Why is customer engagement so important, and how can you cultivate it?

Why is customer engagement so important, and how can you cultivate it?

Customer engagement (or customer loyalty) is one of the e-commerce holy grails. Every online entrepreneur wants to have loyal customers who frequently go back to his or her store in order to buy more products. But why is this customer engagement so important? What are the benefits for your business? And what can you do to enhance brand loyalty in your business? Let’s find out!

Topics related to customer engagement frequently come back on our blog. Last time, we talked about a customer engagement strategy [link]. In that article, we told you a lot about designing a strategy (and available techniques) and implementing it in your online business.

Loyalty programs, personalized customer experiences and product recommendations, online reviews, and marketing campaigns are all great ways to achieve brand loyalty. Every effective customer engagement strategy should be based on such actions.

 

What is customer engagement?

On the one hand, customer engagement is rather intangible. After all, being a loyal customer can mean different things to different people. Some may think that brand loyalty is all about just not buying competitors’ products. Or that after purchasing the product, the customer should treat it with the utmost care to show how precious it is to them.

The marketing world, though, had to coin a more measurable definition of customer engagement. Frequently, we define customer loyalty through the fact that customers often go back and purchase more products. If you run an online store and you have a customer that places an order once a month – you’ve got yourself an engaged customer.

Of course, the frequency of shopping is not the only factor. After all, many online stores sell products that don’t need to be replaced every month, correct? For instance, if you sell skis and snowboards, it is rather unlikely that customers will need new skis every month. But they can come back to buy a jacket, or maybe a new helmet. In such a setup, even buying something once a year can mean that you have a loyal customer.  

What’s important is that the engaged customer doesn’t forget about your brand after one purchase and goes away forever. On the contrary, they stay involved with your brand, which can mean that they:

  • Follow your social media profiles and do that willingly
  • Subscribe your newsletter
  • Frequently visit your store for new offers and discounts

In other words, a loyal customer is an active customer.

 

Why is customer engagement important?

For starters, loyal customers are ready to buy from you more than once. That means that with them, you sell more products. Selling more products offers many significant advantages! Your business is more stable and reliable (which is very important, especially in these troubled times). You can test new marketing tools and introduce new products to your offer. And finally, you can plan expansion with confidence.

Loyal customers are usually also so-called early adopters. This means that they are interested in every new product that you offer, even if it is a complete novelty on the market. The best example: Apple, obviously. People are willing to spend many hours in lines just to get the latest iPhone, even though there are no significant differences compared to the previous model. And they are willing to pay a lot of money for these products! That is, by far, the best example of brand loyalty in action.

 

How to improve customer engagement

It all starts with two things:

  • The quality of the products that you offer
  • Your customer service

Both these elements have to be as good as possible. People are willing to buy again only when satisfied with the first purchase. Make sure you treat each new customer with care. Show it in every element of your business. 

Here, personalization is of paramount importance. Customers are especially interested in smart product suggestions – you should introduce them in your store. You can create a loyalty program or a VIP club that rewards people for buying more products (e.g., with discounts, free delivery, or other purchase-related benefits). Other elements comprise subtle reminders about your offer (you can use push notifications or newsletters for that), regular discounts and promotions, attractive prices, and other marketing techniques. Even typical ads can be perfect for growing customer loyalty. That’s because nowadays, people are flooded with news and impulses. They can simply forget about your offer, even if they were satisfied with the service provided. That’s why it is so important to say in touch with them.

And if you are looking for a personalization solution for your online business, drop us a line. At RecoAI, we specialize in product recommendation algorithms that use AI. With our help, your customers will get the best product suggestions they can imagine.

A thorough guide on how to build a recommendation engine

A thorough guide on how to build a recommendation engine

The use of recommendation engines is ubiquitous nowadays. Many companies are constantly improving their algorithms to make accurate individual recommender systems. Facilitating the user’s journey by offering a personalized offer also builds customer loyalty by anticipating their needs. For the user, recommendation systems save time as they no longer have to search for the right product in the entire catalog. Let’s check how you can build a recommendation engine, reach similar users, and enhance user experience.

Generally speaking, personalization generates a sense of uniqueness; it makes each user feel important and understood. As a result, companies that actively use recommendation engines and build customer loyalty observe an increase in the conversion rate and average order values (AOV). However, before we get into the details of the topic, it’s worth defining a recommendation engine.

 

What is a recommendation engine?

