4 Ways to Stop Irritating Your Consumers in 2022
Online shopping is pretty much the norm these days. More consumers are buying more products across a greater range of categories than ever before. For their part, brands and retailers are anxious to close sales, and in that pursuit deploy a number of tactics to ensure that happens. However, it’s not exactly a fun experience for the consumer. In fact, the online shopping experience is becoming incredibly noisy and irksome, which, I posit, will actually lower conversion rates.
Below are four ways to irk consumers, ensuring they’ll “tangle” with your brand again.
The Email Pop-Up Capture
Somewhere in the website developer’s canon it's written that all users must be prompted for their email address within nanoseconds of arrival on site. Even before their eyes have a chance to fully adjust to the homepage they’re assaulted with a big ask: “Give us your email address to get 10% off your first purchase.”
Make no mistake about it, this is a big ask. The brand, who the customer may have no interest in whatsoever, is literally asking for the ability (not permission; just the ability) to contact the user nonstop. Those who opt to close the pop-ups are often "confirmshaming," such as “No thanks, I don’t like to save money.”
Can you imagine walking into a retail outlet and having a burly sales clerk block your path, asking for your credit card information in exchange for a one-time deal — before you even have a chance to check out the inventory? It’s the same experience.
It’s rude to ask visitors to give away their “store” before they even know if a brand is right for them. There are plenty of ways to create a more customer-friendly and helpful sales process, such as a “quiz concierge” experience that learns why they are there and recommends accordingly. Consider this: Around half of shoppers (46 percent) have failed to complete a purchase online because there were too many options to choose from. Once the brand learns about visitors they can present them with a narrower set of product recommendations (and those visitors are more likely to give you their email address).
Endless Retargeting (it’s Modern Day Stalking!)
Users hate the assumptions marketers make about purchases they’ve made. A few years back my nephew liked a specific brand of clothing and I purchased several of the brand’s items for his birthday and holidays. He’s since moved on to more appropriate-aged clothes, yet the brand still thinks I’m a 12-year-old boy, targeting me with its newest lines wherever I go online.
Consumers purchase things for other people all the time: birthdays, baby showers, holidays, housewarming gifts, welcome to the neighborhood, anniversaries, get well soon, congrats on the job promotion, wedding registries, etc. It’s impossible to deduce anything from a handful of purchases. Rather than follow the user around the internet, try creating a two-way dialog that lets your brand understand visitor interests as well as the context of their purchases. A nonintrusive invitation to answer a few questions about the purpose of their visit will go a long way in helping them find what they need. And it will ensure that your customer experience doesn’t go from helpful to annoying in 60 seconds.
Making Me Navigate to Find What I’m Looking For
How many times has this happened to you: you search for an item on Google, click on a search result of interest, and you’re taken to a whole other page? Wait! What happened to ... ? This is a broken promise. The brand promised one experience, then pulled a bait-and-switch.
Even when consumers are in full-on discovery mode they still want to find things quickly and easily. A good website experience is one that helps visitors find the options that may be right for them. If you’re a bodybuilder, you’re not interested in supplements for pregnant women, so why make bodybuilders wade through those options?
All brands have specific personas who buy from them. Create selling tools that help you find out which persona the visitor fits, and create guides and recommendation lists that inspire and build confidence in any purchase they may make. This is an easy, nonintrusive way to pique interest in your brand and product exploration.
Chatbots Posing as Humans
For a lot of people (me among them), chatbots can be incredibly frustrating, especially when they pretend to be live agents. This frustration is particularly acute when I enter free-form text to describe what I’m looking for, only to have the artificial intelligence get it wrong and serve back something unrelated. This rarely happens with live chat, where the customer representative can quickly understand what the shopper wants and provide them with options.
Alternatively, if brands want to go forward with a chatbot, set it up in a format that isn't pretending to be human, and that gives users specific options they can quickly navigate without any misinterpretation.
Getting the Customer Experience Right
OK, now that I’ve bashed the go-to tools for numerous brands, what do I recommend to create a better shopping experience that's beneficial to the consumer and the brand? First, lose the pushy pop-ups. Consumers are people, which means they like to be listened to, and in e-commerce scenarios, they like to be the ones to initiate an interaction. Don’t make assumptions about what they’ll love because you don’t know them (and they know they’re complete strangers to you).
Spend some time thinking about the things you need to know about customers in order to help them make decisions that’s right for them and their budgets. Next, build a customer experience based on just those data points (don’t ask for more information than you need to meet their needs). There are plenty of technologies and approaches to help you do just that.
Think twice about retargeting a consumer that shows the product they looked at. Rather, retarget them with an interactive experience that learns more about them so you start off with the right context and can segment them accordingly. This can also work for a post-purchase experience survey.
Also, make it easy (and dare I say fun!) to find what the customer needs through a combination of search filtering and guided selling. Lastly, be "live" or "fake," but don't be "fake live." Trying to fool the consumer with something not authentic is something they will see through and ultimately be disappointed with.
Pamela Erlichman is the chief marketing officer at Jebbit, a company that creates interactive digital experiences that capture first-party data at scale.
Pam Erlichman is the Chief Marketing Officer for Jebbit. With over 20 years of marketing experience, Pam is responsible for the Jebbit brand and marketing strategy. Prior to joining Jebbit, Pam was the Vice President of Marketing for Oracle Data Cloud which included creation and growth of Oracle Data Cloud’s industry firsts The Data Hotline and The Data Lab brands; providing data strategy and education to brand, media and agency partners. Pam joined Oracle Data Cloud via the Datalogix acquisition, where she created and grew the marketing function from its inception. Prior to Datalogix, Pam worked at Digitas, leading relationships with world class brands including Delta Air Lines, AT&T, FedEx, Ahold USA, Celebrity Cruise Lines and Progressive Insurance.