Ways to Enhance Customer Participation in Retail

Every retailer must have it as part of its key goal to build and increase customer engagement. In order to accomplish this, retailers must proactively reach-out to their customers across channel by keeping an eye on what customers perceive as valuebrand consistency and the overall customer experience.

That means delivering an exclusive and un-matched experience for your customers at physical locations and while incorporating innovative eCommerce hooks that make you stand out. Here are some tips to get your customers engaged, involved and connect to help build your business to a retail revolution.

Involved customer engagement from the door to the store
For any brick-and-mortar store, it becomes key to engage customers as soon as they step into the door. The fact that majority of the customers while in –store access their mobile devices to compare prices or read reviews — means that you might be losing a certain amount of engagement to the online world already.

That’s why it is pertinent to have a first mover advantage while reaching out to your customers through mobile commerce (m-commerce) strategies. This can be accomplished with in-store beacons. These beacons provide geo-targeted advertisingdiscounts and coupons that help customers stay engaged in your self-contained universe. If you are thinking about investing in beacons, make sure you send relevant, personalised information to your target audiences or you will miss the expected engagement.

Jumpstart eCommerce with sCommerce
While physical stores are extremely important, companies need to keep their focus on the eCommerce world as well. The best way is to start engaging with customers. Social commerce (s-commerce) helps you to create conversation about your brand that fuels customer engagement online.

Here are some innovative ways to increase social engagement for your business:

i. Get personal with customers to create an ecosystem where your company is the focus. Recognize loyal customers online with the "@" reply function on Twitter so they get a bit of recognition. On Facebook, tag customers who like your products, cross-promote with other brands, and give out rewards to random customers who like or comment on your business.

ii. Leverage mCommerce with sCommerce strategies. For example, if you’re an apparel retailer, encourage customers to take photos of the clothes they try and share with friends and family online.

iii. Use photos as much as possible. Facebook studies have shown that photos are by far the most engaging content, generating an 87 percent interaction rate from users. Posts with only text or links performed poorly, generating 4 percent interaction.

iv. Social media is increasingly a platform where customers voice complaints and concerns, and 42 percent customers expect a reply within an hour of a complaint. It is important to be abreast on customer comments so that customers feel owned.

If some of these tips are still a bit far from the reality of your stores, maybe you should think about upgrading your legacy systems, since good customer service needs to be supported by next generation point-of-sale. Examples of basic functionalities that will empower your store associates are cross-store stock visibility, detailed customer informationrich product search or mobile capabilities.

Authored By: Marco de Vries, CEO, Openbravo

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