“Aren't physical stores dead?!” Many e-commerce store managers are still trying to figure it out…. but the answer is not written in any customer reviews.
Instead, their eyes have been opened up to a new world. The old school concept of physical stores is on its deathbed, but retail has evolved into something new.
Forget those showrooms where people always try but never buy. Or those solutions where customers research online and buy offline. A whole new, different world has been created.
It’s the world of the experience economy, in which customer experience is the top priority. Experience per square foot is the new value, while sales per square foot is about to be forgotten. And consumers are still spending more per visit than online.
So in this new frontier, e-commerce is under extreme pressure because of their huge disadvantage. They can’t leverage any physical experience and have the same human interaction as physical stores.
So how can e-commerce stores improve their customer experience to keep pace with physical stores?
There’s no better way to attract and retain customers than giving them a higher experience.
Data confirms that 86% of buyers are willing to overspend for a higher customer experience. Meanwhile, personalized solutions have driven 49% of shoppers to make an impulsive purchase.
A pleasant experience boosts positive customer reviews, generates better revenue, and leads to lifelong clients. But poor ones impact your company results and reputation tremendously. So how can you replicate this customer experience online?
In the e-commerce world, it’s more difficult to interact with clients. Customer experience becomes deeply connected to the ability of brand managers to engage its clientele over the web.
The more clients appreciate interacting with you, the more likely they’ll come back and recommend you to their network of connections.
Since it is more difficult to interact with customers in e-commerce, you're probably wondering why you don't simply start with those productive interactions that you already have. There are clients right now leaving positive reviews about your products and services.
They had a great interaction with your brand and are eager to share their experience with others. Those customers help you to promote your brand and influence other potential customers through their own experiences. They are one of the biggest assets you have.
So why don’t you empower them? It doesn’t have to be anything difficult or something out of your control. Start from what you have already and keep it simple - let them create an article for your online blog.
“It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.” – Seth Godin.
These loyal customers who write positive reviews represent a circle of clientele genuinely interacting with your brand and promoting it. When you ask to convert their customer reviews into a blog post, you nurture their relationship and reward their loyalty. You've giving importance to their comments and elevating them to blog posts.
You amplify their message until it reaches a broader audience and offer them a unique positioning by joining your blog. And for those who love your brand, that means a lot.
But why are those customers important to you?
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell, customer loyalty consultant
They are not only loyal clients, they have the ability to influence others towards your brand with their reviews. They know the pros and cons of using your products or services - so they can manage objections before they even come up.
And since they aren’t paid, they are perceived as more authentic and trustworthy. And as a result, potential buyers will be more inclined to follow customer reviews and buy. This will likely lead to a higher conversion rate while you’re still rewarding your buyers. (Not bad, is it?)
Let them be proud of what they’re doing. Help them spread their message by elevating it to blog posts so they reach a broader audience. What they have to do is just work a bit more on their reviews to get published on your blog. It means lengthening their review a bit and reinforcing the message and converting it into a blog post.
But to do that, you have to find ways to engage these ones who are writing positive customer reviews. What you need is just an effective hook to reward and convince them to join your blog. So how can you do that?
Joining your blog should be a privilege reserved only for your inner circle of clients. The ones who believe in your mission and sustain your company with a long-term relationship.
But maybe not everyone would be interested in spontaneously turning their customer reviews into blog posts. So what you currently need to do is find a magnetic incentive to convince them.
It doesn’t have to be something expensive, but rather a reward that speaks to customers.
It could be something connected to your brand or product, or totally disconnected from your business. You could offer something they could experience to make those moments memorable to them. It could be immediately activated when they sent you the post, or a benefit they get with their next purchase.
Whatever your decision is, remember these things:
Focus on them and them only - they are the center of your world
Research what they love, their challenges and what their purposes are
Define a clear strategy to bring your plan to life
Start from the higher experience you want to design for them
Make it exclusive - use scarcity, since they will be part of an elite community of customers
Consider adopting an application process - to better qualify them and make it more compelling
Add some spice & fun - they have to feel good about it
And possibly make it so irresistible that they would spontaneously ask your permission to be a part of these customer reviews.
So if you want to reward your customers and you don’t know where to start… start by defining the experience you want to design for them. The easiest way is to classify your ideas based on your specific goal.
It might look more difficult than what it actually is... so let me help you with that. Here are 16 easy-to-use ideas that you could implement based on the experience you want to create for them:
Brand Hero & Brand Icon - It’s much more than a conventional Gold & Platinum Membership. It’s a certification of loyalty and common values. This way you’re rewarding them and building their credibility - so that their reviews would become even more valuable. You could literally mail each member every year their Loyalty Certificate. You can also take some of the ideas below to create the list of benefits for all members. And if you have the budget, consider creating an event ceremony to celebrate this award with them - it will make the brand even more exclusive and potentially attract more clients. BE PROUD OF THEM!
Star For A Day - Broadcast a 3 minute video presentation on all your media to celebrate each loyal customer proudly. Select one different client for each day. You might consider creating a YouTube channel entirely dedicated to your supportive and loyal customers. LET THEM SHINE!
