There’s the old rule of 7 that says someone must hear or see a message at least 7 times before it sticks and motivates them to actively learn more.
The same seems to be true today for e-commerce customer journeys. There are so many channels and platforms where potential buyers spend their time, which is why effective e-commerce brands utilize omnichannel customer engagement strategies to fuel their growth.
Omnichannel customer engagement is used by brands to attract, connect, and engage with shoppers across a series of different channels and touchpoints. You can use omnichannel marketing to amplify product messaging, provide valuable paths to conversion for shoppers, and deliver a consistent brand identity using:
- Your website
- Cart abandonment emails
- Newsletter updates
- Social media content
- Retargeted ads for abandoned products
- Live events and other forums
- Coupons and in-store displays
- And more
Regardless of the channel, it’s important that they each have a consistent look and feel to make shoppers feel like they are part of an integrated shopping experience. That’s why it’s so important for e-commerce brands to understand omnichannel customer engagement. It’s the best way to expand the reach of your brand, grow the size of your engaged audience, and generate more revenue for your business.
What is omnichannel customer engagement?
Omnichannel customer engagement relies on a multichannel sales approach with each touchpoint working together to provide a unified shopping experience. In that same manner of thinking, omnichannel marketing includes a cross-channel content strategy that is necessary to improve the customer experience and build deeper relationships with shoppers.
Customer service and brand/product transparency are key aspects of omnichannel customer engagement. In fact, 82% of shoppers have ended their experiences with a brand due to poor customer service. Successful brands are able to deliver exceptional service and provide the answers that shoppers need across all possible touchpoints, encouraging shoppers to continue engaging with the brand. This tactic is an effective way to implement an omnichannel customer engagement strategy that increases engagement and the potential for direct revenue.
The benefits of omnichannel customer engagement solutions
What are some best practices to build an omnichannel customer engagement strategy? At a high level, you want to focus on fulfilling two primary objectives: deliver an exceptional shopping experience that encourages customer engagement, and create seamless customer journeys across all channels that guide shoppers towards the most valuable paths of conversion.
1. Develop a better overall customer experience for your brand
This is (or should be) the goal of any e-commerce business. Your website is the foundation of your entire business model, and a fulfilling customer experience is absolutely essential to increasing customer engagement with your brand.
All channels that direct people to your website should have a consistent look and feel that matches the exceptional shopping experience of your brand. Give people a taste of what they can expect while shopping on your website through creative email messages, social media posts, SMS messaging (if you have that capability), and all other channels that can amplify the customer experience.
Example: Conrad Electronics Conrad Electronics is a German technological company that conducts business in 210 different countries. This requires a firm commitment to quality customer service in order to support shoppers in each region.
But the logistics of managing that degree of support were challenging for the company. Their support team was a limited size, and they spent many hours handling repetitive questions and enquiries submitted both on and offsite. Therefore, they invested in conversion optimization solutions designed to support an omnichannel customer engagement strategy. Conrad was able to deliver multi-language support using web optimization tools that contributed to a 17% increase in average order value (AOV).
2. Increase conversion rates
If your omnichannel customer engagement strategy is effective, this should be the net result of your efforts. Higher conversion rates are the best way to measure and monetize onsite engagement tactics. Conversions can be measured as direct purchases of products or services, but they can also be measured by other methods of engagement, including newsletter signups, content downloads, event registrations, and more.
Example: Helly Hansen Helly Hansen is the leading Scandinavian workwear, skiing, sailing, and outdoor apparel brand. They support outdoor adventurers by providing apparel and equipment that protects travelers in cold climates. They sell their equipment in over 200 different ski resorts across Europe and North America, but the majority of their business is conducted online.
Helly Hansen successfully boosted onsite engagement by 10%, which helped contribute to a 12% boost in conversion rates. They used conversion optimization technology to provide detailed product information to shoppers at various touchpoints throughout their omnichannel shopping journey. The helpful details proved very beneficial to the brand, and they helped deliver a 25% boost in AOV.
3. Improve customer loyalty & related KPIs
It’s common to only think of direct purchases and order value as KPIs. But there are other non-direct monetary KPIs that can also calculate the effectiveness of your omnichannel customer engagement strategy.
