In the digital world, customers often expect their problems and requests to be met with near-enough immediate action and solutions. To do this well, retailers need to establish a solid customer engagement strategy that takes into account a number of actions including:
- Combining your online and offline efforts to create one consistent experience
- Using customer insights to construct tailored messages and product recommendations
- Humanising your approach to build genuine connections between your customers and the brand
- Building detailed buyer personas so you can understand your target audience better
- Creating a good working culture so your employees on the shop floor and customer service points are happy to deliver your message and help reach your goals, and testing this through mystery shopping
- Delivering good customer experiences by placing knowledgeable staff around the store who are willing to assist each customer with product answers and recommendations
With a strategy like this in place, retailers can create experiences that will wow customers and turn them into loyal fans. Here is how you can implement it.
Combine your online and offline efforts
Digital marketing campaigns are great to help drive store footfall and get customers talking about your brand. With a website or app, retailers can reach out to their audience with personalised ads that resonate well with their needs and interests. This could be through such approaches as:
- Emails or newsletters that suggest products related to their recent purchases
- Limited-time offers only happening in a store near them
- Reminder emails on items left in their baskets
- Loyalty reward offers
- Auto-generated birthday emails with discounts
- Instant notifications when a store near them has re-stocked an item on their wish list
This data will come from a customer’s browsing history, online questionnaires, or industry standard metrics.
By tailoring marketing messages, customers are presented with relevant products that improve their customer experience and push them to purchase. Asking customers to fill out an online or in-store questionnaire is a great way to improve engagement and get to the core of their likes and dislikes. For clothing or beauty retailers, this approach can help marketers understand sizes, allergies and preferences, allowing you to suggest specific products that will suit the customers skin or body.
The most important thing to remember is that the brand voice and personality needs to be consistent across all channels the customer may use. This includes social media, apps, the website and the in-store experience.
Take a human approach
Retailers should always address their audience with an authentic, relevant tone of voice rather than sounding generic or robotic. If you can, find someone in your business that is genuinely passionate about what they do and use them to design the brand voice. Get them to suggest messages on social media, blog posts or videos on emails so customers are receiving a consistent voice across every channel.
Creating a brand personality that resonates with your customers’ interests will help make the business relatable and likeable – but research is required to do this correctly. Buyer personas are a great way to begin this process, as they build profiles based on factors like:
- Family life
Retailers can ask their marketing team or an external market research company to create these profiles using questionnaires, or online data collected from loyal shoppers and avid communicators that already engage with your brand.
When you have settled on a brand personality and tone of voice, ensure it is used on all outputs, including social media posts, website copy and email marketing. This omni-channel consistency will help customers to view your business as one solid unit rather than disjointed departments.
It is important to note however, that while you are trying to be relatable and approachable you have to also maintain a level of professionalism. There are hundreds are international brands recognised for its humorous behaviour and witty replies on social media, but it can be taken too far at times, resulting in devastating repercussions. If you plan on being ‘sassy’ and playful on social media, understand where the line is and if in doubt, always play it safe.
Creating good customer experiences
All store assistants and customer service teams need to understand and deliver brand messages effortlessly. Whether this is over the phone, at the checkout desk or on the shop floor, every employee should understand what end goal the retailer is trying to achieve. Creating an excellent working culture between employees encourages this, as it builds up a dedicated workforce that is proud to work towards your success.
No matter how much someone is spending, every customer wants to feel valued when they are shopping. In store, staff should be willing to help every member that walks through the door, offering in-depth knowledge on the products and services. With this knowledge, staff members should be able to recommend the perfect product for each customer – this works particularly well in beauty, cosmetics and clothing. For the online marketplace, customers will need to feel like they ‘fit in’ with the brand and aren’t alienated by any messaging that greets them.
Designing useful ‘how to’ content can improve customer engagement even further, especially for businesses that have products that require some assembly or maintenance. Rather than allowing your customers to look elsewhere for how to use your products, create the content yourself and show that you understand what questions your customers want answering.
A good customer engagement strategy will always put the customer first, whether online or in store, focusing on their wants and needs, and ensure consistency across all platforms. In return, retailers will reap the rewards that come with a growing audience, interacting with the brand and staying loyal to their products and services.
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