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If you know of Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, then you may be familiar with his popularized theory on the 5 ways that people express and experience love. You may be wondering why I’ve associated it with how to improve customer experience. Considering only 10% of consumers agree that most brands provide good customer experience and 82% of marketers believe their brands are meeting customer expectations, this indicates that eCommerce businesses must look more closely into their data analytics, observing online user behavior to see how people are connecting and reconnecting with brands. I’m using The 5 Love Languages as an amusing yet informative way to share with you how to improve user experience and build customer retention for eCommerce brands.
The 5 Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Services, Quality Time, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts. Chapman designed this concept initially to improve romantic connections – understanding how your partner perceives and displays appreciation and affection by knowing each other’s primary love languages. However, this theory has been applied to many types of relationships, from family and friends to work colleagues. Understanding that your friend would appreciate you collecting her groceries while in quarantine more than she would if you regularly contacted her asking how she was during that time will strengthen that friendship. As a business leader, you can improve the relationship between your brand and its customers by identifying the different ways people truly connect. In turn, this will build authority and loyalty with the brand, resulting in customer satisfaction and retention.
From personalized brand messaging for the Words of Affirmation customers to virtual holiday experiences for the Physical Touch customers, here, I’m going to outline the 5 ways you can improve your customer experience for eCommerce – ensuring you’re filling the love tank of all of your targeted audience.
A person who speaks this language values communication highly. Short and long-form verbal and written prose can light up this person’s soul, pondering a written card more than the meaning behind the jewelry paired with it.
How to Apply: Brand messaging, customized content, blog, email, captions, chatbot.
Strong and consistent brand tone of voice displayed across your online channels will help develop visibility and familiarity with your current and potential customers while conveying your company values. Personalized messaging can nurture a consumer’s affinity with the brand, especially if you’re speaking in a relatable style. Demand Metric reported that 82% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after reading customized content. Ensuring you have a digital strategy in place for all content copy across website, blog, email, and social media will help maintain a relationship with your customers that lasts past a follow or first purchase.
Example – Dynamic Emailing:
An effective way to offer your customers a personalized experience is through dynamic emailing. The content in these emails changes based on real-time data in order to align more closely with the subscribers’ likely behavior, ultimately predicting their shopping habits and converting them to a customer. The various data accumulated from your subscribers segments them into appropriate categories to offer them a personalized experience. One example could be a sale where you want to advertise certain products to specific audiences. By adding variables to an email, you can target your younger audience with the latest gaming system and provide your 25-34 age group with the latest fitness-tracking gadgets. Adding a sale timer can also build anticipation and add urgency. By providing these types of personalized emails, you’re less likely to receive an ‘unsubscribe’ and more likely to tempt subscribers to click through to your website to browse the sale further.
‘Actions speak louder than words’ would be the mentality of a person who has this as their primary love language. A helping hand to make this person’s life easier will leave them with a lasting fondness and appreciation of the giver.
How to Apply: User-friendly website, customer support, chatbot, fast/free delivery, easy returns.
Large organizations, often the ones leading the way in data analytics and digital transformation, have increased the consumers’ expectations when it comes to an efficient and streamlined online shopping experience. It’s a race against the clock and your competitors to provide assistance, products, and services to your customers in the quickest time possible. The ability to interact early on in the browsing process is a critical step. Chatbots are popping up across eCommerce stores, but not all are built the same. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to teach this technology how to respond to customers accurately takes time. Therefore, it is essential to start early to mature these systems and software. Providing a free and fast delivery service has also become the norm, and since consumers are aware of this, they have a propensity to search brands until one offers the right deal at the right time. Understanding your supply chain processes and fixing any discrepancies is an important step towards being able to provide a seamless service.
Example – Free Express Delivery for Subscribers:
There are many ways to convert a website visitor into an email subscriber. Although free delivery is an easy find, free and fast delivery is not as attainable. Offering a free and express delivery service to email subscribers is a great way to build your database and provide a convenient shopping experience.
This enticement will not only be an advantage if competitors aren’t doing the same, but it will also stimulate excitement and anticipation for the subscriber, now knowing they can get your fantastic product pronto.
This person feels special when they have your undivided time and attention.
