As the heatwave continues unabated, there are encouraging signs that the sizzling summer will continue for brands and retailers in the UK, particularly those involved in e-commerce. Below Angel Maldonado, Founder at EmpathyBroker, discusses with CEO Today the irresistibility of e-commerce sites under the hot sun.
In May, we saw a 11.9% increase in online spend on non-food products thanks largely to the pleasant weather and – of course – the Royal wedding.
But, as we all know, brands and retailers can’t rely on one-off events and the British summer. E-commerce companies need to be constantly ahead of the curve, disruptive, innovative and creative, while also increasingly focused on the customer and the digital experience.
It’s no longer enough to offer great products or have the coolest store. It helps, yes, but in the end, it all comes back to emotions, to making people feel unique and special. As e-commerce companies prepare for their summer sales, here are some tips on how they can become irresistible to the modern shopper:
Modern shoppers have increasingly demanding expectations online, particularly when actively searching for a desired product. For a retailer, this is a huge opportunity. If a consumer is looking for ‘Meghan Markle’, ‘World Cup’ or ‘summer dress’, this experience not only needs to be relevant and quick, but also engaging and fun.
Over the last few years we’ve seen the search function become increasingly more prominent on retailers’ homepages. Take Airbnb, for example, where most of the interaction now takes place within the search box. Search has evolved and part of its function is to understand shoppers’ intent and produce results for ‘what’s hot’ now, as well as helping to successfully guide and inspire shoppers.
Data has traditionally played a crucial role in helping to create a tailored approach. Until only recently analysing large amounts of data and profiling customers had become a shortcut for creating meaningful customer interactions. That was until personal data became a potential liability and a subject matter of interest to CEOs and their boardroom. Many online retailers are now seeking to drastically reduce personal data usage as they try to appease Europeans and even worldwide consumers while also re-establishing trust.
However, getting personal doesn’t mean getting invasive. If it’s done in the right way, brands and retailers can create personalised interactions openly and transparently by explaining why a feature does what it does, or why a result has been shown. This gives the control and choice back to consumers, and importantly it creates a personal experience that’s founded on trust.
83% of consumers believe physical stores are important as they allow you to see, touch and feel a product. If a good experience in the physical world is a deep and rich emotional experience, how can brands create a good experience in the digital world?
Moments of joy in digital are real; we can get them when we are pleasantly surprised by something that fulfils our goals, whether that be something we were actively looking for or something we didn’t even know we wanted yet. These moments of joy are created when the design elements within which we interact are capable of communicating, expressing and anticipating our goals with clarity.
To create good online experiences, retailers need to start seeing shoppers as subjects as opposed to objects; they need to be more human in their approach and not just see users as data. The online store needs to be expressive and events or customer journeys need to be multi-dimensional as opposed to linear. Metrics need to be seen as a way to generate ideas and inspiration as opposed to telling us what to do or dictating to us how to do it.
As we approach the height of the summer sales season and more consumers head online, there’s a great opportunity presented to retailers. Those that start to think differently will come out on top.