A recommendation engine is an algorithm based on artificial intelligence or a machine learning system that generates product recommendations in real-time on the seller’s website. On large e-commerce sites, several recommendation engines or algorithms can coexist. In such a setup, each algorithm plays a specific role, for example, up-selling, cross-selling, or monitoring the behavior of other buyers. In other words, as the name suggests, the tool “recommends” diverse products to Internet users visiting your online store.

The recommendation engine can also personalize offers in newsletters or suggestions contained in retargeting campaigns. You can use many criteria to filter these recommendations, either individually or in combination. Like other AI systems, product recommendation engines generally gain performance over time through learning.

 

How the recommendation engine works

The recommendation is usually based on three basic steps: Gathering information, classifying data, and making recommendations.

 

STEP 1: GATHERING INFORMATION

At this stage, it is necessary to define the user’s preferences. The user is always at the center of the whole recommendation engine. For this purpose, the recommender system collects various information about (and from) the users, including product reviews, time spent on a given product tab, purchasing history, visited categories, etc.

 

STEP 2: DATA CLASSIFICATION

The classification correlates the collected information about the user with the products available in the online store. That allows you to build a data model.

 

STEP 3: RECOMMENDATION EXTRACTION

The recommendation system can extract a list of products from the previously built data model to recommend specific products to the user.

 

Types of recommendation systems

Recommender systems are always based on user data. Here, depending on the nature of data in your store, different types of systems can be implemented:

 

CONTENT-BASED FILTERING

Content-based recommendation systems suggest similar elements or content for users that have previously searched for, viewed, bought, or rated positively something similar. For this, the system must determine the similarities between the objects. Accordingly, content analysis is performed. In the case of streaming services (for music), the recommendation engine, for example, evaluates the songs according to their structure.

 

COLLABORATIVE RECOMMENDATION SYSTEMS

This type of recommendation system is based on observing users with similar behaviors in a suitable method. If a group of users has been very interested in a particular object in the past, the system will continue to recommend it.

 

HYBRID RECOMMENDATION SYSTEMS

The hybrid approach combines the two forms of recommender systems that we discussed above. Hybrid recommendation systems use a variety of machine learning methods. In most cases, model-based or memory-based methods are used. The memory-based process uses all stored classification data and identifies similarities between users or objects. The result serves as a forecast basis for joining objects that have not yet been extracted. Model-driven recommendation services, on the other hand, follow machine learning principles. Based on that data, the system should create a mathematical model that can be used to predict users’ interest in a given product. Amazon uses this form of recommendation system extensively.

 

It’s time for your steps

The personalization of your offers is becoming increasingly crucial in digital marketing. Typical ads are very quickly identified by users and, therefore, often are overlooked. However, by implementing a recommendation system, you can attract customers’ attention with appropriate information and a personalized approach. Thus, your chances of conversion will be much higher. 

To implement a recommendation engine in your e-business, you can use our help. At RecoAI, we offer an artificial intelligence system that analyzes real-time user behavior on your website and effectively offers them the products they are looking for. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to find out more. We are happy to answer all your questions and help you stay ahead of the competition with the power of recommendation.

What do you need to know about AI in marketing?

What do you need to know about AI in marketing?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two disciplines that substantially transformed many sectors and industries. Among them, marketing is one of the essential ones. Thanks to marketing artificial intelligence, companies can conduct more effective and accurate marketing campaigns. Today, we want to show you how artificial intelligence changes marketing.

In fact, artificial intelligence and machine learning are two IT sectors that can significantly change the way you promote products and services. In some situations, it’s even possible to benefit from techniques that otherwise would’ve been impossible.

 

What is artificial intelligence marketing?

Marketing AI is a discipline that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve marketing campaigns. Usually, AI marketing is based on data analytics. Therefore, to make the most of marketing AI, you have to know your users’ profiles, their expectations, needs, and habits. Thanks to AI marketing, you can improve communication with your target audience, enhance the efficiency of marketing campaigns that you run, introduce new products and services to your offer, and measure the results of your efforts accurately.

Today, the marketing world is data-driven. This means that whatever you do, it all starts with data collection and processing. All AI tools require customer data to operate as intended. And speaking of AI tools, what are the main components of AI marketing?

AI Marketing: Components

There can be many such components based on your needs and the business profile. However, typically, we can mention five major components that makeup almost every marketing AI application. They are as follows:

  • Data analytics
  • NLP (natural language processing): This technology is immensely important when it comes to intelligent assistants such as chatbots and voicebots. 
  • Automated processes: Marketing AI is all about working without your direct supervision. With this technology in your company, you don’t have to worry about adjusting every single element of your campaign – AI technology does that for you. 
  • Content generation and optimization: Today, content plays a key role in everything marketing-related. For starters, it’s a core component of every SEO campaign. With marketing AI, you can create and optimize content so that it satisfies both users and Google bots. Many SEO tools have built-in artificial intelligence or machine learning features. 
  • Personalization and segmentation: These two go hand in hand. Segmentation allows you to divide your target audience into smaller groups (segments) with specific profiles (e.g., needs, interests, purchased products, purchasing habits, etc.). Personalization, on the other hand, enables you to reach these segments effectively. With personalization, each customer (no matter who they are or what they are interested in) gets offers and communication that fulfills their expectations. 

