely interests of each individual shopper. 

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.

Finally, video pop-ups or widgets are the next big thing in personalizing your e-commerce website. Trigger welcome, thank you, or product videos on specific pages so customers can engage and convert according to their journey on your shop. Vidjet is the perfect tool for that - and it’s free!

Very, for example, uses widgets across all of their product pages. This helps them ensure customers get to see more of their offers from a single page, saves them time browsing, and ensures more items are added to that cart.

9. Engage, Connect, and Retain by Being Active in Shopify Communities and Forums

Joining Shopify forums and communities is not simply for getting platform-specific help or for resolving technical problems. It’s also about understanding your customers' needs, building relationships with them, and continuously improving the business to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. Most of your customers are online now and these Shopify forums and communities are a perfect place to get valuable insights into the customers’ needs, preferences, and behavior. 

Furthermore, they serve as a gathering spot for business owners and developers to share their experiences and solutions. By actively participating in these forums and communities, you can get a better understanding of the platform and optimize your Shopify store for a better customer experience. By providing a good customer experience, your customers should become more engaged. Highly engaged customers are more likely to return for more. 

What’s more, engaging in these communities allows you to receive direct feedback from your customers and other merchants. This feedback is crucial because it can help you improve your product offerings, and website design or address specific customer concerns. 

When you actively participate in these forums and communities you also demonstrate to your customers that you are willing to go above and beyond to please your customers. This can help you build trust with your customers, making them stay with your brand. 

By becoming a part of the community, you can better understand the principles of Shopify and its users. Since customers prefer to purchase from companies that share their beliefs, adhering to this culture can increase customer loyalty. 

Being active in these communities can turn satisfied customers into brand advocates. They are more inclined to recommend your company to others when they see you are actively assisting others and adding value. 

Meaningful Shopify discussions and conversations with your customers are incredibly important and they can lead to an emotional connection between you and your customers. This emotional bond can be a powerful driver of loyalty.  

Suggested reading: The best active Shopify Forums and Communities

10. Ask for Customer Feedback

Happy people voting and giving their feedback

Collecting customer feedback can be extremely beneficial for your business and it’s another effective way to engage your ecommerce customers. Sometimes online retailers fail to understand why shoppers aren’t converting. An easy way to solve this issue is to ask them. Nothing is more straightforward than asking them questions. You need to know how to ask the right questions to under their needs. Without client feedback, it might be challenging to engage your customers, identify the true problems, improve your products and services, understand their needs, and improve the user experience. Keep in mind that repeat customers expand your business quicker than marketing ever could.

Your customers should feel heard and valued. All you have to do is provide the opportunity to do so. To get feedback from your customers you could add a comments section on your ecommerce website. You can ask users to leave reviews on your e-commerce website and social media platforms. They can help you understand what is working or what is not. But you need to make sure that you moderate any customer feedback. This way you can protect yourself from spam, explicit content, and negative reviews from competitors. Keep track of customer feedback and provide responses as soon as possible. Keep track of customer feedback and try to give answers as quickly as you can. It can help you build trust with your customers. Let them know that they matter to you. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business. Emails can help you collect feedback, too. For example, many online clothing stores ask their customers to rate the product quality, shipping speed, and overall shopping experience in an automated email that is sent to them after their order has been delivered. The surveys you include in those emails should be short and shouldn’t require the recipient to do a lot of work. Integrate the surveys inside the email itself. They would respond to them without visiting another page. Once you begin to analyze feedback you will see the true benefits of it. Without analyzing, you risk missing key information and wasting your time. Plus, you can use exit feedback forms. They can help you identify why your website visitors are leaving and what left them dissatisfied.

Suggested reading: 5 Key Pillars of Ecommerce Customer Service

Using feedback can help you enhance customer engagement tactics by incorporating information obtained directly from your customers. Customer feedback and reviews give you a perfect opportunity to engage your customers by helping them with their issues, giving them advice, or addressing any problems they might be having with your products and services. They can help you improve your products and services, understand their needs, engage with them, and make better customer decisions.  

11. Provide Stellar Customer Service for Better Engagement and Loyalty 

To retain and engage your customers, you need to be able to provide some great customer service. Ecommerce companies that focus on providing excellent customer service not only handle immediate issues but also cultivate long-term relationships. As we’ve mentioned above, personalized interactions make customers feel understood, boosting their overall satisfaction. Quick response times, often a main metric in customer service, can sufficiently reduce customer frustration. Moreover, leveraging multi-channel support, including social media, chatbots, and email, ensures that customers can reach out on their preferred platforms. 

To engage your customers, hiring the best and most helpful customer service agents won’t be enough. 

By creating an FAQ and Knowledge Base 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. Plus, it is also a great way to increase the quality of user experience. 

When it comes to FAQ, 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

By adding a blog to your Shopify store, you can improve customer service, too. 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.

Suggested reading: Blogging for Ecommerce: 6 Reasons to Start a Blog

Conclusion

In today’s digital world, you must find a method to stand out from the competition while blending in with the lifestyles of your customers. There's been a noticeable shift towards an engagement economy, where the success of businesses hinges on their level of engagement and the relationships they cultivate with their customers. Customer loyalty programs, customer feedback, and social media sites can help you differentiate yourself from competitors. They can help you understand your customers better and make their experience enjoyable. Positive customer experience often leads to increased customer engagement. To engage them it's important to understand your customers and their needs. Engaged customers are loyal customers. You need to create a dialogue, interact with consumers, get their feedback, and try new marketing strategies. Therefore, maintaining regular and personalized communication with customers is crucial for businesses to remain top-of-mind. The significance of customer engagement has grown immensely, leading to numerous discussions and sometimes more questions than answers. It's essential to understand and address these questions to harness the power of engagement effectively. The tactics that we’ve shared with you in this article can improve customer engagement and loyalty.

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