6 ways to optimize your customer engagement strategy

Making a sale in your ecommerce store is an awesome feeling. You've attracted the attention of a new customer, and they liked your store, your products, and your whole vibe enough to buy something from you. But if that's the end of the story, you're going to find it hard to expand your business. A new customer is a wonderful thing, but a new loyal, returning customer is far better.

This is what customer engagement is all about. You want to convert those first-time customers into repeat customers who shop with you regularly, and bring their friends, too. That takes more than just low prices; it requires a meticulous strategy. Here are six ways to kickstart your customer engagement strategy and convert your one-off shoppers into regulars.

1. Invite your customers to join your loyalty program

Your new customers might have found you because they were looking for the lowest price, but that's not what's going to make them stay. You can't have the lowest price every single time. If you want them to keep coming back, and bring their credit card with them, you'll have to offer something more significant and engaging than low prices. Everyone loves to feel like they're part of the "in" crowd, and that's what you want to achieve with your loyalty program. Your customers probably have plenty of loyalty cards, point systems, and rewards stacking up with a number of vendors, so while those are all good things, they aren't enough to turn heads and foster loyalty.

You want to create an atmosphere of exclusivity, so that your new customers feel cared for and special just because you've invited them to join you. Offer unique rewards like advanced access to your sales and new collections, premium products, and personalized offers and experiences.

At the same time, don't make it difficult for anyone to join. If you force new customers to jump through too many hoops for your loyalty program, they'll walk away, no matter how enticing it is. Make account creation automatic by generating a form with prefilled fields. It encourages shoppers to complete the task by filling in the remaining information and clicking "join." An exclusive, appealing loyalty club that's easy to join, but that feels premium and selective? Mmm, that's good.

2. Make an offer they can't refuse

Once your new customer has joined your loyalty program, you want them to feel the benefits immediately. Don't wait to send them their rewards; send the first discount or special offer immediately to cement their connection with your brand. It can take careful thought to find the right rewards and send them at the right times. You want to provide significant discounts that feel big, without giving away all your profits. Link larger rewards with bigger customer spends, like 15% cash back on purchases over $100 and 25% cashback on purchases over $200.

Don't overlook the power of personalized offers. They make each one of your customers feel like they have an individual relationship with your brand. They make people feel seen, understood, and cared for. That kind of connection is gold, and it's why 82% of Americans stay loyal to specific brands, year after year. It's within your grasp when you use segmentation to design different offers for each "type" of customer.

Send birthday and anniversary discount offers. Tailor your special offers according to your customers' favorite product categories. You might find that customers aged 20-35 prefer to buy basic, physical camping equipment, but that customers aged 35-50 buy techie camping gadgets, for example, so adjust your offers accordingly.

3. Be everywhere your customers are

In 2020, we live our lives online just as much as offline. We order pizza from an app, compare product prices on our phones when we're standing in a store, and make friends who we've never even met IRL. With everyone sliding seamlessly between their online and offline worlds, it's crazy to think that your store should only exist in one world. If you have a bricks-and-mortar presence as well as an online presence, you should consider them as just one entity that's in two places. You wouldn't expect to be told that you can only use a GAP gift card at one store, would you? So why restrict your customers to only online or in-person transactions?

Your special offers, loyalty programs, and gift cards need to be truly omnichannel so that customers can use them everywhere. Enable shoppers to order online and pick up in store, or to arrange online to exchange the skirt they bought in-store for one in a different size or color. Your customers are already blending both worlds seamlessly, and you need to do the same. Your brand should be offering a single consistent retail experience across every channel.

4. Put your email marketing to work

Whoever claimed that email is dead was far too quick to write it off. Email marketing is still an incredibly powerful and effective way to improve your customer engagement. It still has one of the highest conversion rates compared with other channels, and one study found that every dollar you spend on email marketing brings in an average of $32 in return. Once you've got customers on your email list and captured their details, don't let it go to waste. Use email marketing platforms to send regular updates and newsletters that are worth reading.

Your emails are a way to connect with your customers, as well as a channel for sharing special offers, so give people a reason to open their mail. Send chatty, engaging emails that cement the bond with your customers. Email marketing, done right, is full of clever tricks. One of them is to use your email marketing platform to learn more about your customers by tracking which emails get opened first, who responds to special offers and who prefers exclusive pre-sale announcements, and more. And remember to re-engage with your customers regarding store credit! If they have store credit - from a return, a gift, or a loyalty program - reminding them that they've got FREE CASH is an excellent way to re-engage.

Email marketing platforms allow you to segment customers into as many groups as you can imagine: young parents; fashion-lovers; people who only wear purple; etc. With segmentation, you can send personalized emails at scale that appeal to each customer's real interests and preferences.

5. Make it personal

Like we've said before, everyone loves to feel special. Mine your customer data from email, your loyalty program, and Google analytics information about website visits to learn what your customers love (and what they don't), and then use that information to send them offers that they'll respond to. For example, if your customer just bought a new home stereo system, send an email a few weeks later with suggestions for a complementary item, like extra speakers for more rooms. Or if someone recently bought some cute baby outfits in size 3-6 months, suggest some items that would look great on a 9-month baby. Your one-time-customer just realized that you "have her back" and know what she's on the lookout for. Boom! She feels special and you just converted her to a repeat customer.

6. Make the most of customer interest

If you want to drive excellent customer engagement, don't wait around. The best time to secure your customer's interest and loyalty is right after they've made a purchase. This is a point of high trust, because the shopper just got a great deal on the item they wanted, so strike while the iron is hot by using post-purchase upsells.

Upsells are a long-standing sales tactic, where you offer the customer an additional product that's connected to the item they want to buy. It's what Amazon does when it shows you "People who buy coffee beans also buy coffee filters" just after you've added coffee beans to your cart.

Post-purchase upsells apply this tactic to the moment just after purchase. It's the perfect time to suggest that your happy customer add a second product for half price or sign up for a subscription to one of your products.

CartHook Post Purchase Offers for Shopify stores turns this into a one-click process, so your customer doesn't have to log back in to the site to complete the transaction. They complete the purchase, see your offer, and accept with one click because they've already added their payment info. Then they see the thank you page!

This way, you can show your brand's personality, cement the relationship with your new customer, and demonstrate an excellent customer experience by offering them the right product at the right time.

Create new customers and keep them, too

Customer engagement is the way to create new customers for life, not just for a single transaction. With the right customer engagement strategies and tools, you can transform new shoppers into loyal customers and brand ambassadors, now and forever. lets you manage your gift cards, loyalty cards, rewards, and refunds.

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