Selling is no longer about ‘selling’, it’s about the experience. Customers’ needs and behaviors are driving our marketing and brand positioning. Now, more than ever, it’s about far more than your products. Retail is holistic; a complex ecosystem of exchange and communication.
While bricks and mortar stores are utilizing AR and AI to bring the tech-side inside and meet customer needs, increasingly eCommerce is having to focus on making every touch point personnel. For online stores, the key to keeping your ecosystem flourishing, and effective eCommerce marketing is the conversation.
But we’re making it real. When you have a conversation with a human in real life, you see them, you hear them, you pick their inflections and mannerisms. It’s about more than the words they speak. So, we’re going to take you beyond words, to help you deliver a comprehensive marketing conversation.
Appeal to the senses and engage authentically across different kinds of media. It can all be done with a Shopify store…
Make your reality, their reality
Visuals speak louder than words. There’s an emotional connection to images that transcends product information. AR is breaking down the barriers between our real and virtual worlds, allowing you to show customers just what your product is like in a way that makes them want to reach out and touch it. Imagine holding this. Imagine the feel of it on your skin. Imagine how it would look on your dining table. Real products that give the customer a sense of size, color and context make imagining all the easier. And, the desire to purchase all the greater.
Augmented reality is making it possible for your customers to get closer to an in-store experience online.
Create a conversation
It’s apparent in marketing and business across the board, we want an experience, not a ‘hard sell’. Customers are more than customers, they are consumers of brands. That means every element of your brand has to be part of the ‘experience’. Your voice, your values, your social media, your marketing, your content – it’s all creating a consumable experience. And, all creating opportunities for conversations. (Find out who you’re talking to. Discover your customer persona).
Conversations from customer to a customer can be just as powerful as your own eCommerce marketing. Encourage existing buyers to write reviews and share their experience with others. Your loyal customers can help you build a community of brand ambassadors. Shopify has an app integration specifically for customer rewards and loyalty schemes, to help build positive rapport, and see your brand as an interaction and exchange. Plus, don’t underestimate the mighty newsletter. Email marketing is still among the most effective and, if you use your data wisely, you can create personalized content to hook your audience.
After all, we’re attracted to brands that make us feel good about ourselves. The ones who speak to us like human beings, target us with curated content they know we’ll like, and share our values.
Chatting with chatbots
While you want to encourage conversation as part of the brand experience and to connect with your audience, there’s the question of time. It might seem oxymoronic to reference machine learning when we’re discussing a personalized approach to business. However, customer experience (especially for eCommerce) inherently contains this dual aspect. While we crave personality and human connection, we are also time-poor and constantly on-the-go. Speed is paramount when it comes to customer service. The faster you can react to a query or concern, the faster the conversion – and ultimately the more positive experience for your buyer.
Chatbots are fast, efficient and user-friendly. They use algorithms to provide responses immediately to customer queries. You might see them pop up in the corner of websites, as they help us to navigate sites or recommend products. That’s not all they do. They can go so so far as to enhance your brand and provide a great experience. The AI in chatbots can gather information quickly and adapt to users. It’s a fast (yes automated) way of staying personal.
After all, according to Gartner, 25% of customer service will rely on AI integrations by 2020. Plus, a survey carried out in 2017 revealed that 70% of customers had a positive response to chatbots, simply because they were faster than humans.
When using chatbots it’s all about tone: stay true to your brand and conversational. This is a living part of your business and one that responds to customers’ needs as a human would. Always test your bot extensively before rolling it out to your customer-facing site.
Show don’t tell
Today, 87% of online marketers are utilizing video content. It’s a trend that is continuing to soar. A third of our time online is spent watching a video. An incredible 72 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube alone. So, getting eyeballs on your brand means making video content an integral part of your marketing strategy.
Remember that most videos are watched without sound. The optimum length of a video depends on what platform you’re using. Instagram stands at the shortest, requiring snappy, attention-grabbing 8-10 second videos – but it’s been revealed that videos up to two minutes long have the best engagement rates. The reason video works so well is not just that’s it’s fast and easy to consume. But that it keeps things personal. You can build trust in your brand much faster and with more emotion with a video that shows your customers what you’re all about. You can be conversational, intelligent and creative. You can say to a customer: “we get you and we’re with you” simply by appealing to them on the medium they interact with the most.
Video is not restricted to social media. Research shows that having just one video on your homepage or landing page means that it is 53%more likely to appear on page one of a search engine results page.
Keep your brand consistent, keep it short and be authentic, and your audience will show up.
In case you haven’t heard, voice search is set to overtake manual search by 2020. Voice AI, like Siri and Alexa, is encouraging us all to ask our devices for answers using the spoken word. So much so, that it’s been predicted that more than half of all searches will be by voice by next year. So, that’s where marketers are focusing their attention now. Incorporating voice strategy into your over eCommerce marketing plan now will help you stay at the forefront and optimize your store for voice search.
Again, it’s all about the conversation. The search request: “do I need…?” on mobile has risen more than 60% over the last few years. We ask questions in a conversational tone, and so your store needs to be set up to meet these conversational requests. The reason that voice search is becoming so important for marketing? It’s what customers want. Out of those who own a voice-enabled speaker, more than half wanted to receive promotional offers and updates via their device.
By meeting voice-search needs, you not only stay visible but you implicitly communicate that you’re adapting to the needs of your audience.
Shopify is abundant with tools and apps to help you create clear, authentic conversations with customers. Exceptional engagement is just around the corner if you know what buttons to press.
If you’d like some help with your eCommerce marketing strategy or how to make Shopify work for you, get in contact with Shopify experts Orange Collar Media.