How to Apply: Brand awareness, consistent engagement, interaction across online platforms.
A one-time purchase or positive experience can be quickly forgotten when your customer is constantly flooded with competitor brand contact and advertising across the web, email, and social media. Regular, genuine engagement with your audience by means of sharing interesting stories, brand values, and interacting personally, can build your following’s trust and affinity with the brand. Invesp reported that 59% of shoppers prefer to buy new products from the brands they trust. Sharing compelling and useful content via email newsletters and social media will keep you on your audiences’ minds while they are enjoying their downtime on their phones or desktops.
Example – Live and Interactive Instagram Stories:
Live Instagram Stories are a unique and fun way to interact with an audience. It can grow the following’s trust and fondness for the brand and the people behind it, and it can help build brand authority in your industry. Beauty retailers like Sephora regularly host live Q&As with makeup artists, beauty influencers, and product developers. Sephora allows its viewers to ask questions throughout the Q&As. Viewers can gain helpful skincare and makeup tips, and they can also feed their curiosity when hearing the behind-the-scenes stories of adored influencers.
A strong handshake, hug, or being able to experience something physically is what this person finds truly impactful. My thoughts are with those in this category during COVID-19.
How to Apply: Virtual experience, 360-degree product view, interactive social media, packaging.
It might be perceived that the product and packaging itself is the only physical experience that an eCommerce store can provide to its customers. However, with the need for innovation to ensure business continuity during COVID-19 coupled with new technology, online retailers now have the capability to offer live streaming and virtual reality (VR) experiences. An interactive website with 360-product viewing will be an advantage to businesses with customers who typically prefer making decisions in person. Leverage the technology capabilities available to eCommerce platforms and give your customers the closest thing to a real-life experience.
Example – Virtual Travel Experiences:
Companies within the travel industry, such as Klook, are already creating virtual experiences to be innovative during a time where travel has been hit the hardest. Klook Live! is the new service this travel booking platform now offers. From the ability for customers to book live interactive experiences to additional paid premium content, avid travelers who are unable to explore during COVID-19 will find this type of service enticing. It will also prime them for booking a real-life experience when able to do so, creating customer retention.
Although it can come across as materialistic, receiving gifts is considered an incredibly thoughtful gesture and is cherished even more so by someone who has Receiving Gifts as their top love language.
How to Apply: Special promotions, timely delivery.
Receiving the purchase is the ultimate goal; however, there are many ways to apply the Receiving Gifts language to your digital marketing strategy, and one includes offering enticing promotions. Depending on the nature of your brand, there will be a respect level you must align with. For instance, if you have a sale every second week, it’s not going to feel very special to a customer, because firstly the product has lost its worth. Secondly, the customer knows they can buy the product at a lower price whenever they’re ready to commit to purchasing. Respect and an element of ‘fear of missing out’ are crucial for promotional marketing, as is your promise to your customers. Promising your customer an unrealistic delivery time can have a huge impact on the overall customer experience. Regardless of how likable you are on Instagram or how user-friendly your website is, if a customer is waiting a few extra days to receive a purchase, this might leave a negative impression and lead to a bad review. Offer valuable gifts to your customers and receive lasting respect and retention.
Example – Leave a Review in Exchange for a Gift:
Many businesses now actively seek customer feedback following the purchase of a product. One effective way that companies collect reviews is by following up with their customers after they’ve received the product. This is usually via an email, asking for feedback in exchange for a discount or free product. A few months ago, I ordered an eyelash growth serum online. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email two weeks after receiving my product, offering me another serum for free in exchange for an Amazon review. I wrote my review and received my gift. I now reorder this product monthly.
Improving customer experience online doesn’t have to be complicated. If you know the vital areas to improve and who can help you in developing those areas, you’re bound to speak the love language of all potential and current customers soon enough. Data analytics will play a large role in this journey. The key is to start early, as some of these strategies take time to realize and become recognizable. Spending time with your customers on social media, responding quickly to a website visitor via a chatbot, and writing informative and engaging blog posts are some of the countless ways you can nurture your customer relationships and form a deeper bond. By the way, my primary love language is Words of Affirmation, so please feel free to leave a comment if you’ve enjoyed reading this article.
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