Since global consumer needs have been changing dramatically, ensuring proactive e-commerce customer engagement is not an option but a necessity. According to a survey, 73% of consumers agree that customer experience is an important factor for purchasing decisions. Let’s figure out whether it’s enough to use an out-of-the-box CMS solution or you’d better opt for custom-e-commerce software development to provide a personalized customer experience.
Why Customer Engagement Is a Priority in E-Commerce
Customer engagement can be defined as a desire to buy and demonstrate loyalty when interacting with brands. To feel this emotional connection, buyers need to have an incentive for engaging in electronic commerce, so e-commerce businesses should encourage customer engagement. Below are the key reasons why it matters:
- By engaging customers in your brand, you will enhance customer relationships.
- If you keep engaging with customers after they make a purchase, you will turn them into repeat customers.
- Consistent engagement with customers helps you stand out in the crowd.
- By frequently engaging, you can enhance customer services, which will encourage your customers to make repeat purchases from your brand.
Practical Ways to Increase Customer Engagement in E-Commerce
Offering a high-quality shopping experience should be integral to the customer engagement strategies of your e-commerce business. Implementing technologies helps to engage customers more effectively and deliver higher satisfaction with the brand. Here are some of the most popular ways that impact the customer engagement level.
Chatbots and Live Chats
With the rise of online commerce, consumers have changed their preferences when it comes to the way they receive additional information about goods. The surveys show that 41% of consumers expect that a website will have a live chat, while for mobile commerce, this number is 50%. Live chats are an excellent tool that engages customers in real-time, and here’s how you can benefit from integrating on your e-commerce website:
- Assisting buyers that just browse on your website. By interacting with customers to help them get to know about the value of your goods, you will increase the chance to convert them into buyers.
- Understanding customer needs. Communicating via an online chat helps understand the needs and provide the most suitable goods from your store.
- Getting feedback from consumers. Applying surveys after a chat session allows you to get instant feedback on your services, which helps you improve them in the future.
Considering the modern pace of life, consumers often shop online late in the evening, so they expect 24/7 assistance. Many online stores can’t afford to hire customer support specialists that will serve 24/7. AI-based chatbots are the best solution. Modern chatbots can be trained to answer simple questions about products and services, so your potential buyers will stay more engaged with your store.
Omnichannel Customer Experience
According to research, 73% of online consumers use several channels for online shopping. So, having a well-established omnichannel strategy will help you improve user engagement across different e-commerce channels. For example, if you’re an offline seller, you need to go online. In case your main e-commerce channel has been a website, you should extend your digital presence by a mobile or cross-platform e-commerce solution.
Among the essential benefits of omnichannel experience are:
- Personalized user experience. Knowing your customers’ preferences, you’ll be able to personalize your customer’s journey. Omnichannel experience helps satisfy the demands of any customer, no matter what channel they prefer for online purchasing.
- Enhanced brand awareness. By establishing an omnichannel e-commerce experience, you extend the opportunities to spread the word about your brand to consumers.
Video-based capabilities significantly increase conversion rates. For example, you can provide a video chat with a salesperson in real-time to help shoppers choose the products they are looking for. With such a personalized approach, consumers will feel like they purchased from a traditional offline store.
Co-browsing is another technology that empowers better customer engagement. It allows e-commerce specialists to communicate with customers’ browsers in real-time. The specialists can view the customer’s screen, which helps them identify the issue and guide customers interactively.
Here’s how visual engagement tools can increase user engagement:
- Prevent brand ghosting. If customers fail to find the necessary products and have problems with completing a purchase, they simply abandon shopping carts and go to another store. Co-browsing and video chats help reduce cart abandonment.
- Assisting with complicated processes. Consumers often face issues with transaction processing or complicated checkout scenarios. Browsing with customers allows you to assist buyers to complete such processes.
E-Commerce CMS Solutions vs Custom Development
Pros and Cons of Custom E-Commerce Software
Building a custom software solution makes sense for companies that require complete control over their e-commerce strategies and processes. You can hire PHP developers not only to develop the e-commerce platform from scratch but also to scale it with other features when needed.
- You aren’t limited in the capabilities of your future e-commerce platform and you can design it in accordance with your business and customer needs.
- There is no middleman between your software solution and your business.
- You don’t need to purchase licenses, which saves your money.
- You can build a scalable solution that will grow with your business.
- A custom e-commerce platform requires significant time and human resources, so it may be expensive for smaller businesses.
E-Commerce CMS Solutions
Out-of-the-box e-commerce solutions are designed to serve potential use cases typical for the industry. This approach may be better for online retailers with common B2C or B2B processes.
- You get access to out-of-the-box features with no need to invest in research, development, and testing.
- You don’t need to think about security certificates and other measures because vendors are responsible for ensuring this protection.
- Implementing a vendor-based e-commerce CMS solution reduces cost and time to market.
- It lacks flexibility in adding new functionality.
- It’s controlled by the vendor.
- You have to purchase a plan that includes features you may never use.
E-commerce businesses that are focused on sales only won’t be successful. The key objective is to engage customers in your brand and make them want to be loyal to your brand. Modern consumers expect personalized services and to be treated as unique customers. Thus, customers would prefer brands that will invest in e-commerce personalization. If your e-commerce business focuses on personalization techniques, you should implement custom solutions that will serve the unique needs of your business and customers.