"Wait...everything I do online can be seen and used?"
"Well, where does it go?"
"That does not seem safe. And whatever happened to privacy?"

The realization that the activities one performs in the solitude of their home or office are actually public, is somehow a shock to many individuals. This is an all too common response for many consumers, especially those working outside of a technical industry. It is easy to feel distant and anonymous behind the shield of the computer screen. One no longer needs to interact on a face-to-face level in order to make purchases or schedule services, but this does not mean that you are in a private space. Many are scared of the idea that they are somehow being snooped on and that utilizing public information is an invasion of privacy.

Global Network

The internet is a global network, a shared public space where anyone can see anyone, if you choose to look. Online activity is interpreted into motivational values and in essence, a digital interpretation of consumer body language. Online consumers explore the expanse of goods, services and investments by traversing the spectrum of commerce websites. In a retail situation, real time feedback has always been the marketer’s best analysis, that is, with the proper tools and insight to turn it into sales. The A/B testing of item placement, color, interact-ability , and so on, is clear and instantaneous. So how does an online merchant or marketer view this feedback or “body language”?

Real Life Example

Picture this scenario. A shopper stands in a store and browses the items on display. Anyone who has ever worked in face to face sales knows what their gestures suggest about their acceptance or disapproval of that product. The sales person watches the customer pickup, touch, feel, and examine the product to see if this meets their requirements. The question is, what factors are at play in the consumer’s decision making and how does one gauge that process online?

In short, the first often unconscious, question the observer asks is “do I need this”, or does this at least catch my attention, a strategy often implemented by corporations selling mundane products. However, upon seeing the prospective client react to their experience of interaction with their potential acquisition, the retailer is able to change and adapt to the customer’s desired experience and an ever fluctuating market. This merchant-consumer relationship is what drives business and creates satisfied customers. So how does one apply these concepts to an online business?

Maintain Relationship Integrity

The most effective tools for maintaining the integrity of this relationship are those which collate information on web activity into consumer profiles. Whether the profile is used for lead tracking, nurturing, automation, or even individual sales, understanding your customer is always the first step to getting your product in their hands.

Marketing automation has brought real-time feedback into the online market. Based on the profile, associated values for different actions, and campaigns built to reach the customers who might truly want your product, the A/B testing of the shopkeeper’s careful observation has come back into play. Whether a sale is face-to-face or digital, it is always the same on some level. Each party has something that the other wants, and the exchange of goods is an active agreement to stand behind your product or service with pride.

People Matter

The internet may be dehumanizing and disconnected, but the human brain has not changed, nor has its expectations of the consumer relationship. We all understand that in order to grow, improve and succeed, one must continuously adapt and test new strategies. Gauge the customer’s response, interact with them on a personal or emotional level, and most importantly, meet them where they are in their lives (interest, need vs. want, price, purpose, energy level, etc.) Always engage, always improve, and always remember that no matter how different technology makes the world seem, people are the heart of a business, and that will never change.

How are you reading your customer’s body language?

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