Putting the emotion into e-commerce

One thing we have discovered since lockdown began, is that operating a bricks and mortar-only retail business is no longer an option. The sad truth is that the public will approach physical retail spaces with caution until a Covid-19 vaccine has been developed, tested, and widely administered.

Online retail can seem like a cold, soulless experience to shoppers, so how do we inject humanity into our websites? What can we do to entice people to stay awhile and make a purchase, as we do in our physical stores by starting conversations?

Think about what makes you go down an internet wormhole. When you start out looking for one thing, and find ten more things you want to buy, read or laugh at. What are the stimuli which make your brain want more, more, more?

Who is your best retail sales person in store, and how do they behave with your customers? If you don’t have physical retail, think about a wonderful experience you had in someone else’s store. How can you translate this human behaviour into your online communications?

When we have one-to-one interactions with people, we laugh, we communicate important information, and we find common ground. There is variation in the tone of our conversations. The other person will often surprise us with their viewpoint or knowledge.

How can you include tonal variation and nice surprises in your online communications with customers, whilst still remaining true to your brand values? A good starting point is to pick a character or avatar for your brand. Not a visual one, but a brand personality. Are you your customer’s older brother who is a bit more worldly wise, or their cool aunt who doesn’t care what other people think? What feels right for your brand and products?

Using the phrase “You may like” to introduce product suggestions works well for Amazon, but perhaps your avatar would say “Look at this up close!” or “You’re going to love the leather on these”.

Don’t feel that your website must be cold, professional and corporate if that isn’t how your brand feels instore. Your best sales person is truly passionate about your products. Communicate passion and add humour to your customer’s online experience, and they will feel so good that they might just make a purchase.