More than ever consumers are being fought over. With ads on everything from the subway ride to work to their game of Angry Birds on their cell phone, keeping the consumer’s attention is hard. Add to it the many opportunities online shopping brings to thwart company loyalty, and business owners have a real challenge on their hands. However, with the addition of technology and social media to a competitive atmosphere also comes new opportunities to promote customer engagement and reach out to those consumers who are bogged down by traditional advertising. With some of the following tips, you can keep up with the new age of customer engagement.
1. Simplify the Shopping Process
While arranging a retail space and web site in a customer savvy way is important, that is not what needs simplifying. Many stores offer coupons, loyalty programs, discount programs and special credit cards. However, with so many cards, coupons and reward points to keep track of for every store they visit, many people end up opting out of these programs because they can’t keep track of it all. Simplifying this process, so coupons are digital and the consumer only has one card to swipe or one phone number to enter is a good way to engage the consumer without overwhelming them. As a plus, you will have all of the info you could want on a consumer in one place, including shopping habits, coupons they use and deals that entice them.
2. New Ways to Pay
With credit card fees on the rise, many business owners are looking at new payment options. Accepting payments through alternative 3rd party sources, such as PayPal, provides a secure platform for buyers who are leery of giving out their bank information. Many young consumers prefer these services to traditional credit cards and select who they buy from based on payment methods offered. Many businesses have also started setting up their own payment programs based on pre-paid credit. For regular consumers this is a good way to budget money for a certain period of time and then only purchase products with that pre-paid amount. For business owners this provides an opportunity to offer special deals and track consumer interest of loyal customers.
3. Reach them Where They’re At
For most consumers, their cell phone and laptop are their main tools of communication. Most consumers spend hours of their day on their computer or looking at emails, texts and browsing on their phone. This means that at least part of your customer engagement plan needs to involve the digital world. This can be done through special phone apps that provide useful information, sending out text messages with special deals or providing an online account where consumers can look at rewards points, collect digital coupons and review their purchases. Be sure to cater your form of communication to groups of consumers. While a young person may enjoy that funny video message everyday, a mature business person may prefer a weekly update with points, purchases and coupons outlined for a quick look over.