What are the benefits of AI marketing?

Well, the benefits of using artificial intelligence in your marketing campaigns are quite apparent, aren’t they? First off, AI marketing takes your marketing campaigns to a whole new level. Marketing campaigns that are created and optimized using intelligent algorithms are usually far more effective. Secondly, thanks to marketing AI, you can lower the costs of your campaigns. That’s because AI-powered algorithms can help you achieve better rates for displaying your ads. And thirdly, adapting this technology to your ecosystem helps you save a lot of time. Thanks to automation, the vast majority of aspects related to preparing and optimizing marketing campaigns can be done much quicker, sometimes – even without your involvement. 

 

Examples of artificial intelligence in marketing

Up to this moment, we mainly talked about theory. Now it’s time to show you some real-life applications of marketing AI. Let’s have a look.

UNDERSTAND MARKETING DATA: GOOGLE ANALYTICS INTELLIGENCE

Google Analytics is one of the primary tools of every marketer. Many people don’t know, though, that it comes with advanced machine learning features. Google Analytics Intelligence is a set of tools and features built-in the Google Analytics platform to help you understand and act on your marketing data. For instance, Analytics Intelligence uses machine learning to model conversions and build audiences.

IMPROVE PRICES IN YOUR STORE: DEALAVO

Dealavo is a platform that uses artificial intelligence in their platform called dynamic pricing. With it, online store owners don’t have to monitor how prices change in the market. The algorithm does that for them and adjusts prices accordingly without human supervision. There is also a possibility to set some pre-defined rules, so you don’t have to worry about lowering the price too much.

RECOAI: INTELLIGENT PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS

Yes, marketing AI is precisely what we do here at RecoAI. Our ML-based algorithms help you provide users with smart product suggestions. As a result, you can promote products that are most likely to hit just the center of a specific person’s interest. Product recommendations are very important in e-commerce, but other online businesses can use them as well. 

If you want to know more, just drop us a line

All there is to know about e-commerce personalization in 2022

All there is to know about e-commerce personalization in 2022

Personalization is likely the best way to achieve the e-commerce’s sector holy grail – customer loyalty. Having loyal, returning customers means that you can steadily grow your business. In this article, we will show you how you can introduce e-commerce personalization to your online store and what benefits you can expect from that.

Almost every e-commerce report says the same thing – a personalized shopping experience is a must-have today. People expect that your store will know them and their needs and act accordingly. But before we start talking about various e-commerce personalization techniques (we have four of them for you), let’s talk about e-commerce personalization. What it actually is and why it’s so important today.

What is e-commerce personalization?

The ultimate goal of e-commerce personalization is to deliver personalized experiences in your online store. In practice, this means that:

  • Customers that are logged in see their details (online stores frequently greet logged customers by name), and they see personalized product suggestions.
  • You gather data about your customers and their activity (e.g., viewed products and categories, purchased products, asked questions, shared reviews) and use it to improve customer service.
  • You use personalization techniques, e.g., upselling, cross-selling, smart product suggestions, and shopping advice (e.g., chatbots offer such a service). 

Why is e-commerce personalization important?

Two reasons: First off, your customers simply expect that. In the recent Gladly.com report, over 70% of customers said that personalized customer service is more important than personalized marketing. Customers expect you to know their details, purchasing history, and interest. You can achieve that with decent analytics software and intelligent product recommendation algorithms.

Secondly, with this strategy, you sell more products and can expand your business. Most likely, there are diverse customer segments in your store, correct? Each of these segments requires a different approach and offer. A quick example – if you have a fashion store showing women’s coats to a teenager who’s recently purchased a pair of sneakers is just a waste of time. But with personalization, your product suggestions are better tailored and, thus, effective. As a result, you can encourage customers to buy more products and return to your store more frequently. 

E-commerce personalization examples

Volcom, an American lifestyle clothing brand, uses smart product recommendations that, depending on the products that you view, present different products. These recommendations are presented in every product tab, right after the product details:

And here’s another example: Levi’s offers their customers to personalize the products they purchase. That offer is called customized & personalized clothing, and customers can decide what color, graphic, and text they want on their item, e.g., a t-shirt:

Now, let’s take a look at our list of four proven personalization techniques.

