Real-Time Customer Engagement Is the Key on Online Success

May 30, 2016

12:00 pm

Customer engagement demands personalization; marketers are responding through real-time effort. Globally, 58 percent of marketers use real-time, data-driven personalization. Among the 42 percent not using it, 80 percent intend to do so within the next twelve months.

The April polling by Researchscape also found that websites were the principal conduit for real-time personalization with 44 percent of the users. Only 17 percent of respondents used mobile sites while 13 percent used web apps, and 9 percent mobile apps.

With metrics that show the real-time revolution happening and the competition exploring this “new” trend, entrepreneurs need to focus on offering personalized real-time engagement with their site’s visitors.

When an entrepreneur has a thorough understanding of what makes for excellent and personalized real-time engagement, there are three concerns left to tackle:

  • Does the business have a mobile-friendly site?
  • Are shipping and receiving understood when it comes to ROI?
  • Is there a reliable order fulfillment system in place?

Mobile-Friendly Site

Over 16 percent of all ecommerce is managed through a mobile device. To boost conversions, the first step is to determine if a large segment of your customer base shops on your site through mobile devices and what devices customers are using.

Once those metrics have been mined through a study of your Google Analytics account, it’s time to create an app. For a site with a substantial quantity of established customers, or people that make multiple impulse buying choices, it is crucial to create a mobile app that makes it simple to buy with a minimum of finger taps.

To be mobile-friendly, the site must have a responsive design. If using WordPress as the ecommerce platform, you can get a responsive design then customize it for your eCommerce site. If you don’t desire to design a new theme, or don’t utilize WordPress, a developer can be engaged to design the site.

The primary thing is to find out what mobile devices are being used and then present a fabulous user experience. That’s all there is to make your eCommerce site mobile friendly.

Shipping & Returns and a Little Known Secret

Free shipping and indulgent return policies have expanded online retail. Businesses are scouring that data to get more buyers to keep more purchases.

Concealed within the swell in e-commerce fulfillment is a secret: As many as one-third of all Internet transactions gets returned according to online retail consulting company Kurt Salmon.

The problems grow steep during the holidays; that’s when returns peak. In 2015, chains shoveled through previous transactions to block out habitual returners and train shoppers how to make better choices and diminish buyer’s regret.

An example: a consumer who has continuously bought the same brand of dress shirts in both small and medium may see a pop-up stating: “Are you sure you want to order the small? The last four times you ordered both sizes, you only kept the medium.”

Some shoppers might not like the idea of being told they need a larger size, but Rue La La’s CEO, Steve Davis, hasn’t seen any negative feedback.

“We’re not judging,” said Davis. “We’re just exposing data we know will help shoppers make wise decisions.

Retailers are focusing on high-frequency returners like Paula Cuneo. Cuneo, 54, recently ordered ten pairs of corduroy pants in a variety of sizes and colors from Gap’s website. She returned seven of them. Ms. Cuneo stated she understands the high costs retailers absorb the returns, but said “retailers’ lenient shipping policies drove her” to shop more. “I feel justified,” she said. “I am the customer.”

At Modnique, returned and canceled items comprise 15 percent of revenue. Customer service agents at Modnique are given a daily allotment to appease customers. The agents can use discounts, gift cards, and other offers to please shoppers that may call in with a problem.

“Sometimes the returned products costs us more,” said Modnique’s CEO, Einaras von Gravrock. “This allows us to turn a challenge into a sale.”

Reliable Order Fulfillment Systems

It could be the ease of setting up an online store that paved the way for the growth of e-commerce as a business model. Many entrepreneurs leap feet-first into ecommerce and soon find the stress of marketing campaigns, managing suppliers and keeping on top of customer requests overwhelming. This gives way to many quitting the business and prompts the question:

“Is Ecommerce Viable for Small Businesses?”

Is the model flawed or inaccessible to small-size businesses? Or maybe is it that entrepreneurs are merely unprepared and neglecting ecommerce solutions? Usually, a lack of preparation is the answer.

Although the Internet provides new and exciting business opportunities, only businesses that set the right foundation will be successful. With ecommerce, many overlook finding a reliable order fulfillment services company that can help track parcel delivery and offer other shipping solutions.

Even when the company has exchanged emails with a potential customer, the buyer’s first real interaction with a brand is when they receive the product. How a business handles this will determine if the buyer is a customer-for-life or an angry prospect. Nick Robertson, the former-CEO of ASOS said”

“Logistics is 50 percent; if a customer places an order and doesn’t get it, that’s 100 percent failure.”

A bad delivery system leads to a weak customer experience and negatively impacts all of a firm’s marketing efforts. Despite this, some retailers leave selecting a fulfillment partner.

All of the market research and the greatest suppliers won’t matter if order fulfillment is ignored. With retailers providing next day delivery, customers are used to speedy, and precise delivery. Anything else leaves them cold.

Real-time marketing is boosting spending and businesses using real-time personalization are seeing good results. Thirty-seven percent saw a ten percent increase in conversions and 39 percent saw a lift as much as 30 percent.

Right now, the future for this business model looks promising.

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Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist.

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