How to Turn Ecommerce Shoppers into Repeat Customers

Getting a potential customer to visit your ecommerce store is the first step. You also want them to add items to their shopping carts, complete the checkout process and finish the transaction. Congratulations, you’ve earned a conversion. But what’s next?

While getting a one-time sale does help drive revenue, ideally it will become the first sale in a series. However, only one out of five first-time buyers will ever make a second purchase from your store. As MarketingProfs notes, this means brands “spend a ton of time and effort to acquire buyers who may never engage” again.

Now it’s time to consider how to turn ecommerce shoppers into repeat customers. Successful ecommerce stores are able to build up a base of loyal customers who stay engaged and make recurring purchases over time.

 

Giving Customers a Reason to Buy from You

Ask yourself this: Why should customers buy from your store rather than a competitor’s? Not only do you need to have a firm answer to this question, you need to convey it to online shoppers.

Whatever products you sell, make sure you’re differentiating your store from those with similar offerings. Face it: You’re not the only store using a platform like Shopify to sell electronics, furniture, cosmetics, hand-knit sweaters, artisan coffee, camping gear, etc. But you don’t have to settle for blending into the crowd; with a little branding finesse, you can really make a unique name for your store.

Think about what sets you apart. Is it your eco-friendly products and packaging? Your responsive customer service guarantee? Free shipping and returns? A confidence-boosting product warranty? Make sure you clearly convey to customers what makes your store unique. Not only will it help boost trust and loyalty, but this will more than likely be the “it factor” they share with friends and family when they’re recounting their experience.

Make Loyalty Worth Customers’ While

Offering loyalty perks is a great way to tangibly reward customers for sticking with your store over time. But emailing out a 10 percent off coupon a few times a year won’t necessarily incentivize people to stay engaged. First, you need to make sure your loyalty rewards overcome the “trivialization effect,” meaning buyers actually find them valuable and gratifying.

It’s a good idea to reward shoppers for more than just making purchases. You can provide people points and recognition for a wide variety of activities, from making a post on social media to leaving a review, or referring a friend. However, you end up structuring your loyalty program, make sure it leaves your customers feeling genuinely appreciated and motivated to return for future purchases.

 

Take Advantage of Re-Engagement Marketing

Customers won’t always come back of their own accord, even if they had a good experience the first time around. Sometimes they need a nudge. Re-engagement marketing is just as crucial as acquisition marketing, like sending users a personalized email recommending products that are complementary to those they bought from you the first time around. You can also ask customers to take a short survey in exchange for a reward, which encourages them to revisit your site. Serving retargeting ads to past shoppers is another way to keep your brand top of mind.

 

Why Retention Is Vital in Ecommerce

Repeat customers are the backbone of any sustainable ecommerce business. As Econsultancy reports, the probability of selling to a new potential customer is five to 20 percent, but the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent. Repeat customers simply have a higher lifetime value, which affects your bottom line.

If you can figure out how to turn ecommerce shoppers into repeat customers, you’ll see better returns on your marketing efforts and higher profit margins.

Advertisements

Chatbots are Revolutionizing Customer Service

chatbots

Customer support is rapidly changing. What is next in the world of customer support? In a word – Chatbots. Messaging platforms are already wildly popular for peer-to-peer interaction on mobile. Between Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (both owned by Facebook), there are over 2 billion users on both platforms. Facebook is now developing Messenger as a B2C support channel and already thousands of brands have launched chatbots on Messenger channels.

What are Chatbots?

Chatbots are cutting edge computer programs that use Artificial Intelligence to simulate human conversation. So why do chatbots matter to customer service? Because they can streamline the customer interaction process, boost customer engagement, and give the customer total empowerment.

