Engaging Your Audience as an E-commerce Brand

November 6, 2015

In the words of Zig Ziglar, one of the foremost authorities on the art of Selling, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

Ziglar said this much before the birth of e-commerce, but it is so much relevant to the business today. An engaged customer, who has been listening to you and liked what he listens, eventually trusts you. So, when it comes to business, you feature at the very top of the list.

As Brennan Loh, head of business development for Shopify, puts it, “Customer engagement is the future of e-commerce.” For e-commerce brands, the importance of customer engagement cannot be overstated, the question is, how to do it effectively?

In this post, I present you with 4 simple steps to implement a customer engagement strategy with your e-commerce brand.

Being Human!

Every brand has a distinct personality if your doesn’t then you are doing it wrong. The personality converts into tone when an interaction is held and the latest trend today is to give a human face to your interactions.

Jeff Bezos is the face of Amazon and Tony Hsieh of Zappos, your company may or may not have a famous face, but it will still have people. People with names and identities of their own. Use them in your conversations with the customer. A customer will always contact you in the times of extreme emotions; overjoy or distress. In both the scenarios talking to a person is a much better and fulfilling experience.

Create the content your audience wants

An engaged audience is more than some prospective customers. They are a community. The key to creating great content lies in the balance of three factors –
(1) something that your audience likes,
(2) something that is related to your brand and,
(3) it adds value to the readers.

Shopify creates content that is not limited to the company.  The Shopify Blog features post touching upon the pain points of the e-commerce industry in general and the ways it can help the small and medium players in there.

ASDA does it through their YouTube channel, Mum’s Eye View. They had a fair idea that they cannot get enough followers on the brand channel, so they created something that mattered to their customers. The have benefitted immensely by their video content marketing tactic and get new views and followers with every video they upload, without fail, every Friday.

mums eye view

For beginners, content ideas are sometimes difficult to come by, especially considering the factors mentioned above. There is a brilliant presentation shared by Mark Johnstone from Distilled Creative, about ideas and the ways to get them.

One beautiful example, I would like to quote is of mrporter.com. Mr. Porter runs a journal  featuring interviews and talks of famous personality such as Mr. Jose Maurinho or the latest Mr. Brunello Cucinelli. Aided with aspirational high definition photos and videos, the interview page resembles any reputed magazine in look and feel. Once the user gets in the mood, the website subtly puts its product line of related items in the suggestions ticker. No hard selling, still better conversions than most others in the game.

Use social media to build a community

Social media has given us an opportunity that we have been craving for so long, a channel for conversation. The opportunity to interact with the customer on a real time basis is the place to ignite engagement in it’s true sense.

A strong social presence enables you to slice and dice the content you create, make it snackable and reach out to your audience through it. People share stuff online that matters to them, hence when you create content that matters to your audience and provide them in a format that is easy for them to digest, they share it. It not only increases your brand reach but also adds one more person (the guy who shared) to your community.

Here are some beautiful examples of brands just killing it with the social media channels:

Made Instagram

Gap on Vine

I have quoted examples of lesser used social networks than Facebook and Twitter intentionally. Marketing on Twitter and Facebook have become one of the hygiene factors in the digital space while these present an organic and untapped opportunity for brands.

On Site Engagement

There has been an interesting trend in the e-commerce space, at least from the time people started focusing on customer engagement as a strategy. Companies work tooth and nail to enhance the engagement with their audience at wherever (s)he is but surprisingly do nothing when the visitor is on the website.

It was more of a limitation than negligence because it becomes practically impossible to create separate landing pages and customized offers for each segment of visitors. Thankfully, today with tools such as WebEngage and a few others, it has become possible and easy.

Nowadays you can target your visitors on the basis of traffic source, device used, geography and many other discrete and important factors and show them offers and messages that are relevant to them. Onsite engagement has not just became a reality but an important tool in the e-commerce marketer’s arsenal.

We just loved how Jumia, one of our beloved clients used us for the Christmas sale:


In fact some of our clients, have taken targeting and onsite engagement to a whole different level. A shining example is how Shine.com, an online recruitment, and job portal urged its users to update their profiles and promote offers and jobs relevant to them. Here it is: How Shine Used WebEngage To Increase Conversions By 8%

What’s more

With the increasing competition in the coming times, an engaged customer would be the only one likely to realize its lifetime value, which stands as the single most important of profitability of an e-commerce business. Hence, the value and opportunity that customer engagement brings on the table cannot be overemphasized and the time to do it is, now.

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