Omnichannel marketing also increases the potential for customer loyalty among buyers. If past buyers see an ad or promotion for your brand that includes similar images or messaging that got them to buy the first time, it’s highly likely they’ll be tempted to come back and buy again. And once they make a second purchase, they start to view your brand as a provider of valuable and worthwhile products.
Not only that, but they may even serve as unofficial advocates by recommending your products to their own friends, family, and social circles. Loyal customers are essentially free advertisers, increasing the reach and visibility of your brand at no additional cost. These brand advocates can also function as offline advertisers that motivate their networks to go online, visit your website, and experience your shopping journey for themselves.
More referrals = more selling opportunities.
Example: Elkjøp Elkjøp is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordics and they process up to 4.8 million customer support enquiries every year. As the reach of their business expanded, their ability to maintain consistently high-quality support was limited by the size of their support team. As a result, they invested in an e-commerce chatbot to handle the majority of inbound enquiries. The chatbot proved to be very effective with shoppers, helping improve buyer satisfaction to 80%. A high buyer satisfaction rate is a strong indicator of potential repeat buying behavior and established customer loyalty - a core element of omnichannel customer engagement.
4. Reduce & automate repeat customer questions
Sometimes, the biggest benefits of omnichannel customer engagement strategies are more helpful to your own team of workers as much as the customers themselves. If you can automate many of the repetitive tasks involved in customer service, you can free up time and resources for your support staff. This means that they can dedicate more of their own time towards big picture solutions that will further develop and grow the value of your business.
Example: Helthjem Helthjem is a Norwegian shipping and logistics company. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, they introduced food delivery, specifically for baked goods that could be ordered at night and delivered by the following morning.
Many of their orders are placed online, while the delivery and unboxing experience is treated as a special event for the end customer. However, buyers often have many repetitive questions for the support staff. A flood of questions and enquiries saturated the time and resources of in-house staff on a daily basis. By investing in AI-powered customer support chatbots that engaged with customers across multiple touchpoints in their customer journey, Helthjem automated many of those incoming calls and enquiries. The chatbot managed 30% of tracking follow-up questions and helped reduce information requests routed to support agents by 10%.
Types of omnichannel customer engagement solutions
Now that we’ve defined the benefits of omnichannel customer engagement, what are some of the methods you can use to develop effective engagement solutions? We recommend incorporating machine learning technology into your e-commerce experience.
Machine learning technology is always learning and analyzing audience behavior. Those insights will give you a clear understanding of how people interact with your existing website experience. As a result, you can make quick decisions on how to optimize the site and deliver the type of experience that will produce greater results for your business.
1. Conversational commerce
There are opportunities to engage with shoppers at every encounter, and that’s the core philosophy of conversational commerce. Conversational commerce is a practice that enables brands and e-commerce companies to create a state-of-the-art conversational shopping experience across their online shop and all other marketing channels.
As a strategy, conversational commerce encourages brands to treat every chance to connect with a shopper as a means of building a trusting and long-lasting relationship. Conversational commerce solutions (like the Virtual Shopping Assistant mentioned below) bridge the gap between omnichannel shopping behavior, transforming browsing experiences into purchase-intent buying experiences that boost your business revenue.
2. Virtual Shopping Assistant
A Virtual Shopping Assistant is a combination of tools that includes AI chatbots (see more below), conversion optimization technology, live chat services, cart abandonment software, and more. Virtual Shopping Assistants function as digital recreations of traditional in-store shopping support staff, helping direct shoppers to the products they need and answer any questions they may have about features, benefits, pricing, and other inquiries. Powered by AI, virtual shopping assistants have been proven to help increase conversions and boost average order value.
AI chatbots are the next generation of omnichannel customer service. They are easy-to-use solutions that improve your customer experience and empower your brand with 24/7 global customer support. As a core element of the Virtual Shopping Assistant, chatbots are especially beneficial for e-commerce brands that sell products to shoppers in foreign markets and who speak different languages. Since the chatbot is powered by AI, it learns how to communicate in different languages, providing shoppers personalized support in their most natural speaking dialect.
Nudge - Conversion Optimization
A core part of the Virtual Shopping Assistant, conversion optimization technology helps personalize product recommendations and value-added messages deployed to online shoppers. With the right Nudge, any shopper can receive the right motivation to go deeper into the buying journey with your brand. You can deploy personal messages in less than 10 minutes, and the results of your efforts will improve conversion rates and satisfy customer experiences.