Effective techniques for personalized shopping experience

CONTINUOUS SHOPPING FOR RETURNING CUSTOMERS

Your store should remember each logged customer. When a user places an item in the cart, don’t delete it from there when they go somewhere else or view other products. If the purchasing process was stopped at some point, help your customers restore it to the point where they stopped it. Show that your store “waits” for the customer to return and finish their order. You can even send them some subtle reminders, e.g., via social media and push notifications. 

CREATE PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

As you know from our other blog posts, personalization is actually a very wide term that can refer to the site’s layout, products, and discounts. Create personal recommendations comprising products and special offers. Some stores use birthday discounts, maybe that’s an idea for you? This way, you show your customers that you value them and want to fulfill their needs.

PERSONALIZE YOUR EMAILS AND CAMPAIGNS

Every email you send and every marketing campaign needs to be personalized as well. Start your email with something like “Dear Emily”, or “Hey, John!”. This way, you build more personal, deeper relationships, and customers will surely appreciate that. It’s the same story with your ads and campaigns. They also should be filled with customized recommendations and offers. Again, don’t offer a discount for women’s furs for someone who’s clearly interested in shorts and sneakers.

USE USER-GENERATED CONTENT (UGC)

That last element is also important as it enables you to give voice to your customers. With user-generated content, your customers can share their opinions about the store and the products that you offer. Enable them to post comments, share them via social media, and rate products (e.g., from 1 to 5). You can even go one step further and offer the possibility to publish product tests, unboxing, and other materials that are product-related. Again, creating a space just for your customers shows that you are serious about building long-lasting relations with them.

What do you need to know about personalization?

What do you need to know about personalization?

Marketing uses a variety of strategies which purpose is to help companies attract as many customers as possible. The role of most of these strategies is also connected with building strong relationships with customers. Today, we’re going to show you one of the most effective customer satisfaction strategies – marketing personalization. What is personalization? And how can you use it in your business? Let’s find out.

The term personalization itself is used widely, even in everyday situations; take, for example, your best friend’s birthday. While preparing a gift, you would like to make it special – and special means aligned with your friend’s interests, passions, or dreams. In other words, you want to give them a personalized gift. Even though the meaning of personalization may seem obvious, there are a few things worth clearing out. In this article, we would like to uncover this concept by discussing its definition, benefits, and examples.

 

What is personalization?

Marketing personalization is a process of gathering customer data (especially about customer behavior) and, based on that input, tailoring the information which the company wants to convey to its customers. Personalized marketing is based on understanding and fulfilling customer preferences, needs, and expectations (that’s how customer segments are created). This way, it is possible to create a message which will be a perfect fit for each and every person involved in the company’s services. 

Marketing personalization is a highly important and popular technique that helps you to attract and keep as many customers as possible. We all want and desire to be noticed and understood, and this is exactly what personalized content shows us attention to individuals visiting your web page.

There are two most common types of personalization used in marketing: one-to-one personalization and segmentation.

The first one is also called “individualization”, and it is the type that is usually associated with the personalization term. In short, it takes into account individual customers, their needs, and preferences and leverages customer data to craft a personalized message.

Segmentation, on the other hand, takes into account groups of customers identified from a bigger audience. The message is not addressed to individuals, then; rather, there is a personalized message for a specific group (customer segment). The best example here would be regular customers who get special information tailored only to their experience. This method, however, can be successful only if the targeted segments are big enough to produce satisfying outcomes.

 

Why is personalization important?

Personalized experiences seem to be important both for customers and marketers. There are many reasons for which companies introduce personalized messages; the most crucial, however, is the fact that customers nowadays expect to be recognized and gratified for being a loyal part of a brand. Many surveys have been conducted, and all of them present the same results: The more the company is able to notice and identify a particular customer, the higher the chance that the given customer will continue using their services. Of course, it is not the only reason why personalization has become such a successful marketing technique. What else does it involve?

It helps your business thrive. When the customer notices well-tailored messages and feedback, they are more likely to come back and use the company’s services again. That is why it is important to pay attention to the experience your customers encounter while cooperating with your company. One of the biggest names now, such as Netflix or Spotify, owes their success mostly to their personalized playlists. To be fair, the users of these platforms demand personalized content on the basis of which they can find another, well-tailored one.

 

Personalization vs. customization

Both personalization and customization involve modifications within a customer’s experience. There is, however, a very important difference between these two approaches.

