In today’s hyper-connected world that we live in, where everything is fast-paced and in constant change. The rules of customer engagement have evolved, requiring brands to come up with new customer engagement solutions. Enabled by advancing technology and digital media has seen a spike in communication channels, shifting customer expectations drastically.
And as Gen-Z is now a vital part of the consumer base, brands need to keep up with the evolving trends. And deliver an experience that not only satisfies these digital natives but must also engage with them.
The next-gen consumers are more nuanced than most brands consider them. They look for meaning, relevance, and convenience in their brand experience and expect these aspects to be a part of the complete buyer journey.
A brand’s values and how it treats its customers form the basis of its relationship with its clients and drive customer loyalty. No wonder, then, most bards are seeking to provide a customer experience that is consistent, personalized, and effective.
As there are more than 20 platforms proliferating in the market to engage customers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when a Gartner study stated that 50% of brands were expected to fail at unifying such platforms by 2022. Brands must objectively aim to deliver smooth omnichannel experiences to alleviate this.
The Power of Human Connection to Drive Customer Experience
In a world with a multitude of communication channels, it is imperative to provide customers with a first-class experience. It is essential to find engagement solutions to witness higher rates of conversions.
And more so with Gen-Z customers, who appear loyal to brands they feel represent their values. The key is to respond to customers in real time in an authentic and personalized manner while juggling many different platforms.
Finding digital engagement solutions that engage a restless and loyal customer base is the underlining reason more brand managers are awake late at night. To solve this appropriately, here are some ways to connect with next-gen customers.
7 Customer Engagement Solutions to Connect with Next-Gen
To connect with the next-gen audience, it is essential that you understand them. For starters, in a report published by Pew Research Centre, Gen-Z is highly diverse and on pace to become the most well-educated in American history.
Even though Gen-Zs are price conscious, they also prefer interacting with brands that are authentic, transparent and sustainable. Here are some ways to engage with customers:
1. Livestream Shopping for a Personalized Experience
It’s time to adapt to a new way of communicating with your customers – livestream shopping. Even though most brands are using videos to interact with their customers on social media, the best customer engagement solution is redirecting them back to your website.
In fact, only 11% of users bought a product directly on social media after viewing an ad. So it is advisable to use your website to increase conversion through livestreaming and shoppable videos as it can seamlessly incorporate high-impact video shopping experiences.
With Firework, brands can build emotional and authentic connections with customers on the back of superior technology. When Heinz partnered with Firework to promote their first-ever pop-up for Halloween. The theme was fun, with consumers asked to create using “tomato blood” ketchup. The campaign comprised a livestream event anchored on Heinz’s website.
The breakthrough campaign not only exceeded benchmarks but was recognized for two prestigious industry awards.
- A Bronze in the Best Campaign For a Celebration, Observance or Awareness Day Category from the Festival of Media
- A Gold from the Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media.
2. Adopt Chatbots for 24X7 Support
For a growing number of brands, chatbots seem a great way to interact with their customers in a host of exciting ways. In fact, Facebook states that there are now over 300,000 active bots on Messenger. And it makes sense as a customer engagement solution, as they can order food, schedule flights, and get recommendations. What’s more, adoption is growing.
To see how brands make the most use of chatbots, checkout out Spotify’s Facebook Messenger bot, where customers can effortlessly search, listen and share music.
What’s more impressive is that once you get started, expect playlist recommendations based on your mood, what you are doing, or any genre of music you desire.
3. Shoppable Videos with Actionable Elements
Shoppable videos enhance customers’ shopping experience by combining the total immersion of video with the convenience of eCommerce. Moreover, shoppable videos plug drop-offs that may take place from the moment a prospect views the video until checkout.
In order to make a sale or conversion, brands must keep an actionable element like ‘buy now’ or ‘subscribe’ so customers are made to act. The simple fact is that with shoppable videos, brands can deliver a similar experience on their digital properties and a razor-sharp focus on conversions and brand engagement.
Source: Big Bazaar
One of India’s largest retail chain operators, Big Bazaar, implemented Firework’s shoppable video units via a carousel on their E-Commerce website to transform the digital customer experience. Customers interact with short-form vertical videos that showcase products in detail and feature a ‘Shop Now’ CTA to complete the purchase.
4. Leverage Surveys to be a Good Listener:
As important is to know about your customer’s likes and dislikes, it is important to know who they are. It requires you to ask the right questions, listen to their needs, and respond with the right actions. Remember, surveys are a passive listening tool, so it is imperative that your surveys have a heart.
Don’t think of it as a business, but as empathy at scale. So create surveys with a purpose, an intent, a personal connection and a commitment to action to make it active listening and a meaningful customer engagement solution.
