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Here it is, the final installment in our ecommerce psychology 101 lessons! In this lesson we will be covering how to increase your ecommerce sales by being likeable. Everyone is more likely to be persuaded by someone they like, and your online shoppers are no different. I will go over how to make your ecommerce store more likeable, but before I do let’s go over the likability principle in more detail.

What is the Likability Principle

The likability principle is a social psychology principle proposed by Dr. Robert Cialdini. The idea behind the likability principle is that humans are more likely to be persuaded to perform an action by those we see as likeable.

likable likability principle

We tend to see people as likable for three reasons. They either look good (attractive), are similar to us, or they pay us compliments (they like us). When an ecommerce store knows what makes them likable they can begin to start realizing higher sales and profitability.

In general you want to focus on the three elements that breed likability and the introduce specific tactics like the ones I will introduce below. Be attractive by having a well designed ecommerce homepage, be similar by knowing the types of customers on your site and tailoring your offerings, and finally pay your shoppers a compliment every once and a while.

When you have the general bases covered you can try some of the specific tactics listed below.

Tactics to Be Likeable in eCommerce

Everyone wants to be liked! Here are a few ways to get your shoppers to “like” you and convert more often. The ultimate goal is to create a relationship with your customer, but this is sometimes difficult when you lack the face to face interactions of retail locations. Here are a few options!

Humanize Your Brand

When your shopper is on the other side of a computer screen and quite possibly halfway across the world it can be difficult to make your online store feel personal/human. But there are a ton of examples of sites who are doing an amazing job of it.

My personal favorite is Lush, a handmade cosmetics company that focuses on soaps, shampoos, and conditioners.

They humanize their store in a few ways. They support a cause, they add a human face to the products, and show communicate who made each product. Let me explain.

likable support sharks

Lush supporting shark conservation for shark week

Supporting a cause shows that you are not just a big bad business only looking out for themselves and the money. When a store supports a cause it creates an emotion in your shoppers. These emotions are associated with regular human feelings like joy and happiness. These emotions your shoppers feel help humanize your store and brand.

Another way to show the human side of your brand is to actually show humans. When you show the people behind the scenes it makes your ecommerce store feel less like a website and more like an online experience. Here is an example of what Lush does with their products.

As you can see Lush shows the employee explaining the product (people behind the business) and an example of a person using the product. The addition of these elements makes this ecommerce store seem more human and helps the customer visualize using the product, thus enticing a purchase.

Another great way to show the “humans” behind the website is an “about us” or “our team” page. This an easier alternative to using videos like Lush and is still very effective. A potential shopper wants to buy from another person not from a machine.

The last thing Lush does that really humanizes the experience is a sticker that they add to every product. When you purchase a product from Lush it is shipped with a sticker like the ones in the video below that shows when it was made and by who.

This video not only shows the stickers, but also how other tactics can make your brand and store seem much more human.

Key Aspects of Humanizing a Brand:

likable humanizing

Be genuine: Don’t try to be something you are not! If you are a very serious group of people don’t try to put together a whacky crazy video. Your customer wants to see who you are, not a show.

Be creative: The recommendations here are just ideas that I have seen work. I am sure you can come up with some ideas that are unique to your personality and what you sell.

Provide an Amazing Customer Experience

There is no greater opportunity to get a customer to like you than when dealing with a customer complaint or question. This is your opportunity to really wow them. Shoppers have come to expect support to be a drag and that is your greatest opportunity.

Just look at the approach that Zappos has taken and it has propelled them into ecommerce stardom. Zappos knows that if they can help a customer out just once in a professional and memorable way they will be liked … no loved forever.

A great way to provide amazing customer experience is with live chat. Live chat applications like Olark and Zopim give you the ability to communicate with your customers in real time. With live chat your shoppers don’t have to wait for a response; they will get one in real time.

likable jackthreads

When you provide prompt and effective customer support it will establish a relationship. When you have a relationship with your shoppers they will “like” you and be more comfortable making a purchase, and can ease online shopping skeptics.

Key Aspects of Amazing Support:

likable amazing support

Be prompt: customer support is an amazing opportunity to become liked, but it can also make you hated. Don’t leave customers waiting for hours or days to hear back from you. Stay on top of your support and use tools to make it easier.

Don’t Script: You want to be liked, not be viewed as a robot. If you have your support agents always follow a script you will not build any lasting relationships. Give your agents objectives and let them create a positive impression on your shoppers.

Create Familiarity

As Dr. Cialdini says “familiarity breeds liking.” This means that the more familiar we are with something the more likely we are to like it. Remember that song you hated when it first came out, only to change your mind after hearing it on the radio a few times? This is because your familiarity with the song and the lyrics lead you to like it.

You can create familiarity in a few ways in ecommerce. Those include email marketing, retention marketing, and retargeting. You can use all three of these tools to frequently remind your customers about your store. Remember, the more they see you, the better the chance they will like you.

Retargeting ads are one of the best way to create this familiarity because they let you advertise to potential shoppers across the internet. With retargeting you can show your messaging to shoppers who abandoned their cart and remind them to come back regardless of where they are on the web.

likable CNN

Here is an example of retargeting from my visit to CNN. This ad knows that I have been to the demandware site before and it knows that I am an ecommerce enthusiast. If I am exposed enough times to demandware they can become one of my preferred brands.

If you want to know more about retargeting checkout AdRoll’s video explanation. No matter what you choose to do be sure that you stay top of mind with your customers, but don’t over do it and annoy them.

Key Aspects of Familiarity:

likable familiarity

Find a balance: You want to stay top of mind but you also don’t want to seem annoying or pushy. Experiment to find the right balance for your store.

Experiment with mediums: Just because one marketing technique works well for me doesn’t mean it will have the same effectiveness for you. Try a few ways to create familiarity and find the one that works best for your store.

Persuading in eCommerce

We are more likely to buy from those we like, it is that simple. This post is meant to give you some actionable tips you can use to increase how likable you recommerce store is. When you increase your likability you increase your sales.

This is just one lesson in our ecommerce psychology 101 series. There are 5 other principles that we have covered and you can see them by clicking one of the principles below.

likable reciprocity
likable liking
likable scarcity
likable authority
likable consistency
likable consensus
psychology become an expert CTA