Time is the most limited personal resource. Mortality affects all income levels. This concept will thread together several marketing blogs. Why? Because we’re all in a hurry and can’t write or read that much all at once! Remember: If time weren’t so important, why would we try to “save” so much of it? (We’ll save that for a Thoughtful Thursday type of blog!) This is Marketing Monday!
If your marketing is designed to capture attention (and funds) from 3 generations, you need to take into consideration what they all have in common: Time constraints. Each group shops a little differently but not one of them wants to Work at giving you their money. Most see trading a piece of themselves in addition to the price for whatever you’re peddling as a personal type of taxation. We just can’t be bothered to go out of our way to do business with you. Our attention span is minimal and our urge to spend is fickle and fleeting. If we’re just meeting for the first time, you’re inspired to grab us and hold on as tightly as you can. We get it, but that’s a big turn off. Don’t try to turn this into a hostage situation. We’ll run. Our attitude about online shopping is changing. We like it and chances are, we’ll like your store. But this is a bit like dating and you don’t need to be so pushy. We want more flexibility. We’re more savvy and we expect more…even more than the last time you checked in on us. There’s been a lot of emphasis on customizing the user experience. This idea tends to be translated into having customers log into an account in order to complete a transaction. A lot of us really don’t want to do that any more. Here’s why:
1. Logging in to use your shopping cart better be optional. Sites try to capitalize on the concept of saving the customer time by helpfully filling in their shipping and billing information. It’s also a nice way to track the purchase. Believe me, at this point, you better offer us more than that to compel us to create yet another username and password that fits all of your criteria. Do you know who is tired of having to deal with passwords that follow various minimum requirements? Everyone. Who doesn’t have a list of 25+ passwords because site A insisted it be 8+ characters and Must include a capital letter and punctuation mark whereas site B forced a 10+ character rule and site Q kept telling us that username was taken. It’s exhausting. I’d rather just enter my shipping address each time. It’s faster. Not to mention, I’m not sure I want you storing all of my credit card numbers.
2. I can login to your shop via Facebook? I’ll pass. Many of you have caught on and suggest we simply log in with our Facebook account. Well, I don’t want to do that either. Nope. I don’t want to invite more of your noise into my life. (Besides, there’s a bit of a migration away from Facebook. Ever wonder why? We may have over-shared and now it’s just a loud cluttered mess.) I’m going to tell you one of my secrets. As one who uses the internet all day, every day and has since before we had beautiful graphical browsers, I opened an email account just to deal with shops and web sites that insist on obtaining my email address. I never log into it. At this moment, it has 47,220 unread messages in it. I don’t even bother to mark them as spam or delete them. I’m not that interested in reading about those fabulous sales and discounts. The time it would take to open those is more expensive to me than the free shipping. I’m trying to get away from my screen and back to my real life…if it’s still there waiting for me.
3. A Discount?! What’s really in it for me? Online shopping has an advantage over traditional shops in that we don’t have to get into traffic to obtain the product. I’m more inclined to participate if you offer a “free” upgrade, bonus item or a 20% off coupon Plus free, fast shipping. This needs to happen right at the point of purchase. Don’t give me a pop up window the first time I go to your site and ask me for my email address so I can receive 15% off today. I haven’t even seen your products yet. Maybe I don’t like your stuff. (Traditional brick and mortars take note: I don’t want your credit card if it’s for a 5% off discount. That’s not even sales tax where I live. It’s not worth it to open another bill in the mail for your card. I’d rather just pay full price. The perceived reward is less than the hassle. I also don’t leave the house to use a 10% off coupon.) Because I can research prices on items with relative ease, it’s influencing how I make most of my purchasing decisions. That means you aren’t fooling anyone with your value proposition of “preferred customer” pricing. In my traditional purchasing life, I resent having discount key fobs cluttering up my world in order to obtain what is possibly a fair price for toilet paper. (cough…CVS…cough) Let me scathe Walgreens while I’m at it: I don’t want to give you my phone number so you can track that I buy toothpaste either. In my culture we all use toothpaste and toilet paper. This information doesn’t help you market to me in a way that’s meaningful to both of us. It does create some customer resentment. Here’s something that works! A site has a coupon on the site for 40% off any item in the store that isn’t already on sale. I do not have to print it out to use it. I can show the person at the cash register if I go to the shop in person. I don’t have to sign up for an email list. I don’t have to log in. I can just randomly pull up the site and use it. I feel like they’re doing me a little favor just to be nice and that creates a good feeling. Put something up there on the site that makes the customer think “Aw—that’s nice. Thanks for helping me out.” We may be moody, but we can be a loyal bunch. Some may say “that’s giving away something for nothing! They’re missing an opportunity to convert that into some valuable data. They should make it part of their app so a customer needs to download the app first.” Fingers crossed that they don’t opt to go that route! I’m almost as stingy with my phone’s memory usage as I am with my phone number.
(bonus) 4. Do not get me started on this new type of shopping experience where I have to give you my information before you show me what you are selling. What?! Is that really working for you? Wow. My information is almost like currency to me at this point. Why would I pay you just to know what you have to offer? This is a just a huge No for me.
Final Thoughts: We know we go online and blurt out all sorts of information about ourselves for the world to see. Here’s the thing: We want to believe it’s our Choice. We want to feel as though we’re in control of our information. Sure, in the age of cookies and cache, it’s a bit of a farce but perception is our reality. If you push us too much without offering us our perceived version of a fair trade, we’ll give you: Nothing. We’re off to buy from your competitor or to blow our money over-priced coffee. If you get creative and offer something that feels like genuine personal interest and/or we perceive it to be useful, we’re more than happy to tell you Too much about what we like and how to best part us from our money. Because—we hate to be sold, but we love to buy!
Next Marketing Monday, I’m going to tell you about a site customization technique that is already being implemented but not to its full potential. We’ll think of some ways to convert those “maybe later(s)” to actual purchases.
What are some of your thoughts about being coerced into starting a personalized account for every web site? Send an email to email@example.com or write a Comment below.