5. Leverage Social Media with Control over First-party Data
With the evolution of Web 3.0, is driving the change in social commerce, we know social commerce 2.0 is the future. As Web 3.0 is a decentralized form of the internet and exists outside the walled gardens of social media platforms, brands have an opportunity to create digital engagement solutions on their website.
After all, while running livestreams on third-party platforms like YouTube or using Instagram for a short video, you have no access to any customer data. In a cookie-less future, even data about customer behavior will become less accessible. An excellent live commerce platform must enable you to capture and own first-party data.
This allows you to collect data related to customer information and preferences directly and have the customer’s permission to contact them with relevant communication later.
6. Leverage Product Demonstration Opportunities
There is nothing like a product demonstration to attract your consumer to your brand. So as you plan your livestream experience, take the time and devise a few ways to show your product. Say you were to promote a new software on your livestream; it would be great to engage with customers by offering them a demo before the launch.
This will give them an idea and feel for the product. This tact can also work well at universities, where students can use their smartphones to show new students around your campus. These product demonstrations can form the core of your livestream in a live shopping event.
7. Leverage Incentives, Urgency And Deadlines To Lift Engagement
As most brands will likely tell you, urgency is a time-test principle in sales and marketing. And this also applies here, especially in the digital engagement space, to not only grow your livestream space but also and more importantly, to connect with customers.
There are multiple ways to implement this strategy – discounts, limited edition products or offering early access – to engage with your customers digitally.
To explain its success with customers, look no further than Bloomingdale. The fashion house hosted over 50 livestream shopping events over the course of the pandemic with discounts and incentives for buyers to join. Style experts lead customers to the stores who were hungry to cash in on “revenge shopping” and buy exclusive products.
Top 5 Strategies to Boost Your Customer Engagement
In order to make an impact in a market where your customer base is likely to lose attention very quickly, it is imperative that brands find ways to boost their customer engagement. To see customer engagement solutions, we need to look at a few trends that are currently driving commerce.
1. Grab their attention with Visual Content
Did you know there was a whopping 120% increase in video consumption during the pandemic? In fact, in a recent survey by Cisco, video traffic is likely to multiply by 15 and take over 82% of the internet between 2017 and 2022. These figures clearly state that for most customers, their preferred content format is videos. Making it clear, that it is the winner.
So the question arises, how can you, as a brand or marketer, tap into this potential to make the most of it? Engaging your audience with compelling video content is a strategy that you must not miss out on. Livestreaming and short shoppable videos are a great way to achieve this fruitfully.
2. Bit-size Content for their short attention span
With consumers now being bombarded with content, their attention span has diminished in this constantly connected world. Thus, the need of the hour becomes easy-to-digest content that is free of fluff. Driving customer engagement in a time when brands are wrestling for mindshare is a key challenge today.
That is why it is imperative for brands and marketers to create meaningful short-form videos and pack in a maximum punch, so their customers can connect.
3. Adopt Trending technologies
For a generation that is quick to voice their opinion, seek sustainable products and social inclusivity, being mere spectators to a brand’s offering is never enough. This is a generation that wants to be a part of it and experience it fully. They seek an immersive experience where they can engage with the brands that resonate with them personally and meaningfully.
Gen-Zs aren’t passive customers and seek to actively create with brands and look to highlight those experiences that impact them. So, conducting online contests and hosting virtual events are a great way for them to interact with brands, while creating user-generated content that you can then use.
To promote products and engage your next-gen customers, immersive livestreaming and live shoppable videos have proven extremely effective.
4. Leverage influencer marketing
Enlisting influencers — both micro and nano – as part of your marketing communication to promote your brand is a consumer engagement solution that is growing day by day.
By leveraging influencers who are relevant to your brand to increase traction and attract GenZ consumers is not only smart but also creates a channel to communicate, as influencers are your brand ambassadors. However, selecting the right influencers to whom these customers can relate is essential.
5. Demonstrating brand values and ethics
As mentioned earlier, Gen-Z consumers are more socially conscious than earlier generations. They are inclined to patronize brands that uphold responsible values like environmental sustainability and social inclusivity. Emphasize your brand values and represent them properly to make an impression on your customers.
While at the same time, do remain authentic to who you are. Don’t initiate values you can’t abide by because they will see through it.
Shopify, one of the leading e-commerce platforms, demonstrates how video marketing should be done to engage a dynamic Gen-Z consumer base.
With a user base of almost 250,000 subscribers, it provides other small and medium eCommerce brands with a superior platform to conduct business by integrating short and insightful shoppable videos and livestreams while making the payment process a breeze.
Engaging next-gen consumers is a diligent effort and tapping into new technologies and trends to unify your communication channels is a good practice.
Integrating Firework’s superior live commerce capabilities into your brand’s website is a simple yet highly effective move in this direction. Not only will you be able to run interactive and immersive content without having to resort to social media and other platforms, but you will also gain access to zero and first-party data that you can continue to own.