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7 Ways Your Ecommerce Communication Strategy is Driving Customers Away

|  8 min
In this article

According to studies by eMarketer, with fewer and fewer people shopping in physical stores, some 22.6% of total retail sales will be conducted online by 2027. There are currently around 2.71 billion online shoppers worldwide – a figure that’s anticipated to rise to 2.77 billion in 2025. The International Post Corporation reveals that 34% of shoppers shop online at least once a week.

Clearly, now is a great time to be in eCommerce, with purely digital players enjoying a head start over more traditional businesses which have yet to fully embrace the concept of internet and mobile shopping. In fact, Forbes advises companies to maximize their online presence and give customers a viable way to shop online, rather than continuing to invest in brick-and-mortar real estate.

However, simply having an online presence is not in itself a recipe for success. ECommerce offerings need to be tailored to their target market, if your organization is going to attract sales. For example, with consumers aged 18 to 34 being the most frequent social media shoppers, companies looking to capture this demographic need to take into account the preferred platforms and methods of engagement of these potential buyers, if they are to effectively connect with customers.

Organizations looking to use eCommerce must also take the role of the customer experience (CX) in modern buying into account. In a digital market where a simple discount can prompt consumers to switch to a different brand, and a single negative review on social media can drive away potential customers, businesses must adopt eCommerce strategies, customer support, and fulfillment mechanisms that meet and exceed customer expectations.

Putting the focus on customer experience in eCommerce pays dividends. According to Statista, customers who enjoyed exceptional past experiences with a brand exhibited a 140% increase in spending compared to those who encountered less favorable experiences. In promoting customer satisfaction, Deloitte reveals that brands that provide a high degree of personalization gain customer loyalty, which is 1.5 times higher than brands that struggle with personalization. However, Gartner studies suggest that more than 70% of customer experience leaders face challenges in crafting projects that enhance customer loyalty and deliver desired outcomes.

To succeed in the challenging eCommerce arena, organizations need to improve their customer experience game, and maximize their efforts at customer retention. Effective communication strategies have a big role to play in this.

Why Effective Communications Matter in eCommerce

By their very nature, customer interactions in eCommerce rely on effective communications between the brand and the consumer. Typically, the immediacy of speaking with a sales rep or store associate is lacking. This puts the onus on the eCommerce organization to create a simple and stress-free path to completion for their customer base. 

That means easy to navigate websites, online portals, and mobile apps, with clear signage, information, and support resources at every stage of the customer journey. Clear messaging, timely notifications, and proactive updates can keep potential customers aware of new product or service releases, the status of their transactions, or the details and timelines of their delivery or issue resolution scenarios.

Communication Strategies That Deter Consumers

Communication strategies like those outlined above represent the ideal situation. The truth is that eCommerce organizations may be suffering under the effect of infrastructure and operational challenges that do little to improve customer communications, or actively work against effective customer engagement.

We’ve identified seven (7) key areas where this can occur – together with communication strategies and recommendations that can help you overcome them.

1. Your Customer Engagement Lacks Personalization

Customer engagement and loyalty to your brand receive a boost when your consumers know  that you value them as individuals, rather than just sales. Addressing each customer by name and demonstrating that you have some knowledge of their aspirations and specific needs is one way to achieve this.

To create personalized communications and messaging, you’ll need to make responsible use of transaction and customer data. You’ll also need to tailor the frequency, nature, and content of your communications to the specific channels that each customer prefers using to engage with your brand.

We have already noted that people aged 18 to 34 are the most frequent social media shoppers. Some 20% of consumers buy personal care products from eCommerce websites, while 22% shop online for groceries and supplies. A recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center reveals that 91% of adults aged 18 to 49 report using their smartphones to make online purchases, compared to 69% of those aged 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older. 

As an eCommerce player, you therefore need to create personalized messaging that’s specifically tailored for the platforms and devices that your potential customers use. This requires a communications system that’s versatile enough to meet such a challenge. With IDT Express Omnichannel Messaging for example, you can effectively manage 15 different messaging apps all in one place — from SMS to WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and more.

2. Slow Response Time to Queries and Issues

McKinsey research suggests that online consumers demand swift responses on social media, with 40% of potential customers expecting replies within an hour, and 79% within 24 hours. Customers expect these quick replies to come via their preferred communications channel – whether it be email, social media, SMS, or live chat. A swift response can often spell the difference between a lost sales opportunity and customer satisfaction.

You can use a combination of human resources and technology, to increase your ability to respond in a timely manner to queries and customer support issues. AI chatbots and an online resource/knowledge base can provide automated responses to the most common queries. At the same time, you can train your customer support staff in the best ways to handle queries efficiently.

