Combining Customer Service & Social Media

Whether you’re an ecommerce or retail company, you’ll need a social media presence working alongside your corporate website in order to remain competitive. However, you shouldn't restrict your company's social media activity to marketing and advertising - there is a lot to be gained from using social media to extend your customer service capabilities. When properly executed, social media customer service programs can confer the following advantages.
    

Improved brand perception & customer relations

Because the feature provides a convenience to most consumers, offering customer support through social media is a great competitive differentiator. It's also an excellent opportunity to engage with customers - even the ones who don't need support. By promptly responding to customer issues on social media, you're demonstrating your commitment to customer service to all your followers (not just the ones who need assistance).  

Cost savings

According to a report from the Harvard Business Review, responding to a customer on social media can cost less than $1 per interaction, compared to an average of $6 per telephone interaction. If you’re improving customer retention on top of those savings, you can make a noticeable impact on your overall bottom line.

Product & business improvements

When it comes to social media, you get what you put into it. When a company regularly engages their customers on social media (through customer service or by posting responses and original content) those customers feel heard and appreciated. This makes them much more likely to share candid feedback, questions and complaints. Use this information to better understand your customers, improve your services, and fine-tune your marketing messages.

9 Tips to Lower Cart Abandonment Rates

Cart abandonment is one of the most common ways ecommerce sites lose sales. It’s a ubiquitous problem that happens to even the best sites. But fortunately, there are many features and preventative measures you can implement to improve sales and the customers’ experience.

Be clear on the final cost

Many ecommerce sites notice a huge bounce rate once a customer begins the checkout process and sees the final order total - especially if it has increased since the checkout process started. Since increases are usually due to shipping costs, include an estimated shipping fee as early as possible in the checkout process. Or, eliminate shipping charges altogether.

Don't force shoppers to create an account

Forcing a new customer to create an account with your website before completing a purchase has its pros and cons. While account creation helps you track user behavior and preferences, the process can be perceived as an inconvenience - plus, it adds another layer to what should be the simplest part of your website. In addition to adding "guest" or "express" features to your checkout process, try allowing shoppers to easily create an account via their social media login to ensure that your account base continues to grow.
    

Emphasize Security

In this day and age, customers want assurance that their financial data is safe. Highlight the security features of your site so customers can confidently complete a transaction.

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Alternative payment options like Google Wallet, Amazon Payments, PayPal, etc. help simplify the checkout process, come with built-in security features, and cater to shopper preferences.

Accommodate mobile users

Customers are using mobile devices more than ever before. If your checkout process is confusing or cumbersome on mobile devices, then your cart abandonment rate will likely increase. A responsive design that works on all screen sizes can solve this issue.

Highlight customers support options

Every action in the checkout should be easy to find – especially support options like FAQs, live chat, and other customer service features. Make sure they are clearly available during each stage of checkout.

Auto-apply Coupons

Shoppers become understandably frustrated when they get deep into the checkout process only to find that their discount code doesn’t apply to their order. If your store is having a sale or offering a particular discount, automatically apply the coupon code at checkout, or display coupon codes in a site-wide banner for customers.

Include options to modify orders

Make sure customers can change the quantity, color, size, and other attributes of the items in their order without having to leave the checkout.

Maintain site stability and speed

If your checkout process crashes or loads too slowly, it’s going to cost you sales. Make sure to test it thoroughly and account for potential user actions, like using the browser’s back button.

Retargeting Strategies that you should be Using

Retargeting, aka remarketing, can be a great customer acquisition strategy for many ecommerce businesses. If you analyze the traffic on your site, you probably see a trend of users browsing your site, but not making a purchase. A retargeting strategy uses cookies to track user behavior. Based on this usage data, visitors will start to see designated advertisements for your site across the web.
    
While you could run a remarketing strategy "set it and forget it" style, there are simple changes you can make to show users more relevant and compelling ads. Use these tips to refine your retargeting strategies to be more effective.

Customize your ads as much as possible

One of biggest strengths of remarketing is that ads are shown to users who are already interested in your products. Showing them generic ads for your brand is wasted potential. Instead, advertise items that users are likely to be interested in based on what sections/product pages of your site they spent the most time viewing. This strategy can be especially effective at addressing cart abandonment.

Retarget on social media

Social media sites are the most highly trafficked spaces online, so your remarketing ads are more likely to get exposure there. Plus, sites like Twitter and Facebook have advertising options that are perfectly suited for the growing audience of mobile users.

Use incentives to drive action

Remarketing targets users who have already demonstrated an interest in your site. Sometimes, the right promotional offer is all that's needed to get them to complete a transaction. For repeat customers, try serving ads speaking to brand loyalty with special offers to reactivate their buying cycle.

How to Enhance the Customer Experience

Ecommerce businesses have access to a humongous audience. But getting a hold of the attention and trust of customers (and keeping it) in an industry packed with competitors is nothing short of challenging. That's why focusing on the customer experience your company offers is critical for standing out from competitors and retaining customers. Below are some tips for enhancing the foundations of your customer experience efforts.
    

Start with staffing

As representatives of your company, customer service staff can be a defining factor in the customer experience your business is known for. Give your current staff the authority and flexibility to come up with novel solutions that satisfy customers, then grow the team by looking for candidates who can use their creativity and customer-empathy to make the most of that flexible environment.

Be proactive with information

Even if you don't have the fastest shipping or the best order incentives, the value that clear and easy-to-find information adds to the customer experience is paramount. Make sure that your shipping fees, returns policy, and other information that customers would want to know before ordering is understandable and available. The same principles should apply to your methods for data collection. Since personal and financial data privacy is so important to users, be as clear as possible with customers about the data you collect, how it is used, and how it is protected.

Make your return policy more convenient

A good return policy is a great way to emphasize your commitment to the customer experience while improving brand perception and customer trust. By easily accepting returns, you’re showing customers that you stand behind your products and that you’re willing to fix any issues that cause returns.

How to Get More Multi-Unit Sales

Every order placed on an ecommerce site generates expenses for order processing, packaging, and shipping. But when an order consists of multiple units, those expenses make less of an impact on the seller because the added price margin of those additional units increases overall profit. Use these ideas to entice sellers into buying additional units – allowing you to offset shipping and fulfillment expenses and maintain competitive pricing.
    

Minimum Order Discounts

You can use other coupons or discounts in place of free shipping, but according to a survey from UPSPulse of the Online Shopper, 93% of online shoppers are willing to take action in order to qualify for free shipping – so it’s perhaps the most effective incentive (it’s also more directly related to the costs you’re trying to offset). Amazon.com’s famously successful “free shipping on orders more than $35” is a great example. If your ecommerce site sells lots of low-margin items, this type of strategy may work especially well because customers will have an easier time adding units without overshooting the minimum order requirement too much.

Add-ons & Upsells

Use personalization algorithms to offer additional units based on items that customers have just purchased, or purchased over time. If customer data is unavailable, the next best thing is to offer upsells based on seasonality, since seasonal items are more likely to have universal appeal. This strategy also works very well with minimum orders – adding a “suggested items” section to your shopping cart page can help customers find products they can add to reach the minimum order size.

Product Bundles

Instead of asking your customers to add extra items to their carts, do it for them by bundling units together. Your ability to assemble product kits that appeal to customers will depend on the products you have to work with, but this is a common strategy for boosting multi-unit sales of nutritional supplements or other consumable type products.