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8 reasons your eCommerce business needs an online community

If you’re looking for a way to increase conversions, customer loyalty and brand awareness then you want to build an online community. Brand communities bring all of your loyal customers together in one place. That once place is usually social media. 

Building a community is a strong tool for any eCommerce business, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If done properly, you can utilise this community as a powerful marketing tool for your business. 

8 reasons why you should build an online community for your eCommerce business:

  • Driving product innovation – Your customers are vocal. Building a community allows them to use their voices to talk about your product, giving them the space to discuss what they think of your product and services and pushing you to improve. 
  • Building brand awareness – Building a brand community is all about generating a sense of community and trust. People are more likely to buy from a brand who has a presence online. An online community acts as a funnel for word of mouth marketing, so your target market will be spreading positive messages about your product without you needing to pay for advertisement. Research from Trustpilot shows that 92% of consumers read online reviews, and 80% of shoppers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Maintain better customer relationships – Using social media as a marketing tool gives you the opportunity to directly connect with customers. Reply to their tweets, like their posts and encourage them to respond to questions and polls you post. You can even use positive messages about your product as marketing material, reposting product reviews and pictures on your social media. Our client Crafter’s Companion does this brilliantly over on Instagram. They enhance their relationships through offering tutorials using their product, building a community through creating the same craft.
  • Decrease costs – Marketing agencies can charge you thousands for brand marketing. Putting the effort in to build a community yourself will decrease these costs. 
  • Gain insights about your customers – Asking your customers why they shop with you on social media gives you key insight as to what you need to be doing. You’ll increase customer satisfaction, connect with them and increase sales by acting upon their feedback.
  • Get feedback on your products – If you’re thinking about launching a new product, or changing an existing one – use your community for some market research. Ask them what they think of a certain idea. You can collect a bunch of feedback from your community for free.
  • Drive incentives – Rewards and giveaways are always popular. They’re also a great way to get some free brand exposure. Offer anything from money off, vouchers or free products and you’ll soon see your engagement shoot up. Even when you aren’t running a giveaway campaign, you can offer referral codes for your customer to distribute. 
  • Create a brand reputation – Sharing positive feedback from your customers will always work in your favour, but you can create a much more nuanced brand image with the way you utilise social media. Consider how you use your tone of voice, think about what kind of content you want to be sharing. Do you want to come across as fun, helpful, insightful or more straight to the point?  The most obvious brand to excel at this is Ryanair. If you have a Twitter account, you’ve probably seen one of their cheeky, tongue-in-cheek tweets. While they aren’t always offering advice or discounts, they’re always responding to current events and maintaining relevance online. 
Ryainair tweet showing how they use a cheeky tone of voice to build an online community

These are just some of the reasons you need to be utilising your online community. While the benefits are plenty, you still need to put commitment into this. Over time, you’ll see just how useful building an online community will be for your eCommerce brand.