The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Customer Engagement
How do you take customer engagement to the next level?
At flexEngage, we work with retailers from all over the country to provide targeted solutions that help improve both in-store customer engagement and the post-purchase experience. And along the way, we’ve picked up plenty of tips and tricks that companies can use to keep their customers engaged, satisfied, and coming back for more.
In this guide, we’re taking a look at some of the most impactful things that you can do as a retailer to provide your customers with a fully optimized experience, from digital receipts and e-comm notifications to better tracking notifications and personalized transactional communications.
Along the way, we hope that you discover plenty of new ways to improve customer journey communication and all that comes along with it, with plenty of proactive retailer engagement solutions that you can use regardless of your industry.
At the heart of our solutions is a commitment to the three R’s of successful retail engagement: resonance, relevance, and reliability, all of which form the foundation of what customers want retailers to deliver to them.
Whether you’re looking to retain more customers, boost store reviews, or optimize your marketing efficiency (or all three!), keep reading for helpful insight and tricks that can help you make it happen.
The Benefits of Digital Receipts
As one of the industry’s leading e-receipt companies, we’ve not only been at the forefront of introducing digital receipt technology but have also seen firsthand how this sort of innovation can help with things like bridging the gap between physical and online retail locations and providing customers with a more responsive purchasing experiencing.
There are a lot of reasons why so many retailers are making the switch to electronic receipts, including a number of key benefits that are essential to achieving your profit goals.
Some of the biggest benefits of digital receipts include:
- Reduced overhead costs
- Alignment with consumer preferences
- Improved post-purchase marketing
- Better sustainability and reduced environmental impact
So how do you make sure that your retail business is making the most of these benefits? It all comes down to following e-receipt best practices, which encompass things like including calls to actions (CTAs) in your digital receipts and timing your e-receipts so that they go out right at the point of sale.
What is flexTracker and How Can It Help Your Business?
Another solution that we offer that has been hugely instrumental in increasing customer engagement is flexTracker, a cost-effect digital delivery tracking system that includes an on-brand tracking page fully personalized to each individual customer’s needs.
With flexTracker, retailers can easily provide shoppers with a one-stop resource for tracking their order from checkout to delivery, with additional (and customizable) features that increase engagement and the chance of a future sale—such as product recommendations, loyalty incentives, shopper surveys, promotions, and more.
What can it do for you? Some of the immediate benefits of flexTracker include:
Building Loyalty: Encourage loyalty participation and activations by taking the guesswork out of signing up for and utilizing loyalty programs.
Driving Incremental Revenue: Capture additional revenue through visual product recommendations that are perfectly personalized based on a customer’s shopping preferences and behavior.
Delivering Real-Time Communication: Give customers the real-time updates they want, all from your branded page.
According to Pro Ship, 97% of consumers want to be able to monitor their orders throughout every single stage of the shipping process. flexTracker ensures that you provide this service, all while offering your business additional opportunities to satisfy and retain existing customers.
How to Keep a Customer-Centric Approach
The secret to any great retail business: put your customers first. This has been especially true throughout 2020 and into 2021, when the global pandemic introduced a “homebody economy” and greatly reduced instances of face-to-face interactions.
Pandemic aside, you never know when the next crisis will happen—or what it will mean for your customer relationships. Your best bet is to prioritize a customer-centric plan at all times, so that when and if the next big disruption hits your business can not only survive but can also thrive until things even out again.
Some customer-centric best practices are already quite well-known, including:
- Adapting to personalization
- Focusing on what customers want
- Keeping lines of communication open
- Putting retention first
But there are also new practices that came to light in the past year or so and that are expected to have long-term staying power long after the return to normal:
- Minimizing lines
- Providing a seamless curbside experience
- Curating merchandise layout, especially the digital shelf
- Contactless checkouts
- Creating an easy and festive online experience
The more you can put into practice now, the better off you’ll be today—as well as in the future.