In addition, chatbots allow businesses to efficiently capitalize on the mobile messaging phenomenon happening today. With the increase in mobile usage of apps such as Facebook Messenger, it’s only intuitive that companies start adapting to the new technology to reach their users. Chatbots are ideal by allowing companies to program a bot to instantly handle frequent and repetitive questions and leave the user satisfied with the whole interaction. On top of that, messaging platforms offer asynchronous communication. Unlike live chat or phone support, the messaging string lives on. Both users and brands can see the history of the conversation and never have to start from the beginning. Unlike your support staff, chatbots can work 24/7.

What’s Driving This Trend?

Consumer demand is one of the primary drivers and Facebook is the other. We know that most customers don’t want to talk with a support rep most of the time. Today’s users want to be empowered to help themselves and get things done instantly without assisted service.  Gartner agrees and predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. Bottom line, intelligent self-service is proven to enhance user experience, and chatbots are a result of an industry shift towards self-service. But chat bots are actually self-service game changers.

Changing customer expectations are a key driver of this trend. An Ubisend study found that 64% of consumers believe a business should be available and contactable via messaging applications.  Businesses that can successfully meet these expectations stand to benefit. A survey by Facebook IQ found that 53% of people said they were more likely to shop with a business they could message directly.

Further, BI Intelligence reports that chatbots will contribute to cutting customer care costs by up to 29%. Automating responses to common customer questions will create significant ticket deflection. Properly implemented chatbots would only require customer service staff intervention in more complex situations.

Mobile application marketing is less attractive now too. Mobile apps cost a lot to develop and market. Chatbots, on the other hand, are much cheaper to develop and, once developed, can easily be adapted for various messaging platforms. And why do would customers want to access dozens of individual apps to interact with their brands, when Facebook Messenger plus chatbots can provide a support channel for all your brands in one convenient platform – That’s more customer centric.

What is Facebook’s Role?

At their annual F8 Developers Conference back in April, Facebook announced that Messenger now supports chatbots. This is great news for businesses as they quickly flock to utilize this opportunity to reach their users.

To boot, they’ve added features that make chatbots more inviting to the general public than ever before. Facebook Messenger chatbots can respond with GIFs, audio, video, and other files. There are also “Quick Reply” buttons that simplify customer responses. Further, a “Persistent Menu” option always lists available commands.

What is the User Experience?

pelosi

The first chatbot that I tried was one of my favorite news platforms; The Wall Street Journal. I was taken back by the immediate comfort I felt interacting with the bot, almost forgetting that I was interacting with a computer program. Instead of searching on the Wall Street Journal website, it immediately provided me with links to great articles that pertained to my interests. As a consumer, I felt at ease and amazed by the sheer simplistic nature of the whole process. It was fast, efficient, and personal. The user interface was deceptively simple – to the point where I envision a world where I’ll be able to chat with companies with ease, all within the means of mobile messaging via Facebook Messenger.

Don’t Just Follow the Trend. Lead it.

With the growth of technology and the increase of inter-personal marketing, consumers today expect quick or even instant customer service. A study done by Ubisend found that 63.9 percent of consumers believe a business should be available and contactable via messaging applications.

Just two and a half months after Facebook Messenger Bots launched, there were 11,000 chatbots online. Major players like General Electric, Whole Foods, American Express, Pizza Hut, CNN, The Guardian, Weather Channel, and RedFoo have all integrated effective chatbots into their marketing strategies.

There are smaller companies leading this trend too. Code.org and PeoplePerHour both have implemented AnswerBot, powered by AnswerDash.

chatbotall

Answerbot, a Facebook Messenger chatbot, uses the AnswerDash AI-powered predictive Q&A engine. With AnswerBot, customers have access to a dynamic self-service solution that leverages a company’s knowledge base to make content visible, contextual and easily accessible. If the chatbot cannot provide the answer, AnswerBot can route the user to a human support rep if needed.  AnswerBot can be launched in three easy steps: 1.) leverage knowledge base, 2.) load images, and 3.) add AnswerDash as an Admin to Facebook page. That’s it. AnswerBot can be launched in a day and at very little cost.

