This advice may sound like an extract from ‘sales for dummies’, but if you’re an online retailer, you’d be a fool to ignore it.
As Millenials and Gen-Z continue to seek out more personal shopping experiences, social proof is becoming a vital part of the marketing mix. Consumers are looking to their peers and influencers more than ever before to decide if a brand is trustworthy, and if its products are worthy of purchasing.
With this in mind, it’s easy to understand how ambassador schemes such as Herbalife, Tropic Skincare and Younique, which focus on peer-to-peer selling, are so successful.
New online retail channel, Storr, has taken this concept one step further, by launching a digital platform that allows anyone to set up an eCommerce store from their mobile phone in just three clicks. Users can choose products from over 150 brands including Adidas and La Ligne to sell direct to their friends and family in return for commission.
It’s fair to say the retail marketplace has changed over the years, and continues to change as consumers learn new buying behaviour.
So if you run an eCommerce store, how can you tap into these trends and create a personal, trustworthy shopping experience online?
Here are a few tips…
Humanise your brand
What’s your brand’s personality? What’s it’s tone of voice? How do your customers want you to speak to them? What problems can you solve?
If you haven’t thought about the answers to these questions, you need to. Now.
Your website content should speak directly to your customers in their language. It should show how your products and services fit seamlessly into their everyday lives. From video content to lifestyle imagery, don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to showcasing your products.
For example, we love the way Bellroy highlights how slim their wallets are with an easy to use interactive slider and categorises its products by asking how the customer folds their bills.
Forget stuffy product descriptions
You can’t personally talk to every customer about every product on your website, but the way you write your copy can make it sound like you are. Inject some personality and write your product descriptions like you would actually say them, starting with the value proposition rather than individual features and functions (remember to sell, not tell!).
Some of the best copywriters can make you feel like you’re talking to an actual person, rather than reading marketing blurb. Fun, conversational copy can help to communicate your message more clearly and make your products stand out from the crowd. We love these examples from Dollar Shave Club and Daily Harvest.
Create a loyalty programme
Get your customers to do the hard work for you. Incentivise them to spread the word about your brand by offering rewards such as money off and discounts. In return, you’ll create your very own team of loyal ambassadors who’ll endorse you on social media to their peers and write product reviews. These product reviews can live on your product pages to give future customers the social proof they need to buy from you too!
Connect with social influencers
From the stars of reality TV to well-respected bloggers, a whole industry has popped up in the past few years dedicated to influencing Joe Public via social media. It’s easy to understand why, when brands are prepared to pay anything between £100 - £10,000 for a single Instagram post depending on the number of followers you have.
Finding the right influencer to work with in your market can elevate your brand, engage new audiences and drive sales. Yes, you will most likely have to provide free products and/or pay for the privilege, but guess what? It works. According to a recent study comprised of marketers, 94% said it was an effective marketing strategy.
It’s definitely worth a try if you think your audience would respond to being targeted in this way.
So there you have it, our top tips for personalising the shopping experience for your customers. Need help writing product descriptions or targeting influencers? Get in touch.