With IDT Omnichannel Messaging, you can provide support and customer interactions on the world’s most popular social media platforms. With IDT Express SMS, you can reach all mobile users instantly, ensuring delivery and engagement – and enjoy the benefit of high open rates and personalized interactions, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty. Using IDT, you can even set up automatic failover to ensure uninterrupted communication with your customers.

3. Unclear Messaging

Whether you’re describing a product or service, setting out shipping and return policies, or giving instructions on how to pay, you must provide clarity in your messaging and visual presentation. Use plain language as much as possible, and avoid technical terms or jargon which might confuse potential customers. Keeping your messages clear in eCommerce communication is a great way to eliminate confusion and keep customer complaints to a minimum.

In your product or service descriptions, you should focus on how the customer will benefit, rather than selling features and gimmicks. Make calls to action (CTAs) clear, firm, and easy to understand.

You should set out your shipping and returns policies or other Terms and Conditions clearly and unambiguously, avoiding hidden fees and clauses. Statista observes that nearly half of American shoppers leave eCommerce sites at the checkout stage, due to extra costs like shipping fees or taxes. 

Many opt out if an eCommerce site requires them to sign up for an account (25%), or if the estimated delivery time is slow (24%). You should therefore provide clear order confirmations, shipping updates, and expected timelines for delivery. If you need to report errors, use helpful, informative messages that guide customers toward real-time solutions.

4. Failing to Provide Customer Support Across All Channels

The omnichannel consumer is now a reality, and not a concept. Potential customers will approach your organization from any number of avenues: mobile app, website, social media, etc. They may switch between these channels at any point in the customer journey.

Your role requires you to meet them wherever they are, with a consistent, seamless, and positive customer experience. This of course includes customer support, which can be the tipping point that ensures customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty, or the dealbreaker that results in lost revenue and opportunities.

You will therefore need to provide your customer service team with the information, tools and technology to cater for different customer preferences, while providing consistent and high-quality service across all platforms.

With a business communications platform like IDT Express Omnichannel Messaging, you can leverage a powerful Application Programming Interface (API) to seamlessly connect with your audience across a multitude of channels. Reliable coverage across the globe ensures that your messages reach your audience, no matter where they are. You can also enhance customer engagement with intelligent ChatBots, to automate responses, handle routine queries, and create personalized customer interactions.

5. Not Collecting Customer Feedback

If you’re not providing mechanisms to gauge and collect customer opinions and feedback, your eCommerce organization is missing out on two key fronts. On the one hand, feedback from consumers enables existing and potential customers to make their voices heard. This promotes the feeling that their opinions matter to your business, and that you are a listening brand.

On the other hand, customer feedback and sentiment analysis can bring to light what’s going right and what’s going wrong with your website, mobile app, customer support, shipping and fulfillment processes. With this knowledge you can make improvements that increase customer engagement and contribute to a more positive customer experience.

With a business communications platform like IDT Omnichannel Messaging, you can easily provide customer feedback forms or surveys, and invite reviews after a purchase. With social media integration, this user-generated content can help take your brand image to a global level.

6. Failing to Educate Your Customer Base

Of course, effective communications involves two-way conversation. If you’re not keeping your existing and potential customers informed about your products and services, you are denying them the information they need to make informed decisions that can positively impact their lives.

You can educate your customer base by creating a knowledge base – for example with “How To” guides and tutorials, Frequently Asked Questions, and articles describing how a particular product or service can solve specific problems.

With IDT Omnichannel Messaging for example, you can tap into Viber’s extensive user base for vibrant and multimedia-rich communications that enhance your promotional campaigns and connect with users on a more personal level. Using Instagram Messenger integration, you can expand your reach to connect, share updates, and foster engagement with a visually-oriented audience. 

7. Not Providing a Seamless Customer Experience

The omnichannel customer of today expects a consistent and seamless experience with your brand, regardless of the platform they are using to engage with your eCommerce organization. Failure to provide a consistent and frictionless customer experience across all channels may inspire potential customers to look elsewhere for gratification.

Information gathering can be instrumental to this. Tracking conversations and customer interactions across different channels and pairing them with the customer’s activity at various touch points can empower you to offer more personalized service and support. Analysis of customer data and transaction histories can also reveal pain points and sources of friction within the customer journey.

To help you with this, you’ll need business communication tools that can provide analytics and insight. For example, the IDT Express SMS platform offers comprehensive analytics and reporting features that enable you to track the performance of your SMS campaigns. IDT Express also provides integration with all major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms

Taking Your eCommerce Efforts to the Next Level

As we have demonstrated, for greater customer retention and an improved customer experience, your eCommerce organization requires a business communications solution that provides clear messaging, brand consistency, two-way interactions, and data analytics across multiple channels.

You can have all of this with the IDT Express platform, which offers Omnichannel Messaging and a comprehensive business SMS solution. 

To talk to one of our experts today, and find out if we are a good fit for you – and to get $25 Free Test Credit with a Trial Account – visit our sign-up page.

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