Customer service is moving quickly to keep up with evolving technological opportunities. Successful businesses need to move fast to stay ahead of customer expectations and the competition. Launching a chatbot on Facebook Messenger is an easy and quick win.

answerdash
Learn more about AnswerDash

Source: Chatbots are Revolutionizing Customer Service

Customer Support and Millennials: What You Need to Know!

Written by Evan Oeflein | Originally published at AnswerDash 

millennial_cio

Millennials are the future! You’ve likely heard the phrase countless times and for good reason: if businesses learn to treat millennials well now, they can protect that relationship for years to come. Here’s what you need to know about millennials and customer service.

With recent counts hovering around 77 million, millennials make up about one-fourth of the US population and are a rapidly growing segment of the American economy1. Combined, they wield around $2.45 trillion in annual buying power2, which makes them a valuable market and an important customer base for any business. With their substantial importance now and eventual economic dominance, it’s crucial that businesses learn to meet their needs and preferences as much as possible. However, knowing what they want isn’t always easy — they are very different from Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Knowing these differences is an effective competitive edge.

The key difference when interacting with millennials is primarily in how they expect to be treated and via which channels.

Millennials are extremely self-reliant, with almost 40% of them first checking a company’s FAQ page when they have a question3. If they can’t find an answer there or their needs go unmet, four out of five millennials choose to use social media for customer service instead of through web, phone, or online chat channels4. In fact, when contacting a company, most millennials use Facebook almost twice as often as the second-most used social media, Twitter4. An important side note: nearly 25% of millennials expect to get a response on social media within 10 minutes, which can be a difficult demand to meet for many businesses4. Failing to meet expectations like these can result in unhappy millennial customers and could hurt your business.

So what steps can you take to mitigate potential issues and cater to your millennial customers?

First things first: don’t make them call customer service. Make sure they can find answers on your website as easily as possible. Consider a self-service solution to help them help themselves, so they don’t need to reach out to you with problems or issues in the first place!

To drive this point home, here are a few things millennials would rather do than call a support line and sit on hold:

  • 34% would rather have their teeth cleaned4
  • 32% would rather go shopping on Christmas Eve4
  • 26% would rather go to the DMV4

Second: Bend over backwards for your millennial customers! It’s common practice to be accommodating and helpful with any customer, but 22% of millennials say that one bad experience is enough for them to leave a brand for good5. Just a heads up that this can also include boycotting a service, with nearly a quarter of all millennials saying they would be willing to boycott a company after just one bad experience4! Yikes. And with the rapid growth of e-commerce businesses, it’s not difficult for them to leave you and shop with competition. In many ways, your relationship with them now is tied to the future success of your business: once they find a company and product they like, 80% of Millennials will keep going back6.

Whatever your approach to customer support, understand that  millennials expect to be able to find what they need themselves. If they can’t, they don’t want to spend time waiting around for you to answer them (they’d rather go to the dentist, remember?), so get back to them quickly! They’re expected to eclipse Baby Boomers in spending power by 2018, at $3.39 trillion annually7, and will make up even more of your customer base.

Since 64% of millennials feel greater brand loyalty than their Baby Boomer or Generation X parents 8, they’re more likely to stick around if you give them the support they crave! Millennials are the future and they will remember everything you do for them now.

To learn how you can help your millennial customers help themselves, take a peek at our website self-service eBook “How to help your customers help themselves”.

Sources:

(1) 2014, Millennial Consumer Report, Nielson
(2) 2014, Millennials Drive Social Commerce, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
(3) 2015, State of Service Report, Salesforce Research
(4) 2015, Customer Survey: Results & Analysis, Desk.com
(5) 2015, Millennials Research Study, Aspect
(6) 2010, 8095 Exchange: Millennial Whitepaper, Edelman Digital
(7) 2010, Gen-Y Financial Services Survey, Oracle
(8) 2014, Millennial Brand Loyalty, Adroit Digital

Source: Customer Support and Millennials: What You Need to Know!