E-commerce

How to Increase Visitor Engagement: A Guide for Online Stores

Are you getting good and consistent traffic to your online store but struggle to engage those visitors further? Do your visitors leave without connecting with you or converting in any way?

Let’s face it – When you look at it purely from a business perspective, an unengaged visitor is more or less equal to having no visitor at all…

(Maybe except for the fact that you’ve, most likely, spent money to attract those unengaged visitors…)

Not great, isn’t it?

Luckily it’s not all that bad. Those visitors are an opportunity. For one, you can use various techniques to connect and engage with them and turn them into leads or customers. 

That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about in this guide. Below, you’ll learn some fundamental visitor engagement techniques that you can implement in your store right away.

But let’s start at the very end this time….

What Happens When You Engage Visitors Over and Over Again

The simplest answer – Your profitability goes up. That’s because visitor engagement is linked directly with sales and other business outcomes. Here’s why:

Engaged visitors spend more time on site: Bounce rate and Average session duration are two of the most critical visitor engagement metrics. A low bounce rate or high average session duration means the visitor spends more time on a site and finds value there.

And, in a purely business sense, it suggests that your visitor is more likely to perform your desired action – add a product to the cart, sign up for your mailing list, and so on.

And also that you’re sending a strong engagement signal to Google. High engagement also sends search engines signals that what’s on this page/website is worth visitors’ time. 

Engaged visitors ask more questions and engage with the brand. Once the visitor is curious about what you are saying and/or selling, they’ll connect with you and ask relevant questions. 

And if a visitor asks questions about the product, it means they are bouncing between the ‘interest’ and ‘evaluation’ phase of a sales funnel. At this stage, the same might be yours to lose. 

And of course, eventually, they perform your desired action: Only when you have visitors’ attention can you motivate them to buy from you, give their email, share your article, or perform any other action.

But how do you do it? How do you connect and engage website visitors successfully? 

Well, there are seven great ways to do it…

7 Tips To Increase Visitor Engagement

1. Increase site speed

I know; it feels almost irrelevant, right? What’s the speed at which your site loads got to do with engagement?

Quite a lot, actually.

Decreasing attention spans and Google’s Core Web Vitals update make fast loading speed more important than ever. Just consider these stats:

Incredible, right? 

So, if your site doesn’t load fast, a significant percentage of potential visitors won’t even visit, let alone engage with your web pages. 

Here are a few things you can do to increase site speed:

  • First, choose a faster web hosting: A high-performance server near the target audience will increase site loading speed.
  • Pick a faster template: These days, most websites and e-commerce stores use themes. If your theme isn’t well-optimized, switch to a faster one.
  • Compress and optimize files: Compress and optimize HTML, CSS, and JS files to reduce the website’s size.
  • Optimize images: In most cases, images are the largest pieces of content on a webpage. Therefore, compress and resize them to decrease the web page size.
  • Use CDN: A CDN (or Content Distribution Network) ensures your site loads fast on every corner of the world.

2. Use a clean layout

Do you know what’s worse than a visitor not visiting the site because it took longer to load? 

One who enters the site only to exit it right away.

But here’s the catch – Many online store owners believe that people bounce because they haven’t found what they were looking for. And it’s true, of course, but only partially. 

You see, often, visitors don’t even bother trying to find the desired information because the layout is too confusing for them to use.

  • 38% of people tend to leave a website with unattractive content or layout.
  • Bad mobile optimization annoys 48% of users.
  • 37% of prospects leave a B2B website because of poor navigation or web design.

In short, the presentation makes a big difference in visitor engagement too.

Luckily, there are certain things you could do to improve the layout, even if you have created the site already. 

Ensure the site navigation follows a logical structure. It seems like a no-brainer. And yet, many stores hide important pages from the main navigation while others cram it with too many options… Find the right balance. Understand what information your customers are looking for, and include all those pages in the main navigation. The rest can go into the footer or sidebar.  

Use whitespace to avoid clutter. It may not be that easy to add that to your templates now. But it’s super easy to do so with text. For example, add a simple rule to your stylesheet that will add space between paragraphs. This will immediately introduce more space and clarity to your copy. 

If you can do the same to other elements in the template, do so. The change will be incredible.

Use contrast to catch visitor’s attention. Contrasting colors will make elements stand out more and be more clearly readable on a page. 

Optimize for mobile devices. Most of your visitors will access pages from these devices, after all. 

