How to Use Digital Channels to Improve Ecommerce CX (Customer Experience)
Digital communication is revolutionizing every aspect of our lives. Humans are a social species and the way that technology has evolved is a reflection of this. Businesses (especially those in ecommerce) need take advantage of the varied methods of communication available to them, because if they don’t, their competitors will. But there’s a fine line to tread between successfully utilizing social media and content, and badgering customers and prospects to the point of annoyance. Here’s an overview of how social media and digital platforms can help ecommerce brands improve customer experience — all in the spirit of dialogue and genuine interaction, not broadcasting or preaching.
Get Social Media Followers
Social media is probably the area in which most businesses are pushing forward with their digital strategy, because it’s the easiest way to reach people on most devices – but not everybody does it right. Nobody follows social media accounts for adverts (at least not knowingly) and if that’s all you’re putting out, your social media marketing will be a waste of time. Here’s what you should be using social media for:
- Engaging content: Some of this could be images uploaded directly to your accounts, some of it could be links to blog posts. Make it the kind of thing that can be enjoyed independently. It will really help to increase the number of followers you have
- Exclusive offers: If people stand to save money by following you, that’s a good argument for doing so. The more people who follow you, the more they will see those offers and the more conversions you will make
- Sharing the work of others: Share posts and articles from other, non-competing businesses. They may well return the favor and share something of yours. This is a great way to be exposed to new people and to leave a positive impression, and is also a great way to strengthen brand-media relations
- Customer interaction: Customers can get in touch with you easily through messages and comments. You can answer important questions and provide useful contributions to conversations – all helping to cement the image of your business as caring and trustworthy
Doing this well will mean that you’re marketing to large numbers of people across multiple platforms. Looking at these statistics, you’ll find this can keep you in touch with a very large number of people, and social media is increasingly becoming a place for people to buy, engage, share, and interact.
Offer an App Alternative
Ten years ago, offering a mobile site was the thing to do. Today, you need to have an app alternative to your site. There are many benefits to doing this:
- Increased user base: Some people access the internet via mobile exclusively. Offering an app alternative significantly increases the chances of these people accessing your site (the same is true of tablet users)
- Push notifications: Smartphone notifications are brought instantly to a customer’s attention. You can let them know about sales, new products and special offers
- Personalized notifications:Customers love personalization. If they can sign up to be notified when the product they want becomes available, they’ll appreciate it very much and be quite likely to make a purchase, when they can
These notifications can come through on a large number of smart devices. It’s useful for your business’s presence to be felt in so many areas, and app development doesn’t cost the Earth. By being available to customers and present on the devices they so love and cherish, businesses are able to transcend the consumer/brand barrier a lot faster.
Provide Customer Support & Make Sales with Live Chat
A live chat system can be a huge benefit to ecommerce sites and can help improve day-to-day customer interactions. If you’re selling a product that is at all complex, customers will appreciate the opportunity to have any confusion cleared up nice and easily. If a customer is thinking about buying a computer, for example, they might want to ask “Can it do X?” before buying. Being able to click ‘Live Chat’ at any time will mean that they can get their question answered quickly.
In the event that the product doesn’t do what the customer wants, the person running the live chat might like to suggest an alternative and potentially still help make a sale. As well as suggesting alternatives when a product doesn’t meet a customer’s expectations, it might also be appropriate to occasionally suggest other purchases that they might like to make.
Continuing the example of the customer who wants to buy a computer, if a live chat operative were talking to them, there are several related products they might like to suggest. For example, it would not be inappropriate for them to say “Would you like to purchase some anti-virus software too?” This can be a valuable form of soft selling. It’s no surprise that more and more ecommerce store builders are starting to offer easy live chat implementation, as it becomes almost essential for digital commerce.
Consider Text & Telemarketing
In the digital age, it’s important not to neglect the power of the phone — coupled with digital marketing, a phone call can be a powerful sales tool.
Though it might seem to have been superseded by lots of other platforms, telemarketing still has a placeand can still be very useful for digital-first brands. If you’re doing B2B ecommerce, telemarketing is going to be especially important because a lot of deals are made over the phone in large B2B corporations. Telesales can often seem intrusive, but it’s possible to soft sell through other channels. People working customer support lines might occasionally like to make sales suggestions in the same way as live chat operators (as mentioned above).
Another very useful way of marketing via telephones is text marketing. Not quite everybody uses smartphones, and text alerts can provide a useful alternative to the notifications that app users will enjoy. Each notification that goes out could be sent as a text message as well, to ensure that it reaches as many people as possible. Then there’s also the possibility of customers signing up for text alerts about the availability of specific products — don’t ignore the role of great text message copywriting in creating a positive brand impression.
Digital provides ecommerce owners with a wide selection of platforms through which to reach their customers. This may cause some marketers to push sales-based content on consumers from all angles, but the best approach is often through soft selling. Win them over with marketing resources that have their own value, then go forward with stronger pieces if the customer has expressed an interest in you doing so. And don’t forget to explore marketing holistically either — there are still plenty of offline ways to market!
By Patrick Foster, Ecommerce Consultant, Freelance