It’s common knowledge that emotion plays a big part in how people respond to most things in life so it’s no surprise that adding some human touches to your online business can really help sway customers, build loyalty and improve word of mouth. It’s also nice as a shop owner to feel like you are connecting more meaningfully with your market and it’s an opportunity for some relief from the more technical or operational requirements of running an online shop. Here are 9 simple and actionable things to consider to help keep your online shop real.
1. Send personal emails
Don’t forget that email is just another medium for human to human interactions. Although email protocol is a little different from face to face and a degree of formality is sometimes helpful, don’t be afraid to loosen up, especially once you have established a relationship with a customer. You can do simple and subtle things to better connect with new customers even if it’s just commenting on the product they have bought and how much you think they’ll love it, or any useful tips to help them use or interact with their new product.
2. Use giftwrapping or personalised packaging
Nice packaging can really add to the joy of receiving new goods. Apple Inc. understand this exceptionally well and consider the unraveling of a new product to be an integral part of the whole consumer experience. With more boutique retailers there are opportunities to put your personality into the packaging and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Packaging is also a great way to showcase your unique branding. Consider brief hand written notes for that human touch. You can include optional gift wrapping on your site by setting this up as a product option. Alternatively you could ask them about this in the checkout.
3. Display your phone number
Don’t be afraid to include a phone number on your site. For pure-play online businesses you won’t have a queue of people waiting in line wanting your attention so theoretically it should be easier than a bricks and mortar store. It gives you an opportunity to convey the passion you have for your business and product line, establish relationships, make it easier for you to resolve any concerns or issues in a super friendly way and of course listen and learn from your customers so you can evolve your business accordingly.
4. Include testimonials
Comments from previous customers will at a glance provide some immediate assurance that you have successfully transacted with other people already. Reading the odd testimonial should encourage more positive and genuine feelings about your shop.
5. Use quality video and imagery
Including imagery or videos can add to your story and provide a way to establish more immediate emotional connections. If the content is poorly produced it can work against you so make sure you maintain some quality control when you include other media.
6. Empower through product images
Don’t be afraid to get a bit playful with your product images to inject some personality into your store. Well considered product imagery is vital for adding immediate appeal to your online shop and to encourage sales by empowering shoppers with a more tangible understanding of your products.
7. Interact through social media
Use social media to engage with your audience in a more informal context. Have some fun but try to remember what is meaningful or entertaining for your specific audience so they don’t get turned off. Consider adding Facebook ‘like’ buttons and ‘add this’ to your pages to allow visitors to easily share your site with their friends.
8. Build trust with the About Us section
The about us page can have a significant effect on the perception of your business and encourage visitors to transact with your site. Read here for more information on how to build trust and create appeal in an online shop via the about us page.
9. Consider the checkout process
There are opportunities throughout the checkout process to inject more of a human feel and interact better with your customers. This is also a great place to get them to join your newsletter because they have transitioned from visitors to engaged customers. This way you can keep communicating with them, build trust and stay top of mind. With checkout options you can allow customers to include all sorts of information like specific delivery details and customised messages for gift cards.