We are students in Northwestern's Medill IMC [Integrated Marketing Communications] program in a Direct and Integrated Marketing course that teaches social marketing. As a part of our assignments, we need to better establish our professional personas and begin writing blogs on key topics which concern our future professional industries. You can also follow us on twitter using the hash tag #NUSocialIMC. Enjoy!
Friday, May 18, 2012
People love to shop, so why are your online sales low?
By: Lamia Pardo Figueroa
“People are buying online, we need to
sell online”, said a marketer to the IT department. After a few months, a
website was implemented with a space for searching products, pictures, a menu
of the categories and a tiny cart at the top right corner that keeps track of
the purchase amount. Does it sound
Sooner or later you’ll see the
Yes, everyone buys online. In fact, 80% of Internet users have
bought at least one product or service online. However, online sales just
account for 4.6% of overall retail purchases. People are buying, but not
shopping online. Buying is more functional and rational, while shopping is a
pleasurable activity through which consumers are more likely to discover new
products they like and spend more money.
And this is not because people don’t have
time in general. They actually don’t have time to go to a brick-and-mortar
store so often, but they definitely have time in front of their laptops or
mobile devices. This phenomenon is happening because marketers get excited
about technology and forget about the experience. Most portals are designed to
fulfill buying needs, but do not entice a pleasurable and irrational shopping
journey. They require the consumer to already know what he/she wants in order
to search it, have bad pictures inside rigid squares with white backgrounds and
always remind he/she by how much the purchase amount keeps increasing with
every additional product. That little cart at the top right corner has made me
close many websites with incomplete orders.
But people still love to shop.
The opportunity is there. Isn’t Pinterest a digital version of window-shopping?
What if we could click on any product we like and get it delivered? What if we
could go in a virtual tour through a supermarket and just click on whatever we want? There is a huge unexplored digital world of experiences.
So Make them shop!
1. Work as a
team with the IT department
to develop the platform and switch the focus to the customers. Think of
technology just as a key tool for implementation.
2. Study your current stores. What does people like about your store? Why are they really
going there? How does your store look like? Think of every aspect and detail of
their current shopping journey.
3. Focus on visual stimuli.Users cannot
touch or smell the products, so make sure to transfer all the sensations
through images and virtual interactions.
4. Improve the
experience. Create new ways
in which people could enjoy shopping online. For example, a supermarket could
have a list of recipes with appealing pictures. By clicking on one of them, a
list of required ingredients could be added to the cart.
5. Be careful
with prices. Show the total
purchase amount at the end so people do not rationalize about it before. Also,
make sure you just charge for the items (no extra annoying fees).
6. Ship fast. As fast as possible. It will pay off.
If people are coming less to your store, take the store to the people.
Lamia is a graduate student at Northwestern University's Medill
School. She studies a MS Integrated Marketing Communications with
concentrations in Brand Planning and Direct&Interactive Marketing.
Follow her on LinkedIn (Lamia Pardo-Figueroa), Twitter (@LamiaPF) and/or Pinterest.