How to Collect Email Subscribers and Boost Reviews
Email newsletters, promotions, and other outreach campaigns are key for gathering reviews (and using them to drive retail traffic and sales). They’re also one of your single best tactics for maintaining strong communications with current and potential customers.
Of course, in order to have effective email engagement and the benefits that come along with it, you need to be able to efficiently and organically collect subscribers. There are a number of ways to do it, but we find that most retailers have success following these five steps:
- Ask for contact information at checkout.
- Use website forms to collect email addresses.
- Run raffles and other types of giveaways.
- Run online and in-store referral campaigns.
- Utilize social media ads, particularly Facebook ads.
Best yet, do all of these steps together to see just how quickly you can increase your contact list and all of the engagement that comes with it.
How to Engage Shoppers and Drive In-Store Traffic
We may be seeing the takeover of the digital economy, but that doesn’t make in-store customer experiences any less important.
In the age of Amazon, it’s crucial that your retail business has a plan in place for driving and maintaining in-store traffic and meeting shopper demands. Some of the most impactful ways to cover both ends of the spectrum are to embrace your customers’ need and preference for technology within your physical store, as well as to provide more personalization, consistency, and streamlined experiences wherever possible.
Today’s consumers want many of the same things, from intentional technologies to seamless, cross-channel shopping experiences. How you make this happen depends on your own goals and resources, but there are lots of options at your disposal. For example, you may choose to invest in a retail clienteling program, or you may look for ways to better excel with in-store queues (such as the nine types of queues that are most relevant in a retail environment).
Similar to other tips and best practices, you want to diversify when it comes to the in-store experience, offering targeted improvements in various areas to show your customers just how much you value both their business and the relationship that you have with them.
How to Adapt to 2021 Trends
Retail is evolving. And whether you adapt—plus how you do it—will play a big role in your performance going forward.
It’s normal for new retail trends to pop up. What makes 2021’s trends different is that they’re based in a rapid and total transformation of the retail environment as we know it, representing a near immediate shift in what consumers expect and how retailers can meet those expectations.
Among the recent trends that will be most important to your ongoing customer engagement strategy, pay close attention to things like:
- Increases in online shopping
- Changes to in-store traffic and behavior
- The rise of contactless interactions
There is no single solution for adapting to all of these trends at once. Instead, we expect to see a number of new strategies stick around for the long haul, including line queuing, dynamic inventory management, and more customer controlled interactions. Other unique adaptations—such as AR and VR experiences and on-site tailoring services—will be dependent on your industry and customer base, though it’s worth exploring all that’s available in light of 2021’s shifting retail landscape.
2021 Grocery Technology Trends
All industries saw huge changes as a result of the pandemic, but especially the grocery industry.
Pandemic or not, we all need to eat, and grocery stores were forced to push their technology to the next level seemingly overnight. This entailed the rapid adoption of contactless communications with customers, including contactless payment solutions like digital receipts and cashier-free checkout lanes, plus widespread use of online grocery ordering.
Along the way, these technologies went from necessity to preference, with customers actually asking for these conveniences over previous types of engagement. And perhaps most important, 2021’s grocery trends forced grocers to act more like traditional retailers, picking up a number of retail lessons that they’d previously been able to ignore.
Gone are the days of grocery stores twiddling their thumbs when it comes to things like curbside pick-ups and digital-first engagement. Grocers today understand that they have to act a lot more like traditional retailers if they want to compete, and that includes making swift changes in line with their shoppers’ evolving needs.
We’re always here to help your retail business realize its maximum customer engagement potential. Learn more about our company and our products, and discover for yourself how our custom-made transactional communications can reduce churn for your brand.
Our vision is to turn as many retail transactions as possible into valuable data that you can put to use for meaningful engagement. Some of the ways we make it happen:
Contact us today to learn more, and get on the path to improved, impactful, and impressive customer interactions!