An initial contact between yourself and your customers will involve them visiting your store and possibly making a purchase. However, once the transaction has been completed, you shouldn't look at it as the end of your interaction until that person next visits your store. While there is a strong chance that customers will visit your store again if they found the products and customer service of a good standard. engaging with your customers on a regular basis increases the likelihood that they will return.
This engagement can come in a number of different forms such as newsletters, surveys and other promotional material. Each of these should be sent to your customers possibly once or twice a month, informing them of the goings on with your store such as new products, sales and any changes that are occurring. If you do decide to carry out one of these techniques, what should you include in each one?
How many people your online store employs and the time you wish to spend creating a newsletter will dictate what you include. If you wish to spend a lot of time making a newsletter that is of a high quality, you may wish to include interviews, advertisements and other information. If you are struggling with ideas for an interview, you could look to interview one of your customers asking them what pitfalls they have found when purchasing online and how they found your overall service. This way they will be providing readers with some helpful information regarding online buying, while still giving your online business some positive PR. However, if you do not have the time to do anything extravagant, you can look to create a simple newsletter which will include basic information about what is going on in your store, promotions that your store currently runs and any new items that you have recently added to your listings.
Whether you decide to create an in depth or basic newsletter, one thing you should include in both of them is substantial amount of links. The more links you have within a newsletter, the more levels of interactivity you are going to create. For example, if you are telling readers about new products in your store, provide a link to the area of your store that has these new items. The newsletter should also contain a link to your store front as well as links to your various Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts.
This is the bread and butter of customer engagement. After a customer has made a purchase from your online store, you should look to send them a survey between one and two weeks after they have made the purchase. This survey should ask the customer how they found various aspects of the purchasing experience such as customer service, delivery and the product itself. Allowing your customer to give you feedback makes them feel like a much more valued customer, increasing the likelihood of them returning in the future. Not only that, this feedback will also allow you to alter your own store's service to ensure that you eradicate the cause of any negative comments.
If you find that only a small handful of the customer surveys you send out are actually being completed and sent back, you may look to offer some form of incentive to encourage engagement. This could come in the form of a prize draw for everyone who completes the survey, allowing them to receive a free item, store credit or some other prize.
While this generally comes under the heading of email marketing, rather than making people aware of your store to encourage new customers, it is trying to encourage your already established customers to keep returning. This email could contain information about a sale which has just been launched on your ecommerce or eBay store, a new range of products that have just been added or items that will be added in the near future.
Like the customer survey, you may wish to offer your already established customers some form of incentive to return to your store. As the email contains promotional information about specific products, you may wish to provide a link in the email that takes customers to a landing page, allowing them to purchase the items at a discount or even purchase the items before they go on general sale. Allowing already established customers to purchase items from your store before the general public, greatly increases customer relationships, making them feel more valued and satisfied customers.
Another form of customer relationship building that should be carried out on a regular basis is social media interaction. Unlike newsletters, surveys and other interaction emails, you should be looking to interact with customers via social media literally every day. What you can post on social media accounts is literally up to you. This form of social commerce allows you to upload images of your products, post articles or status updates that encourage engagement. Social media is a much more open platform than email interaction and is the engagement tool which is going to have the best results as it is something customers use numerous times a day.
While it is important to encourage as many people as you possibly can to visit your store, you shouldn't forget about your customers once they have made a purchase. It is these customers who are going to dictate how many future customers purchase from your store through their feedback and positive endorsements through word of mouth and social media shares.
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