How to Increase Customer Engagement in Retail Stores?
Customer experience goes well beyond the purchase of a product that satisfies shoppers. To create an experience that promotes attachment to your brand – or customer loyalty – it is crucial to work on building a meaningful relationship where people who visit your store feel valued. Engaging with your customers shows them you are dedicated to their needs and that their trust is your priority. What is engagement, exactly? How to increase customer engagement around your brand? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Engagement?
Customer engagement is a process by which a business interacts with customers to strengthen their relationship. Since it is done on a large scale, this approach requires a well-defined strategy that typically relies on marketing and communication through a variety of channels, both online and offline. This means you can engage your customers via social media, websites, email, community forums, and, of course, directly on location.
At VusionGroup, we’re partial to the latter. That’s why we designed the VUSION Engage solution, which allows you to use the benefits of digital labeling to your advantage when creating your customer engagement strategy.
Why Is Customer Engagement Important
What is engagement supposed to accomplish, as opposed to relying on the superiority of your products and services to encourage customers to be loyal to your brand?
A good, long-lasting relationship – of any kind – starts with mutual understanding. Between a business and its customers, such foundations can only be achieved through a conscious effort on the part of the company to meet the customers and anticipate their needs. Emphasizing customer engagement and making sure you give yourself the means to monitor customer feedback and adapt your practices accordingly is a crucial step toward building customer loyalty. This method also allows you to offer a strong customer experience that will, in turn, increase the shoppers’ satisfaction.
Another aspect of customer engagement is brand awareness. When your visitors feel included and their voices are heard, they develop an attachment to your company and are more likely to recommend it to others. Pairing your marketing campaigns with responsive customer support and an active approach to customer engagement is key when it comes to reaching new prospects.
And last but not least, working to increase customer engagement also serves to reduce customer acquisition costs. This is because customer retention – which is greatly facilitated by customer engagement – is much cheaper than acquiring new customers.
How to Increase Customer Engagement in Retail Stores: The Strategies That Work
Having a solid customer engagement strategy can enhance your customers’ experience and help you measure their engagement levels. This, in turn, can help you identify ways to improve their engagement and ultimately boost your business.
Put data at the center of your customer engagement strategy
Collecting feedback from your customers and gathering real-time data from digital campaigns or in-store sensors is crucial. This information is valuable for making informed decisions and increasing customer engagement. You can also involve internal and external stakeholders who can report on how the actions you have implemented are performing.
Use this data to reassess your customer engagement approach as you track your progress. This will allow you to keep up with customer expectations as they evolve over time and tweak your strategy dynamically.
Use an engagement marketing strategy geared toward you and your customers
Increasing your customer engagement should be done as organically as possible. Inauthentic efforts likely won’t yield positive results. It’s important to build your engagement marketing strategy around your brand voice, your business model, and what your customers best respond to. If you don’t have a physical location of your own, pop-up events could be a valid answer to your customers’ need to interact with your products and chat with your experts. If you have stores, on the contrary, you could use the space as somewhere to land for customers who get to know you from your social media campaigns.
The idea is to integrate every asset at your disposal to create a well-rounded experience where customers feel that you’re meeting them where they are. Take advantage of high-foot-traffic areas to display prompts and QR codes so the experience can continue after the customers leave, incentivize engagement by offering loyalty programs and rewards, etc.
Focus on creating personalized experiences
No customer wants to feel like a cog in a well-oiled machine. They want to feel valued as individuals, and the way you engage them should reflect that. With digital campaigns, you can use algorithms to determine what each person likes and dislikes, what their interests are, and what type of promotions they respond well to.
Brick-and-mortar stores can rely on loyalty programs and use the power of data to create “customer profiles”. Based on the day of the week or the time of day, your visitors will have different expectations: understanding what drives them allows you to optimize your customer engagement strategy.
Engage your customers in real time
However useful social media may be for cultivating an active presence in your customers’ lives, they are never as engaged as when they are in your store, actively browsing or shopping. This makes it the best time to reach out, as they are already open to your message.
VUSION Engage allows you to deliver impactful messages at the shelf, reaching shoppers as they are considering buying a product. You can also use VUSION Engage to run digital campaigns and monetize in-store touchpoints, all while analyzing how your marketing actions affect sell-through. This real-life and real-time data on shoppers’ engagement lets you know exactly what’s happening in the aisles and allows you to offer dynamic content, bringing your store to life and generating cross-sell opportunities.
The VUSION technology can be extended to an end cap display to help you get the most out of your in-store foot traffic and capitalize on high-traffic areas. Thanks to beautiful large displays, you can capture the shoppers’ attention and use automation to keep them engaged.
Optimize customer support
Customer support shouldn’t begin and end in a purchase. To increase customer engagement, you need to show up reliably, consistently, and via different channels. Help desks, forums, social media, your website (chatbots, etc.), in-store digital panels, dedicated staff at physical locations… Use every opportunity to create meaningful interactions. Shoppers need to feel supported and validated, and showing that you care about their satisfaction will give you a competitive edge.