The underlying problems
Every business is looking towards having their online sales channel to tap into this massive trend shift and eventually has become a habit of consumers to purchase online. The cost of entry for e-commerce is never an issue for most businesses but not all of them succeeded in the channel. Most companies manage to acquire traffic and sales with CPP marketing, SEO, social media channels etc, but conversion percentage remains relatively low (usually stays at 0.5 – 2% depending on industry).
One of the issues is that these companies do not know who are their customers and how their customers behave and engage with them. Some companies will argue that they’ve integrated Google Analytics (free version) and they have an overview of how’s traffic being acquired and how the users’ behaviours in their web or app. These free analytics data has limitation and merely give you an overview report which doesn’t cover more accurate data on your users’ segmentation analysis and this has blocked the marketers to perform better marketing with more insightful and personalised data.
Customer engagement and data platform (CEP & CDP) is a must-have tool for most of the e-commerce players in the market for their next-level marketing. With CDP, business owners have the precise data to segment their customers into different groups with the recency, frequency, and monetary model and of course combine the rest of the elements like interest, spending, & duration.
What is Customer Data Platform (CDP) & Customer Engagement Platform (CEP)
TL;DR: CDP captures users’ data (with your permission) and the events that happen in your e-commerce web and app. CDP system provides insightful reports for marketers from these data. Marketers, UX and other stakeholders plan their strategies according to these reports.
CEP combines CDP with engagement tools such as email, SMS, push notification, in-app push, in-app messaging, personalised content, WhatsApp, etc for marketers to automate the communication or engagement process in order to achieve the objectives such as conversion.
How Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) benefits e-commerce website
With all the raw data provided to CEP, these data eventually can be presented in a better and clearer view. These reports allow marketers to filter their customers/users segment according to any attributes or behaviours. By combining the datasets, the filter can be very precise in targeting the right message to the right person. For example, marketers would like to know which customers are considered as their high-value customers with the definition of customers who purchased more than X times within X duration and average spending at X amount. Marketers can export results accordingly.
Marketers are allowed to create dynamic messages and display them to the users according to their attributes. The personalised message isn’t bound to basic data such as name, or title but to the extent of displaying different content (for example promotion items) according to the users’ interest or purchase behaviour.
This is one of the most important reasons to have CEP tools. Conventional digital marketing delivers messages without clear targeting, it’s a waste of resources and it causes customers to avoid engaging with the brands or companies due to the annoyance of all these unrelated and spammy messages. With CEP, marketers would know when and where to deliver the message and most importantly, the message content and to which users. You wouldn’t want to deliver a message to remind your users to come back to your most purchased customers and this would piss them off.
Displaying the right message at the right time is very important, this would increase the chances for customers to engage and make decisions instantly based on the reflection reaction theory. Most of the CEP is equipped with a whiteboard automation tool that allows marketers to set a series of actions according to users’ action or event attributes. One of the most classical examples would be abandoned cart recovery. You understand that the potential buyers may be interested in your items when they added them to their cart, but didn’t take any further actions due to several reasons, as such marketers would set a series of follow-ups and promotional messages to them until they checkout or remove the item from the shopping cart. This can be done automatically.
How to choose the right Customer Engagement Platform provider?
There are many options available in the market. All you need is just Google them. Since there are many players providing this service, don’t worry that you can’t find the right one. But you do need to be careful to choose the right vendors because the switching cost can be very painful and you don’t want that to happen. To avoid all the pitfalls, we’ve prepared the guideline for your reference before any decision is made.
- Understand the features provided by the CEP vendor. Prepare your own comparison table and list down all the features that are required the least for your company. Then list down the extra features provided by vendors that you have interviewed and include them in the comparison table. As such, you will have a better overview of what these companies offer and what are their platform capabilities. Do take note that vendors provided the most features do not correlate to the suitability of your preference. These vendors can cost more and more complicated during integration.
- Vendors’ testimonials from other clients. Is better to do your own research about the company’s background and to get some feedback from their existing clients about the platform info and also their customer service quality. Also making sure that the platform is able to help its clients after using their platform.
- The integration difficulty. These platforms require highly technical integration with your e-commerce system. But the integration often failed due to incompatibility between systems or non-supported plugins. IT personnel have to understand if the platform does provide the software development kit (SDK) or APIs that is compatible with your current web and mobile app programming language. Some platforms have ready plugins for most e-commerce software such as Woocommerce, Opencart, Magento, etc., which is more favourable for integrators to go with it.
- Consultancy and customer service quality. In order to harness the full potential of these platforms, the vendors of the customer services shouldn’t stop after the selling has done. Integrators need assistance from the vendors for technical integration, the faster the response the quicker the system goes live. Often these integrations take months until the ROI turns sour. A good vendor always provides the best practices and case studies reference for its clients to optimise the performance and results of the platform. It is very important that vendors do listen to their clients’ suggestions on certain unavailable features and roll on accordingly. Make sure the vendor provides sufficient training for the users who are going to use the system.
- The cost of CEP usually isn’t cheap. But is it very important for you to weigh the ROI and current usage of the platform before making any decision. You will be expecting some of the costs during integration and licensing. Bear in mind that these systems don’t come with a one-off fee, and most of them charge by usage and the number of users.
- Data privacy. Well, this is one of the most FAQ from the clients. The more data fed to CEP the more reports and actions can be done by the marketers. But some of these datas can be very sensitive for example users’ contact details, behaviours, sales figures etc. You don’t want these datas to be leaked to your competitors and shared with others. Make sure these vendors have a certain level of encryption for some of the important data and security prevention. These vendors must have strong privacy policies binding together with the contract during the engagement.
Which CEP vendors are well known in the market?
In Bravo Net, we help our clients to suggest a suitable customer engagement platform within their budget and requirements together with the integration service.