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Revenue + Relationships: 7 Tactics for eCommerce Website Engagement


It happens to all of us in digital marketing, but nobody wants to admit it, so we’ll go first…

(Ugh.)  Okay, here goes:

Running a paid traffic campaign where each website or landing page visit costs your company, say, $5.78 (or whatever) is a standard and rational best-practice tactic to drive visitors to your eCommerce site.  Each paid visit is exciting – it validates all the work you put into planning, copywriting, and executing your campaign.  The trouble is, it can have a dark side.  Having a visitor click on your ad and then abandoning the page after maybe 11 seconds without taking any further action feels…crappy.  The visit was bought and paid for fair and square, but it was a missed opportunity because no engagement happened.  

The Evolution of eCommerce Website Engagement

Engagement as a success metric has grown up and is finally ready to make its way in the business world.  For eCommerce marketers, the soft and fluffy “likes” and “shares” of days gone by have been replaced by eCommerce website engagement metrics that are ready and able to demonstrate some breadwinning power.  

Think back to when marketers first added social media to our collective tool belts. Engagement was a word that, if we’re honest, got somewhat frivolously thrown around as a success measurement.  Most organizations would agree that likes, shares, and follows were a terrific thing – “people are engaging with our brand!”  There was no weight of expectation thrust upon this bouncing baby metric in those heady early days, only a general sense of excitement about its very existence.  While it was all rather electrifying at the time, the problem was that it wasn’t clear how all this newfound engagement would make hay for the brand.

Helpfully, technology has answered the call for us.  It’s no longer a problem gathering metrics with some meat on their bones, especially for eCommerce website engagement.  In fact, many of us now struggle to narrow the list of attribution metrics we measure our work by, but that’s a topic for a whole other article.  Today, what matters most to eCommerce brands is building meaningful and lasting relationships with their customers.  Happy, loyal customers are at the core of revenue growth and success measurement metrics such as average revenue per user (ARPU.)  Sure enough, at the very heart of that loyalty and growth lies our old friend, engagement.

7 Website Engagement Tactics for Growing Revenue

We’re in the eCommerce website engagement business in a big way over here. Throughout many client implementations and QBRs, we’ve compiled a list of seven points of engagement that will make a big difference to the success of your website personalization initiative.  The ideal way to go with these is to implement all of these tactics, but we get that resources may currently limit you; you should definitely still read on.

  1. Conversational Banner – Website banners remain a proven tool for driving engagement on websites of all types, especially eCommerce.  Be sure to take maximum advantage of this opportunity by adding smart banners to your site, powered by conversational AI.  If you’ve been wondering how to integrate conversational marketing into your work and have maybe been messing around with chatbots, this is a powerful level up.
  2. Product Recommendation Engine – We give these guys a hard time when they show up alone, but they make for an excellent team player.  If our choice of metaphor isn’t clear, we’re saying that a recommendation engine driven by zero-party data and implemented as part of a suite of solutions (not as a standalone!) becomes a powerful tool for website personalization, making helpful suggestions at each vital step of the buyer’s journey.  

Remember that effective personalization requires context.  Implemented on its own, a product recommendation engine can have the opposite of the intended effect.  As far as website engagement tools go, its reliance on past behavioural or third-party data for them to work means you run the risk of serving your visitors irrelevant or unavailable recommendations, potentially confusing the visitors and causing them to abandon the sale.

  1. Dynamic Conversational Landing Page – Landing pages without website personalization are only as good as their copywriting and their offer to the visitor.  If these factors don’t drive conversion, the opportunity is lost and likely erodes your ad spend return (ROAS).  Implementing conversational AI to your landing page experience triples your chance of converting each visitor on their first visit.
  2. “Right for You” Product Recommendation – Many eCommerce sites offer such a comprehensive product selection that it can inadvertently cause a visitor to…leave the site.  It seems counterintuitive, right?  You’re offering everything the person could need product-wise, but they end up exiting the website due to the paradox of choice.  There are many studies published on this, and the data demonstrates that when their choices are narrowed for them, consumers are ten times more likely to buy.  With this in mind, you can easily understand how having a website personalization engine that uniquely marks products as “Right for You” for each visitor helps them purchase sooner and with a higher average cart value.

Having said all that, make sure your tool is linked to your product catalog / inventory system, not just the users profile preferences.  Remember, the point of implementing all these points of personalization is to deliver a tailored and, above all, helpful user experience.  Recommending products that are out of stock is not helpful and introduces friction to the site visit.

  1. Bundle Builder – The “Find Your Routine” style of bundle-builder quiz is a compelling use case we’ve learned about from working with so many beauty brands, and it’s a well-tested play worth adapting to your own use case.  For example, a purchase such as a grill or smoker is a purchase that is a perfect fit for myriad upsell suggestions.  Forget for a second that this tactic is virtually guaranteed to grow your average transaction value and let’s imagine why that happens.  Your bundle builder has provided the shopper with timely, relevant suggestions for extending the enjoyment and lifespan of their big purchase – a straightforward win-win for both of you.  Conversational AI meets conversational marketing here to give you the power to become your customer’s trusted advisor, building engagement and a lasting relationship between consumer and brand.
  2. Email Platform Integration with Zero-Party Data Integration – List segmentation is the main contributor to email continually maintaining its high rank as a vital marketing tactic.  Make sure your website personalization suite is compatible with email automation platforms such as Klaviyo, and watch how zero-party data can take your segmentation (and thereby engagement and conversion to sales!) to the next level.

It’s not just about the list segmentation though.  The beauty of growing your email list through adjacent use of these website personalization tactics is that your brand is demonstrating to the visitor that you care about pairing them with the right solutions.  In doing so, you’re building trust and a pleasant side-effect of that is that your list will grow much faster than what you’re used to.  The demonstration of caring builds up the visitors’ comfort with joining your email list because they now feel like they can trust your brand to only contact them with relevant information.  This isn’t an opinion: we have done the homework!  Aggregate client data shows an average email opt-in rate in excess of 23% from people who have engaged with our virtual advisor tools vs. the 1-5% expected opt-in range for other users.

  1. Analytics – Dynamic Performance Dashboard – Nerd alert!  If it isn’t evident by now, your website personalization solutions should absolutely integrate with whatever your analytics tool of choice is; Google Analytics, for example. You already know that what gets measured gets managed, and you’re now going to have more things to measure than ever before.  Don’t panic, though – decide on 1-3 metrics that will help you most easily measure your directional success, keep an eye on those, and then keep growing your practice from there.

Putting it Into Practice

If all this feels like too big of a bite, please don’t get overwhelmed and abandon ship.  Implementing a website personalization strategy is the most powerful thing your brand can do to drive growth and longevity.  We understand that these steps vary highly in the level of effort to implement, so start with the most attainable one first and keep the rest in mind as being an aspirational, best-in-breed, future state.  

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, we’ve got it for you right here.  Check out this live client site – play around a little bit and see how website personalization not only removes traditional friction points in the eCommerce buyer’s journey, it even serves to make the whole thing feel more…human.

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Still have questions?  We’re fired up to help as many brands as possible to raise the bar of user and customer experience in eCommerce.  If you need help implementing website engagement tools for your brand or want to talk further about any of the tactics in this article, we should talk ASAP!

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