As stated before, personalization includes gathering information about a specific customer. And on this basis, the company proposes specially tailored messages. This way, the customer does not have a direct influence on the content and suggestions that they receive.

With customization, on the other hand, it is the customer who is in charge of modifying the content according to their needs and preferences. While shopping online, for instance, customers receive both personalized and customized content – ads and filtered products, respectively.

 

Personalization examples

There are many ways in which companies can convey their personalized messages. Mostly, they involve machine learning algorithms that gather information about customer experiences, preferences, likes, but also about information related to the location or online activity. All of this can help companies create as much personalized content as possible. Here are a few most popular personalization methods:

  • E-mail personalization
  • Smart product recommendations
  • Advertisements based on customer data

Each of them can have its own benefits; that is why your company needs to recognize your customers’ needs in order to prepare the best, most satisfying, and well-tailored content.

The most effective customer engagement strategies to use in 2022

The most effective customer engagement strategies to use in 2022

Customer engagement is one of the buzzwords of the modern business world. And for a reason – having customer engagement enables you to grow your business, sell more, and even introduce new products and services. In this article, we’re going to show you four bulletproof customer engagement strategies that you can use in 2022. Let’s get right to it.

Probably every business owner wants to have engaged loyal customers that buy and return frequently. However, customer retention is one of the biggest challenges of today’s business world. How can you deal with it? With a solid customer engagement strategy, of course. Your every action has to be purposeful and well-thought-out.

What is a customer engagement strategy?

In short, a customer engagement strategy is a plan that aims at involving your customers into communication with your brand. To do that, you need to tick several boxes. For starters, you need to provide high-quality products. Secondly, your offer has to be relevant to modern consumers. And thirdly, you need a positive image of your brand, something that will allow you to stand out from the crowd. Today, customers value brands that are foremost authentic.

image source: https://www.oberlo.com/blog/branding-statistics

When you get there, you can think about a comprehensive customer engagement strategy. Without all the elements we mentioned earlier, you won’t be able to retain customers for long. 

Why is customer engagement important?

Primarily because it enables your business to grow. Brands with engaged customers are more stable, develop even in uncertain market conditions, and simply sell more than other companies that neglect the issue of customer engagement

You can maintain strong relations with customers with a decent customer engagement plan. And when they trust you and want to communicate with you, they will follow you almost everywhere.

The best engagement strategies for growing businesses

There are many ways to show customers that you value them and to engage them in a conversation with your brand. The vast majority of customer engagement strategies begin with customer data. Yes, you need to know your customers and their needs and answer them as well as possible. Below, you will discover four effective customer engagement strategies. What do you need to know about them?

Use analytics data

We frequently say that nowadays, marketing is data-driven. This means that we don’t guess what to do to get more customers. We use available information and, based on that input, we know what works and what doesn’t. It goes further as customers simply expect you to know them. In a Gladly’s report from 2020, customers indicated three of the most important things brands should know about them:

To get that information, you need analytics software that will track your customers’ activity and gather all the necessary information about customers/users. That’s your starting point in every customer engagement strategy.

Know customer journey

You need to know your customers, but also the path they have to walk in order to buy something from you. It is helpful to map such a journey (or journeys) and indicate the most important stages of it, from interest to post-purchase service. 

Today, more and more often, these customer journeys are divided into four stages, especially in the e-commerce world. These stages make up a framework introduced by Avinash Kaushik, one of the Google experts. It’s called See-Think-Do-Care and it shows how the customer journey works. You can read more about it here

Loyalty programs for customers

Many brands, including e-commerce ones, decide to start a loyalty program. Usually, it’s a good idea. With such a program, you can gather even more information about your customers, but above all, make them feel special. Loyalty programs or VIP clubs create a sense of being a part of something exclusive and limited. Thanks to these clubs, brands can introduce new products, offer special discounts, and share additional benefits.

Personalization

Personalization is a regular guest on our blog. That’s because this strategy is immensely effective. You can personalize almost every element of your offer:

  • Product recommendations
  • Communication with customers and marketing campaigns
  • Products and services themselves
  • Content you produce
  • Website and mobile apps

The goal is to make people feel taken care of. No one wants to feel like a statistical number, right? When you introduce personalization to your offer, you show customers that you value them and want to help them solve their problems or achieve their goals. Surely, people feel much better entering a website that greets them and shares some essential news, like, for example:

Hey Peter, it’s great to see you again! Check out our new arrivals.

This strategy is simple but extremely effective. That’s why it’s more and more common and not just in the e-commerce sector.

We showed you four useful tactics that can be a part of your strong customer engagement strategy. Implement these elements into your offer, and you’ll see the results!