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Charlene H.J. Anderson
February 23rd, 2021

What Is Customer Engagement & Why Is it Important in eCommerce?

A whopping 86% of customers are willing to pay more for experiences that blow them away. Is your engagement strategy prepared to offer that?

Table Of Contents

Do you have a way to respond to changes in customer behavior? Or a plan to address customer problems right away — before they spiral out of control and become a big concern?

This is what customer engagement marketing is all about. It starts with building a strong relationship. And it continues by delivering an exclusive, jaw-dropping experience.

Experiences are so important to customers that 86% of them are willing to pay more money for service experiences that blow them away.

In this article, we’ll detail the importance of customer engagement, explain how it benefits your brand, and layout the elements of a successful strategy. Then, we’ll show examples of top brands that have implemented effective customer engagement plans — to inspire you with tactics already proven to work.

But, first, we’ll begin by defining the term “customer engagement.”

What is customer or consumer engagement?

As you create content for your audience, you need a way to tell if it’s working. And the best determining factor is to look at what customers do after consuming your content.

So, let’s define customer engagement as this: Customer or consumer engagement is a way to measure how customers interact with your brand.

Do they like your Facebook posts? Engage on Instagram? Retweet your content on Twitter?

Once you know what they think and how they feel about you, then you’ll be able to take that information and use it to predict their future loyalty.

The best way to engage customers
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Why is customer engagement so important?

You’ve probably noticed brands with cult-like followings of people who hung on their every word. Well, those companies didn’t go from low to high customer engagement overnight.

And top brands know that growing an audience requires consistent customer engagement. It’s a long-term investment.

Think of customer engagement as the start of a brand new relationship. You wouldn’t go from the first date to proposing marriage on the second.

Customer engagement is how your audience warns up to you. And you need to take baby steps to nurture the relationship.

Here are just a few of the benefits that go along with having more engaged customers.

Better customer relationships

Consistent engagement leads to stronger and healthier customer relationships. By putting in the effort to engage your customers across various channels, you are more likely to form closer bonds with them.

Improved customer retention

Continue to engage with customers even after they’ve purchased from you.

Remember, this is a relationship. So continue to connect with customers to keep your brand in the forefront of their minds. This will give you valuable insights into what actual users of your product think and you’ll discover their pain points first hand.

Better opportunities for cross-sell and upsell

Got a new product coming out? Have you refined your existing line to include new and improved features?

Upsells and cross-sells not only increase your revenue — they allow you to offer your customers tailor-made solutions.

Use the data you collect from engaging to personalize your recommendations.

Increase in email subscribers

After you’ve done something nice for your customers they are much more likely to return the favor. By engaging on a consistent basis with them, adding value to their lives and addressing their concerns — you’ll make them want to repay you and they’ll even seek ways to do it.

Asking them to subscribe to your email list will be a small step they’ll gladly take, especially when they consider everything you’ve done for them.

Shorter purchase cycles

Frequent customer engagement means loyal customers. You will produce a community of people who like and trust your brand. Not only will they make purchases but they’ll gladly show off what they bought — and feel good about doing it.

A gang of loyal brand evangelists

When prospective customers hear you brag about your products, they expect it. And naturally, they feel a little skeptical.

But when your praise bellows from the mouth of a friend, a colleague or a member of their inner circle, it’s no longer ignored. The claim gains instant credibility.

Customers you have delighted across multiple platforms will turn into proud brand evangelists who love and endorse your products.

Discernable brand identity

Imagine this: Your customer only has 10 minutes to spare so she logs onto Instagram. All she wants is to watch a funny video, check out her friend’s feed and catch up with her favorite celebrity. Then, your ad appears.

What distinguishable characteristics does your brand have to make her want to interact with you? Why should she view your content instead of the post from her best friend?

Consistent engagement will help you stand out and establish a unique, distinguishable tone. This ensures customers will remain interested and recognize your brand across multiple channels.

Enhanced customer service

According to Hubspot, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with brands that offer excellent customer service.

Extend your customer service efforts by frequently engaging. This allows customers to bring to light any issues or concerns they may have. And it gives you the opportunity to address them immediately, which further enhances the customer service experience.

How to measure customer engagement

Look at these metrics when analyzing customer engagement:

  • The average amount of time customers spend on your website.
  • Open and click-through rates for emails and push notifications.
  • Social media interaction such as the numbers of likes and shares you’re getting.
  • The number of new customer referrals you’re receiving.

Elements of a successful customer engagement strategy

These are the traits that mark a successful customer engagement plan.

Distinguishable from other competitors

Today’s customers expect personalized experiences with their favorite brands. They want to be known and addressed by name.

Reaching out to them personally will make them feel valued and important.

Gives customers an emotional connection to the brand

People want to know personal stories. There may be hundreds of other companies selling the same products as you so use your story as a way to connect with your customers.

Why did you start your business? Does your product include a unique ingredient that competitive brands don’t include?

Use your unique story to draw customers in.

Inspires omnichannel conversations

Customers expect to engage with you across multiple channels. So, you need to be where your customers are.

This frees you from the need to be everywhere and allows you to only engage on the platforms your customers use. That way if they interact with your post on one channel, they can easily engage with you on another.

Examples of customer engagement

Customer engagement strategies are easy to implement. Here’s what can be learned from top brands about how to engage customers.

Coca-Cola

In 2014, Coca-Cola launched a new marketing campaign. Their strategy was simple — All they did was take 250 of the most common names and put them on the coke bottles in place of the logo. So, instead of a traditional Coke, the bottle was addressed to Samantha, Mary, Lucy, etc.

This campaign was so successful because of the highly personalized aspect. It allowed customers to see a piece of themselves on one of their favorite products.

Carhartt

Carhartt, a work apparel company, introduced a new technology on their website to help their customers connect with experts. When a customer is on the site and displays a specific behavior, a pop up appears prompting them to chat with an expert.

Most customers who proceeded to chat were able to find what they wanted, were more satisfied, and returned to the site to purchase again.

Starbucks

Starbucks came up with a new campaign which allowed customers to chat with coffee specialists, watch coffee brew from fresh beans and sample a variety of rare, specialty coffees.

This experience made customers feel like they were getting an exclusive, behind the scenes look into the Starbucks process.

Gravity Payments

When Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity payments heard of the struggles of his employees, he implemented a minimum annual salary of $70K. It was meant to only improve employee satisfaction and quality of life but it did much more.

Monthly leads grew from 30 to 2,000 inquiries, profits doubled, and customer retention increased from 91% to 95%.

Birchbox

The Birchbox strategy centers around customer retention. They reward previous customers and ensure they stay loyal by giving away what they know every customer wants: 20% off their next order.

Implement this strategy immediately by using the Yotpo coupon feature for after-purchase rewards or pair it with our mail after purchase request.

Wrapping Up

It starts with a single interaction. That’s the foundation of every customer engagement strategy. And it continues with you going the extra mile for your customers through a series of more interactions, frequent engagement, and helpful solutions to show you care.

Because that’s what customers want, expect and that’s what it’ll take to succeed.

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