How many of us get annoyed when looking for something to buy online? You could be after a new bike or a handyman, a spanking new car or a pair of new shoes. Whatever…but I don’t know about you, I cant bear it when I’m sold ‘this and that’, having to fight my way through pop-up’s only to be told that if I get ‘this’ aswell my life will be soooo much better. Snore. Unusually for a girl (possibly) When I shop, I know what I want, I buy what I want and nothing else… and I want it yesterday! I’m not a great shopper of shops. I buy everything online (funnily enough) mainly to avoid the unnatural lighting and most importantly, the sales people. My point?
I don’t want to be ‘sold to’ and rarely do I get sucked in. I’m a stubborn consumer. You couldn’t sell me a coat in the winter, even if it ends up being to my detriment! But your small business selling to your online audience? You simply have to look at cultures, customer tendencies and behaviours when profiling your target market.
For example, In the UK, USA, India and China uncertainty is accepted. We in the UK, particular are a nation of entrepreneurs, rule breakers and innovators. Ahem. But when selling to a global market, there are many other factors involved. Culture depicts many attributes and when you are selling online you have to take into consideration much more; for example, does the country comprise of individualists or do they work more as a collective group like Japan? And how do they deal with cultural inequality?
This it put sublimely by the fabulous Nathalie Nahai (@TheWebPsyche). Nathalie’s background in psychology, web design and digital strategy, has lead her to a career in helping businesses apply ‘scientific rigour ‘to their design and decision-making processes to achieve better engagement online. She has worked with brands such as; Ebay, Nokia, Google, the BBC, Goldman Sachs, to mention only a few.
In her latest book, ‘Webs of Influence – The Pyschology of Online Persuasion’ she talks about a particular subject that has always interested me, ‘Uncertainty Avoidance’
“The uncertainty avoidance Index (UAI) measures how uncomfortable we are with ambiguity. The trust is that none of us can predict the future and when it comes to accepting this reality some cultures find it easier than others’.
The super gal goes on to describe how structures of the brain affect this, offering up stats on who in the world would be more sensitive to fear and disgust and resulted in a list of countires that are both ‘uncertainty accepting’, ‘uncertainty avoidant’ and lastly ‘cultures who have a ‘high uncertainty avoidant’. This information is amazing if you are marketing to specific countries or cultures and also in understanding your own! Ultimately, it will most definitely help you understand what works and what doesn’t when engaging online.
So how does this relate to your small business? How can you avoid the hard sell and still raise your income stream? The answer is understanding your audience and these factors, then connecting, with these factors in mind. Firstly, they key lies in making sure your website and online channels reflect your audience well. Secondly, listening, understanding and talking to them is the best way you can introduce your brand or service and become reliable, loyal and a friend to your customers.
Nobody wants to see, “Our New Hand tool is just £19.99!” anymore.
Yes, people want information about the product, yes, they want to see what it looks like, but more importantly they want to know whether the seller can be trusted, whether the buying experience will be an easy one and how it will make them FEEL when they part with their money.
So when you launch a product or service in an ‘uncertainty avoidant’ place, remember less is more, offer clarity and do your research. If you are dealing with an ‘uncertainty accepting’ country, tell it to them straight!