3. Write engaging web copy

So, the visitor opened your site and likes what they see. Now what? They will start to read (or rather skim through) whatever’s on the web page.

And needless to say, if they find it boring or incomprehensible, there’s no chance the visitor engages with you. 

But post a copy that sparkles with creativity, clearly presents information, and captures attention, and you can be practically certain that the person will stay on the page, at least for a little longer. 

Here are just some of the ways to make the copy more engaging:

  • Write attention-capturing headlines. Most visitors will see your page’s headline. Only some, however, will go past that to read the copy. And needless to say, the ones who do are the people intrigued by your headline.  
  • Use lists as they allow readers to absorb information much faster.
  • Keep your sentences short. Short sentences are easier to skim over as well. 
  • Use visuals and media: Especially in e-commerce, product images and videos can provide additional information and engage visitors and keep them on the page.
  • Be concise. Finally, convey all the information that you want to in as few words as possible. This doesn’t mean not being descriptive ⁠— if you are writing a product description, you have to describe everything in detail.

4. Personalize visitor’s feed

Personalization leads to increased visitor engagement and improved customer experience. For example, Epsilon research indicates that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.

If you aren’t providing a personalized feed to your visitors, you are losing a lot of website engagement.

You can personalize visitor’s feed using:

  • Visitor’s product search: You can show personalized product recommendations using the previous visitors’ and customers’ data. 

Source

For example, you can show “best in [category],” “trending,” “people purchase these together,” “visitors who viewed this also viewed,” etc.

  • Geo-location targeting: Show prices in local currency, show products that best fit the visitor’s weather, greet based on their local time, etc.
  • Cross-sell and Upsell: If the visitor buys from you, cross-sell and upsell relevant products at the thank you page and emails and messages that follow. 

5. Use Popups

You know – most of your visitors won’t know what they are missing unless you tell them about it. 

Unless you actively tell them about a special promotion, a first purchase coupon they could avail of, or any other exciting initiative, they might never find out about it otherwise.

And what’s a better way to do so than by displaying the information in a popup? Here’s just a quick example from Basic Outfitters. 

special offer popup

Needless to say, that popup campaign got them 41,000 emails in 36 hours.

Many of other Wisepops customers increased engagement and conversions with popups:

  • Fonq’s promotion campaign’s conversion rate increased +15%.
  • Asphalte gets 4000+ leads at 25% CTR.
  • Faguo collected 8200 emails in December last year. 

Why? Because popups are perfect for connecting with the visitor at the right time. What’s more, they provide a format that allows you to make your message practically unmissable. 

For example, you can specify popup timing and display the message exactly when the person’s the most likely to engage with you. In addition, you can target specific customer segments and split test to find the best popup variation that catches visitors’ attention. What’s more, you can test different offers to discover what popups trigger action with visitors.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Side Note: Check out the WisePops blog for the best tips on utilizing popups to increase visitor engagement and get more leads and sales. 

6. Notify visitors with on-site notifications

Aside from pop-ups, you can also engage visitors with on-site notifications.

On-site notifications work much like the notification system in your favorite application, for example. They add a notification section to a website and alert a visitor when there’s a new announcement from a brand, like this, for example:

feed notification

Source: Wisp.so

Instead of waiting for visitors to scroll and engage, notify them and get them to engage with whatever you want ⁠— it can be asking to read your new article, following on Instagram, subscribing to the email list, adding more items to the cart, or just about anything.

7. Proactively invite visitors to live chat with you

Another way to proactively capture visitors’ attention is by using proactive live chat ⁠— over 33% of visitors respond to it, after all.

Proactive live chat refers to the chat you start with the website visitor rather than waiting for them to send a message first. 

But proactive live chat goes far beyond just saying hello to new users. You can set triggers to announce new products, send exclusive coupons, remind visitors of items in their cart, and more. 

Conclusion

The more the visitor interacts with your online store, the more the chances they make a purchase. Therefore, focusing on visitor engagement is critical.

You can do many things to get a visitor to engage with your brand and content. I touched upon a few in this article. Hopefully, they’ll help you increase engagement, conversion rates, and ultimately, sales.

Good luck!

About the Author: Jason Peresino is the COO of SocialIntents, the no.1 dedicated live chat software, allowing companies to chat with and engage website visitors directly from Slack or MS Teams.

Jason Peresino

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