As the famous saying goes, “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” You might think that you effectively communicate with your eCommerce buyers, but do they feel the same?
The latest customer frustration survey suggests not. eCommerce buyers have grown more frustrated at not being able to get answers to simple questions, making communication the biggest customer frustration of all. However, this isn’t a cause of concern; it’s an opportunity for you to outperform your competitors.
The importance of eCommerce communication
You don’t have the benefit of face-to-face interaction online, making effective communication even more essential for business success.
Being able to effectively communicate your brand story, product information, and unique selling proposition, while answering customer questions is important. Customers who are provided with the knowledge, skills, and desire to buy from you are more likely to convert, return, and recommend you.
In contrast, customers who don’t have enough information, guidance, or encouragement to buy from you are more likely to buy elsewhere, complain, and badmouth you.
The essential ingredients for good communications
However, without face-to-face interaction, successful communication online is challenging and requires a combination of components.
- Accessibility – Customers must be able to initiate conversations with you wherever they are during the purchasing journey.
- Ease – It must be easy for customers to find your communication channels and initiate conversations.
- Immediacy – eCommerce customers like responses just as they like their shipping: fast.
- Quality – Customer communication must be positive, helpful, persuasive, and patient.
7 ways to communicate with eCommerce buyers
To improve communication with eCommerce buyers, it’s crucial to consider the different channels available to your store and customers. The seven most popular methods of eCommerce communication are as follows.
1. Web content
Your marketplace listings and eCommerce web copy are likely the first time you communicate with your potential customers. The advantage of this is that you can quickly engage and persuade with key information to convert customers without the need for further pre-sale communication.
However, given the current rate of cart abandonment, your listing and web copy can often be the cause of customers leaving your store before converting.
Make sure your web content is:
- Relevant – Pitch to the right audience using natural language and explaining any complex terms
- Helpful – Provide all necessary information or links to further guidance
- Easy to read – Use headings and bullet points to make it seamless and engaging
2. Live chat
eCommerce customers love the 24/7 nature of love chat, allowing them to get immediate answers to product questions or service queries. Live chat also enables you to initiate conversations with shoppers too, showing them that you’re ready and waiting to help them over the checkout.
Of course, running a 24/7 live chat function on your eCommerce website has its difficulties, especially if you don’t have the budget for a large customer service team. However, there are a number of highly effective and affordable AI chatbots for eCommerce store owners, such as:
- Gorgias – a live chatbot guided by stats, rules, and templates.
- Tido – a live chatbot that checks product availability, delivery status, and latest discounts.
- Reamaze – a pre-build chatbot that answers questions covered in your FAQ.
3. Social media
Conversions happen on social media, making it the ideal channel for engaging in two-way conversations with your customers. You can update shoppers on your latest products, run competitions, and share customer reviews while providing them with the opportunity to comment on your posts, send you messages, and tag you in photos.
However, social media is a public forum, meaning that customers can see both the good and bad comments about your brands and products. Therefore, if you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you must be proactive in posting, responding to comments, and addressing negative feedback.
These tools can help:
- Kit – Shopify’s virtual assistant, who automatically creates posts on your behalf.
- Referral Candy – a referral program that tracks shares on social media.
- Hootsuite – a social scheduling platform that has rich reports and analytics.
- Buffer – a social media tool that helps you manage and grow your social audience.
4. Facebook Messenger
With open rates as high as 98% and click-through rates as high as 44%, Facebook Messenger is a worthwhile communication channel. The social media messenger service allows shoppers to communicate with you on a platform they’re familiar with and spending a significant amount of time on – enhancing the customer journey.
Although, Facebook Messenger isn’t without its considerations. Just like live chat, users expect an immediate response to queries, day and night. Facebook and Facebook Messenger are also highly distracting, which can lead to unintended cart abandonment. If you’re considering Facebook Messenger as a communication channel, the following plugins might prove essential:
- Omega – a Facebook Messenger chat that’s integrated into your website, allowing customers to send messages without leaving your store.
- Tobi – an automated Facebook bot that solves customer queries itself.
- Gorgias – a customer support tool that integrates your Messenger chat and other customer communication channels into one place.
- ManyChat – a Facebook Messenger tool that has welcome flows, workflows, analytics, and more.
SMS is the second most preferred communication channel of millennials, and with a 90% open rate within just three minutes of receipt, it’s a popular channel with sellers too. Taking place away from the mayhem of the inbox and social media, SMS communications foster relationships with customers, while ensuring that your message is received and read.
The drawback of SMS is that you only have 160-characters to engage, provide information, and get across your CTA. But, in today’s heavy-content world, is that a bad thing?
The simplicity of SMS is also enhanced with these Shopify plugins:
- TxtCart – a manual and automated SMS platform that comes with MMS functionality.
- Marsello – an SMS campaign tool that can send personalized product recommendations.
- Firepush – an SMS and web push tool that can also be used for cart abandonment.
Emails might get a bad reputation with bounce rates, open rates, and click through rates, but they’re still a customer favorite. 63% of people list email as their #1 preferred communication channel, and emails are by far the most adaptive method for sending customers additional information, product videos, personalized content, and more.
As with all communication channels, email has its downsides. Emails suffer from a 20% open rate and a 3.2% click-through rate; if they even get past the spam filter. However, these problems can be overcome with attention-grabbing subject lines, engaging content, and white hat practices.
And last, but definitely not least, the humble telephone. Nearly half of customers like using the phone for customer service queries. It’s quick, there’s a person at the end, and it’s simple. Sure, this communication channel might not be popular forever, but with little startup and running costs, it’s a no-brainer channel to offer while customers are still using it
Which is the best way to communicate with your eCommerce buyers? It depends on your business and audience. Trial the above methods and see which ones work before for you.
It’s good to talk!