How to make the e-commerce experience more human

Humanization is a pretty hot topic right now. In a world where technology is progressing at a blistering pace, it’s important to remember who and what your customers are. They are human, and that’s why you should stay as human as possible in your marketing. Even e-commerce businesses that operate almost entirely online need to relate to people.

Benefits of a more human business

Trust is a major beneficiary of being human. Companies (many of them faceless big businesses) have a history of misleading or devaluing their customers, including VW, L’Oreal, BP and United Airlines. Yes, people also cause trust issues, but in the wake of these scandals, it’s even easier to build a rapport with people, not brands.

Relatability is another key benefit, because humans can relate to each other and empathize with situations. This is something that technology cannot yet do, at least not well enough. Empathy and the human touch are integral to areas like customer service.

Yes, you will also get a sales boost. This is because humans are actually pretty good at selling, be it through persuasion, presenting the benefits of a product or service, upselling, or simply by reading and understanding a customer’s needs. To put this into context, would you rather ask a bot or another person for a product recommendation?

Engagement is the final benefit. People like speaking to people and building a relationship. This relationship builds loyalty, and this leads to trust, which increases the likelihood of a customer sticking with you.

How to showcase the human side of your business

Don’t underestimate the powerful simplicity of pictures. In SMBs especially, customers want to get an idea of who they are talking to. Pictures of some of your staff with small bios helps your customers get to know you, relate to you and build a rapport with you. Current and potential customers will know who they are dealing with, helping conversations run a lot smoother.

Are you being social on social media? Are your social media accounts viewable from your website? Social media is a great opportunity to show your people and your human side. On these platforms, you can have real and live conversations with your customers and stakeholders. With that in mind, reply with a name, not just your company’s or team’s name. People want to know who they are talking to; they don’t want a generic conversation with a faceless nobody.

Talk and write like a person, not a robot. This means you should use words, phrases and sentences that are emotive and expressive. Remember, you are writing for people, not those pesky search engine spiders. The words and phrases you use can help you tell a story, and these stories resonate with people. These people are your potential customers. Talk to them like a person, and they will reward you with sales.

Videos are the future. Live videos are amazing for building relationships with your fans, customers and stakeholders, but they still have limitations. Even if live videos aren’t for you, you should still consider using video as a platform. Videos have a lot of the same benefits as pictures, but amplified. Videos create an even deeper connection to your audience and allow you to demonstrate your products in a way that isn’t possible with static imagery. This connection will lead to more interactions and sales.

Midsize and large e-commerce brands, as well as smaller companies with complex online offerings, are increasingly using webchat. These companies understand that chatbots have their uses, but humans still offer the best communication for their customers. If you have lots of detailed interactions and/or a more technical or complex product, this is something you must consider, because humans are integral to the success of a sale.

Encouraging user-generated content on your website is a great way of humanizing it. Incorporating reviews and customer photos into your product pages will give potential customers more context for your products and push them further down the sales funnel. Let your customers be one of your biggest sales assets and add human content to your website.

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