If you’re wondering why customer engagement is so important, consider the fact that 73% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. Yet, only 47% of customers say companies are living up to these expectations. With this in mind, brands should consider how the adoption of connected devices and smart technology is changing customers’ expectations about how they want to engage.
Market researchers refer to this time as the “Age of the Customer.” Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever due to the accessibility of information in real-time. Brands must leverage the power of technology to capture consumer attention and keep them engaged throughout the path to purchase.
Engaged Customers Buy and Sell
Engagement is “the new marketing,” as the people most qualified to sell your products may not be on your payroll; they could very well be the loyal customers who have already purchased your products. By discovering, nurturing, and mobilizing these customers as advocates, brands create the potential for an extended reach that generates awareness.
Social media referrals from friends and family may mean more to prospective customers than any direct communication from a brand. Consider this:
- Eighty-four percent of people trust online reviews as much as friends.
- Seventy-one percent of people are more likely to make a purchase online if the product or service comes recommended by others.
- Eighty-four percent of millennials are likely to be influenced to make a purchase based upon user-generated content that is created by strangers.
According to Forbes, leaders in customer engagement are four times more likely to be experiencing annual growth of more than 10 percent and are three times more likely to be in the top quartile for Net Promoter Score (which measures a customer’s willingness to recommend the company’s products or services).
Why Customer Engagement Is Important to Overall Brand Success
Customer engagement is not so much a strategy, as it is a symptom of effective business operations. Industry leaders understand their buyers on a deeply personal level. They have a firm grasp on buyer personas, have customer relationship management systems in place, and have a method of collecting consumer opinions to continually better their products and services. From a long-term perspective, the businesses with a pulse on where they’re excelling, where they can stand to improve, and how they can expand to reach a broader market are the ones that will thrive.
Pursuing an engagement strategy is worth your while as “highly engaged customers are incredibly valuable, purchasing 90% more frequently than average customers and spending 60% more per purchase. These differences add up fast, and ultimately engaged customers deliver three times the annual value.”
Beyond the dollar value, customer engagement becomes a matter of survival in the long haul. Buyers are increasingly choosing brands that not only respond to their needs, but anticipate their needs in advance. With technology making it increasingly easier for consumers to shop around in real-time, you can’t afford to put your head in the sand and hope for the best.
Mobile Tech Disrupts How Businesses Engage Consumers
Mobile technology is the biggest disrupter since the internet itself. Buying is no longer a time-consuming process of researching from home then seeking the product in the store to conduct price comparisons before making the purchase. Informed decisions can now be made in real-time, with mobile devices in hand.
Nearly 60% of retail shoppers look up product and pricing info or mobile coupons on their phones while shopping in-store. In fact, digital interactions influence 56 cents of every dollar spent in brick-and-mortar these days. Retailers like Walmart and Nike are reaping big rewards from their investments in mobile technology, with app users making twice as many trips to their stores and spending 40% more per trip.
The ability to engage consumers in the shopping aisle is a strong sales motivator as it reaches consumers while they’re near products, and in the pivotal moments before they make a purchase decision. If brands aren’t engaging with customers on-the-go—in the context of their daily lives—they’re essentially neglecting them, or are at least missing an opportunity to nurture the brand-customer relationship through open, honest interaction. Ultimately, brands should consider how mobile apps can help boost engagement.
How to Leverage Mobile Apps to Increase Customer Engagement
Gamification is one way to create a retail experience that engages consumers beyond making a purchase. Shopkick offers an environment where customers can discover and interact with brands in an engaging and non-invasive way. Shopkick gamifies the typical shopping experience by turning it into a scavenger hunt for rewards points (“kicks”). Not only is this fun for the consumer, but great for retailers as the mobile shopping app drives shoppers to products in the aisle, incentivizing purchases and helping to boost sales.
Once customers download the Shopkick app, it travels with them all along the shopping journey via their mobile device. The app enables customers to interact with brands from any location and incentivizes engagement while they’re already in a shopping mindset. And when a customer enters a participating store, interacts with a featured product at shelf, or makes a purchase, they are rewarded—which makes for the perfect opportunity to increase customer engagement.
Gamification is one way to create a retail experience that engages consumers beyond making a purchase.
With its gamified interface, many Shopkick users check-in with the app daily, as they would check the weather, to see what deals and retail treasures await. In this way, mobile phones are not just a link to in-store engagement and a tool for locating products within a store, but a crucial strategy for getting customers into the store as well. The modern brand can’t afford to leave so much money and loyalty sitting at home on the couch.
Shopkick offers brands an easy way to personalize the in-store experience, while rewarding interactions and loyalty. By engaging with the Shopkick app, shoppers learn about new products, find items in the store easier, and develop a positive relationship with leading brands. See why our partners found customer engagement to be important and how they use Shopkick to reward loyalty. Contact us to get started.
Image courtesy of wavebreakmedia