Beyond Bricks & Mortar - Creating An Emotional Shopping Experience Online | DMA

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Beyond Bricks & Mortar - Creating An Emotional Shopping Experience Online


The online retail sector is the main driver of growth in European and North American retailing, achieving in Europe growth rates of 18.4% in 2014, 18.6% 2015 and expected rates in 2016 of 16.7% and in 2017, 15.7%. In comparison the annual growth rates for all types of retailing range between 1.5% and 3.5% pa. Retail Research

Experience Is The Most Important Part of Ecommerce

You’d never buy a Rolex if it was displayed in a cardboard box, would you?

Of course you wouldn’t.

When you set out to buy a fancy new watch, you want the experience that goes with it. You want to walk into the pristine jewelry shop with beautiful window displays, crystal clear glass, fresh-cut flowers in the lobby and see the vast array of watches arranged with military perfection inside their cases. When you walk in, you want to be greeted personally by a friendly, well-dressed employee and you want the freedom to browse for that perfect watch without constant disruptions and products being shoved in front your face.

And when you finally see the watch behind the glass, you want to take that shopping experience to the next level. You pick it up, try it on, and once you see how remarkable it looks on your wrist, you’ve made an emotional connection with your shiny new accessory – whether you know it or not. You’re hooked. And now, you’re buying.

We all know how tempting it is to say no to beautifully displayed products in a bricks and mortar shop, but do we get that same tingly feeling when shopping online?

If the brand has done their job correctly, you most certainly can.

Retailers understand that the sensory experience of shopping inside their stores dramatically effects the behaviour of their consumers. Professional displays and well-placed merchandise are what draw customers into their store and entice them to buy - but are ecommerce retailers bound by the same principles?

It is obvious that product placement inside a shop is key to the success of how certain products sell, but how can retail brands translate that in the digital landscape?

The key is switching your focus from UX to emotional engagement (EX). Stop thinking about the people visiting your site as "users" and start thinking of them as your customers - your living, breathing, emotionally motivated customers. Your customer is just as human online as they are inside your shop, are they not? So let's treat them the same way.

Display your products online using the same principles you would in a physical shop, make the products feel as real as possible and make the online shopping experience as frictionless and memorable as it would be in person (don't force unwanted ads at them and or throw random products in their face!).

From UX to EX – How to Emotionally Engage Online

Although brands may be liked or trusted, most fail to align themselves with the emotions that drive their customers’ most profitable behaviors. Some brands by nature have an easier time making such connections, but a company doesn’t have to be born with the emotional DNA of Disney or Apple to succeed. Even a cleaning product or a canned food can forge powerful connections. – Harvard Business Review

Behavioural economists know that the consumer is irrational and neuroscientistsknow that all decisions involve emotion. To put it simply – consumers are motivated by emotion far more than rational thinking, so if brands want consumers to ‘click’…they have to appeal to their emotions and not their minds.

But how?

Identifying and measuring emotional motivators is complicated, because customers themselves aren't conscience of them. You can run hundreds of surveys and focus groups, but these will never truly capture what your consumers are really thinking about your brand. To stay ahead of the game, brands need to combine a bit of science with a lot of creativity – which is why Neuromarketing is quite possibly one of the most valuable tools brands can have in their marketing arsenal.

The way neuroscience works is by starting with a question. Once we know the question, we can select from a suite of tools to provide valuable insight. This can include EEG, facial coding, eye-tracking, GSR and implicit response testing. But with such a range of clever tools at our disposal, the most important thing is to be clear about the question you are asking. For example, are you measuring the perception of the ecommerce site in general or are you measuring the response to a specific page? Are you measuring a granular detail like the color of a button, or the treatment of an image?

All of these will invariably effect the customer’s propensity to buy.

Neuromarketing utilizes tools from neuroscience and other bio-feedback equipment to observe, measure and record emotional responses to media. Essentially, it helps us to read between the lines when it comes to understanding consumers' emotional decision making.

The more insight that brands can gather around what influences consumer's emotional responses and emotional motivators, the more they can manipulate how products are displayed and sold online. These insights might lead to minor tweaks in the way products are displayed, the colors being used, how they are being modeled, etc... But ultimately, it will lead to more sales.

A Few Tricks for Good EX

To dive fully into how to use Neuromarketing in an online retail environment would fill the pages of a novel, but there are some simple takeaways that can help start your brand on its path to emotional engagement, starting with how your products are displayed online.

1. Products featured in the center of the page get the most emotional response

2. Products featured on the right-hand side are almost ignored, as we have become conditioned to expect items to be featured on the left.

3. A 3D image is dramatically more effective than a flat one because it feels more organic

That is only scratching the surface...

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