How and Why You Need to Keep Customers Engaged in Your Store for Longer

Nov 9, 2022
Blogs
Fashion
Metaverse
6 min read
EMPERIA

Although virtual stores may well be a new phenomenon and a concept yet to be fully tapped into by retailers around the world, they share many similarities to conventional retail stores. To be more specific, the importance of engaging customers for longer periods with the goal of maximising profitability. It’s not a revelation that although driving traffic to stores is a primary focus, encouraging them to stay within the store for longer is a key determinant of business success. 

Salesmen use conversation and charm to maximise the sale window, and websites maintain your attention with engaging copy and site designs. Virtual stores must pick up where their predecessors are and have always found success. Put simply, if a customer spends more time in your store and has an enjoyable time doing so, they’re more likely to make a purchase and also more likely to return.

So, how do you ensure customers stick around longer to maximise your profitability?

The Why

More time spent browsing products

Whether it’s bricks-and-mortar, online, or virtual stores — the more time customers spend engaged and browsing products, the more likely they will pull the trigger on the sale. It’s human nature. If you spend a prolonged period in a retail store, you naturally want to justify it. And what better way to do that than by making a purchase? Although many businesses will assume the virtual aspect of the store will be enough to engage audiences, this will dwindle over time.

While the quality and relevance of products often drive the sales process and end result, the store’s environment plays a vital role in how long you’ll stick around. When a business creates a virtual store with this in mind, there’s plenty of room for creativity and discovering new ways to engage an audience. This is why offering customers an experience, not just a place to buy products, is essential. Fortunately, the metaverse has an abundance of possibilities and lacks the restrictions of a physical store.

Yes, many customers may visit your store just to see what it’s like and to tell their friends about it. However, while customers explore every corner of your virtual store and interact with the various features, they learn more about your brand and the products you offer. In the process, they discover new reasons why the brand and its offerings suit their needs and appeal to them as a consumer.

Brand recognition and loyalty

In the business world, brand recognition and customer loyalty are two crucial factors of success. Think of the real-life stores you regularly visit or would return to in a heartbeat. They’re likely those you remember fondly or offer a truly memorable experience. Any business creating a virtual store should always have its customers’ experience in mind. Everything from aesthetic design to user experience (UX) to interactive features contributes to engagement. Simply providing a space to sell products isn’t enough anymore, especially if you want to grow a loyal customer base.
Building a loyal audience maximises profits by increasing the spend per customer rather than customers who buy once and don’t return. Also, it massively increases your chances of repeat business and organic growth through word of mouth. To some, the virtual space is a novelty. The reality is that it is the perfect way to diversify your approach to sales and maximise profitability by appealing to as many markets as possible.

The How

High-quality user experience (UX)

Without harping on too much about the need to provide potential customers with an engaging experience… It is really, really important. If a customer is bored, underwhelmed, or there’s a more exciting alternative — even those that offer the same products — it’ll be difficult for your store to compete. This is where user experience (UX) plays such a vital role in the success or failure of a virtual store. For online stores, this can be quick loading times, high-quality designs, fluid sales processes, and more. 

With a virtual store, user experience includes media quality, VR and AR technologies, gamification, and eCommerce integration for maximised convenience. These are but a few features of current virtual stores and just a hint of what the future holds. Regardless of what features you opt for, quality is key. Virtual stores must offer a smooth and optimal experience if they hope to engage customers and maintain the magic of a virtual environment. Customers can easily be put off if it doesn’t feel seamless and like real life.

Incentives and rewards

The e-commerce space, online or virtual, is very competitive and will only continue to get more crowded. With this in mind, businesses must do everything they can to incentivise customers to pick them over a competitor and give them a good reason to return. Incentives and rewards are a brilliant way to achieve this, especially as the virtual environment provides many ways to increase engagement while learning more about your customers.

For example:

  • Loyalty points
  • Tier-based discounts
  • Exclusive rewards for return customers
  • Gaming experiences

The above are only a few ways virtual stores can engage current and new customers. Thanks to the video game-style nature of the experience, it naturally appeals to the competitive side of people. Incentives such as loyalty schemes and tier-based discounts offer financial benefits and allow brands to simultaneously create thriving communities.
Additionally, incentives and rewards give businesses an ideal way of tracking purchasing data and patterns. With this, brands can create personalised promotions, engage new customers, and optimise processes to increase the efficiency of supply chains (virtual and real).

Gamification

As we mentioned, customers must stay engaged, immersed and thoroughly entertained to remain in your virtual store. It’s all about the experience. Gamification has quickly proved to be a frontrunner tactic for increasing engagement, alongside quirky features such as virtually trying on clothes (AR) and live shopping (VR).

Transforming online shopping into a gaming experience is a brilliant way to engage and excite customers, especially if there are competitive aspects to lean into. For example, rewards for completing tasks, in-game currencies, and tracked progress all work within the video game space — and it looks like this success will be repeated in the metaverse. Want proof? Just look at the mountains of money being made from game microtransactions.

AR and VR technology can also influence product strategies and marketing campaigns. By incorporating gaming mechanics, businesses increase brand recognition and loyalty, influence customer behaviours, and build longer-lasting relationships with their target audience.


Learn more about virtual stores from Emperia.

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