Tell Us Your Story - Why not create an eBook with their stories? In each chapter you could present one customer featuring their stories and beliefs. You could publish it on a quarterly or yearly basis, including 10-20 stories (max 5 pages each). The more you know them, the more they will be engaged. BROADCAST YOUR FANS!
The Club: The Exclusive Reward Program - Try to find a benefit that is still connected to what you do, but not normally accessible. Just pick up something that could add value, like an inside secret or something behind the scenes. Supposing you sell online gym equipment, you might offer a session with a professional trainer to create their program. Or offer a webinar with the latest exercises that are producing consistent results in fitness, or the main common deadly mistakes people make while they exercise. Don’t be afraid to share some secrets, because they’ll still come back to you, because you are the expert. MAKE IT EXCLUSIVE!
The Venue: Special Launch Event - Journalists and press are often invited to test products in advance during a launch, before making them available to the public. They'll write reviews and articles while the product is not even accessible - it helps to spread the word and raise curiosity among consumers. It’s the perfect opportunity to reward those loyal clients that are writing blog posts to join at these launch events! They will get a higher status from other normal clients - they become the first ones to test the new features of your product. And for someone who loves your brand, this is priceless. LET THEM BE THE FIRST ONES!
Test the Best - A special Q&A webinar session. Why not give them the opportunity to interact with your team? I know it could be tricky, but you could showcase your strengths while clients could get some answers (they could also feel understood since they might not be the only one having those issues in the audience). LET THEM GET SOME ANSWERS!
Forever One - A limited edition webinar for loyal blog writers where you share insights about the company. It's similar to what companies are doing for their employees. Just make it more interactive, fun and possibly ‘reveal’ some news right before releasing to public (pick up something not sensitive and shareable). LET THEM KNOW FIRST!
The Inside Secrets & Leaks - Create a newsletter where you give them a slice of your accomplishments and next challenges. The more you engage them as your family, the more they act that way and promote you. GIVE THEM A SLICE OF YOU!
Best Of The Best - Offer a trial version of your best packages or products that they are still not using. This way they could enjoy them and learn more about what you do. In some cases, they might end up buying those packages afterwards. Just make sure you don’t ask for any reviews - since this is a reward, receiving a review is a plus and totally up to them. LET THEM TRY THE VERY BEST!
Heroes League - Create a private Facebook community where they could directly interact with your brand. Show their stories interacting with your product or how you helped them solve their challenges. This shortens the distance from your clients and makes everything more informal and natural. Even for exclusive brands, this means you recognize and elevate those clients to a higher status. LET THEM BE YOUR HEROES!
Secret Treasure: Share An Emotion - A reward event that they could share with someone special and make that moment memorable. The theme of this gift still depends on your niche and objectives. It could be a private exclusive dinner, or tickets to a concert or theater (give them some options at least), or something fun and adventurous. Give them multiple options so that they choose according to their interests. LET THEM REMEMBER THAT MOMENT!
Nurture Their Passion - If your company is somehow related to lifestyle or some specific entertainment, like music, arts, etc, find a way to sustain their passion. Give them more access to that. If you’re online store is selling shoes for running, consider finding something to boost that passion - like a done-for-you training program for example. HELP THEM WITH THEIR PASSION!
Make Their Secret Dream Comes True - Sometimes you could be able to fulfill their secret dreams. Maybe they couldn’t afford to buy the top product of your category, so they have to settle for the ‘best buy’..they can’t say that to others, but deep inside they know what they truly desire. So you could give them the best in class of your product or upgrade their package. Maybe it will cost you something, but what they’ll gain is much more than that. LET THEIR SECRET DREAMS COME TRUE!
What You Love About Us - Give them more of what they love. Look for what they normally buy and give them more of it. When you select a frequent purchase, you can’t be wrong. GIVE THEM WHAT THEY LOVE!
Limited Editions or Crazy Deals - Another quick and easy way to reward them is with special limited offers or packages. This could be articles that are not normally accessible to the public, or super hot deals. For example, give them an unbelievable discount on a set of products for 3-5 days. SHARE SOME CRAZY DEALS!
Fun 360 - If your budget allows you, why not create one yearly event to gather everyone together and celebrate with some fun. In a night where all accomplishments are praised and the challenges forgotten to give space to joy. This would strengthen the bond with your clients and make them be as one. GIVE THEM SOME FUN!
E-commerce shops are under pressure since they have to improve their interaction with their clients. An easy way to improve the engagement and give better experience is to turn customer reviews into blog posts.
This way you could reward the loyal consumers that are supporting your brand and empower them on your blog. However, if you want to bring more client reviews to your blog, you have to convince your clients first - they have to be compelled by the opportunity you offer. Many people might expect some reward in return for their posts. So strategy plays a key role for a successful initiative.
But if you’re still struggling with that, you could search for a professional copywriter to get you started with this project. A copywriter could also help you to get sales on your e-commerce site and improve your communication.
So if you’re interested in understanding how a professional copywriter could help your business, contact our copywriting team today.
Luca Gasparri is a business expert with 10 years of combined experience in multiple disciplines and markets, from Engineering and R&D to Business Development and Copywriting. In copywriting, he leverages his creativity and deep knowledge in data analysis and strategy, to create customized solutions through compelling copy. He holds a master’s degree with honours in Mechanical Engineering and an executive Master’s in Project Management.Hire Luca