Can e-tailers use ‘digital body language’ to convert shoppers?

Discussion
Oct 06, 2017
Glenn Taylor

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.

Retailers must look beyond the thought process of online conversion as a single action — a decision to purchase or not — and instead study conversion as a journey influenced by experiences, according to a report from Clicktale.

The new approach requires understanding digital body language, which is a combination of all the digital gestures and micro-signals customers may exhibit during their online shopping journey.

“Every mouse move, hover, scroll, tap and pinch exposes structured behavioral patterns that determine customers’ digital body language and mindset,” Clicktale states.

Clicktale broke e-commerce site visitor behavioral patterns into five mindsets, to help retailers create innovative experiences that best speak to the customer’s intent:

  • Disoriented: These visitors are confused and have lost their sense of direction on the page;
  • Lack of Interest: These visitors have a lack of motivation to keep exploring the page or content;
  • Exploring: These visitors zero in and narrow down their options by investigating the different choices the page has to offer;
  • Mindful: These visitors take time to make decisions, invest cognitive resources, pay attention to details and are deeply engaged; and
  • Focused: These are mature visitors who have been to the website before and have pre-filled form details — they’re ready to buy.

The shopper’s mindset creates a big differentiator in whether a retailer completes a sale. When a visitor’s dominant mindset is disoriented, conversion rates are 40 percent lower than average, similar to visitors with a lack of interest mindset, according to Clicktale.

At the other end of the spectrum, when a visitor’s dominant mindset is focused, conversion rates are 50 percent higher than average. But since a visitor’s interactions with a website are always so dynamic, retailers have an opportunity to influence their behavior at different touch points along the journey.

The report recommends retailers seek to trigger an interaction by changing the experience for the customer, not the mindset. For example, visitors with a clearly decisive mindset on the home page should not be distracted with offers and messages on the second page. The report instead suggests retailers save the extra ads and deals for the distracted visitors, who may need something to catch and hold their attention.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How effectively do you think retailers read and influence the “digital body language” of their website visitors? What automated actions can the site use to help orient and focus distracted online shoppers? 

Braintrust
"This is an intelligent analytical approach, but an impractical one until brands/retailers understand what personalization really means."
"“Digital body language.” Who makes this stuff up?"
"Shopper journey analytics is HUGE and is truly in its infancy in terms of actual revenue achieved by retailers so far."

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17 Comments on "Can e-tailers use ‘digital body language’ to convert shoppers?"

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Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

Understanding digital body language is a tool for personalization and few brands today are capable of quality personalization.

This is an intelligent analytical approach, but an impractical one until brands/retailers understand what personalization really means. Most often, they see personalization as deciding what ad/offer to display when it really has to do with serving up content or experiences that resonate with user needs/desires on a one-to-one level. When they get that, they will be better positioned to effectively use insights from digital body language.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

I would love to know the magnitude of the incremental sales that will be generated by such a sophisticated and scientific approach to selling. Usually good product at a reasonable price (the perceived-value proposition) is the ultimate reason shoppers buy from a specific retailer.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

I think we still have a long way to go to maximize how customers use the internet when it comes to shopping online. Just like in a store we have browsers killing time, browsers thinking about a future purchase, more interested buyers who could make a purchase and serious customers who will purchase if they find what they want.

The internet provides unlimited choices and great conveniences. We have a lot to learn to truly understand how the viewer is using it at that moment. Today retailers think it’s all product and price and some websites are so muddy with ads and offers that it gets confusing just trying to find what you want. Chat needs to become much better, and we need to get away from FAQs that almost never answer a customer’s question because the question they have isn’t there.

So this article points out the excellent potential for retailers to improve online shopping. It may be good to know what each click represents, but it will still require making the retail website a place I want to visit because I had a great online shopping experience. That means applying creativity along with offering excellent buying opportunities.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

To echo Ken and Bob, this sounds very sophisticated and hard to grasp for today’s retailers. Let’s just keep it simple for now and start with AI. For my 2 cents.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

More noise to befuddle already technology-befuddled retailers. “Digital body language” as a conversion solution? Another riff on inferred behavior, segmentation and the like. What is needed is a holistic solution. No wonder digital conversion has been rampantly low, for years.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust

“More noise” says it all, Cynthia. I think I’m in the befuddled mindset!

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

Let’s keep it even simpler and figure out how to process deliveries and returns profitably. “digital body language” reading is beyond creepy. It would certainly catch my attention, enough to make me leave the site.

Netflix does something similar if you are binge watching an entire series. At some point it asks you “Are you still watching?” I don’t mind that so much, because I figure it’s a good way for them to conserve the bandwidth they’re using … but any other purpose would be an utter turnoff.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

Shopper journey analytics is HUGE and is truly in its infancy in terms of actual revenue achieved by retailers so far. This can be one of the most effective ways to see tangible results for marketing efforts. The newest tools available today are changing marketing strategies of the brands that are using them. Really cool stuff happening out there.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust

“Digital body language.” Who makes this stuff up?

Apparently there are five “mindsets” revealed by “every mouse move, hover, scroll, tap and pinch.” The premise, unfortunately, is based on a total misunderstanding of what a “mindset” is. Listed are five categories of “experiences” that we all fluctuate between all the time; but let’s not hover over that thought. And, we read, confused and disoriented people are less likely to buy something. Who knew?

Apparently your customer’s mindset is a “big differentiator” in whether or not they buy something. So if you are a retailer, the aptly named Clicktale tells us, you should seek to trigger an interaction by changing the “experience” for the customer not their “mindset.” I don’t quite follow that, so let me say this: instead of trying to analyze my every scroll, tap and pinch … why don’t you spend your time creating a website that isn’t confusing, is actually interesting, purposeful and focused while providing clearly defined options and directions? In summary, it’s not me … it’s you!

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Great point! Who makes up this stuff!

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

This thinking started on the right track — last-click attribution can be incredibly misleading. Following those metrics leads to shifting marketing dollars entirely to final purchase — a well known way to destroy your brand.

But I disagree about trying to read the tea leaves of digital behavior. Behavior-based analysis has severe limits and it’s time we recognized that.

Here’s a blog post I’ve written about this topic — noting that observed behavior always misses important things. And trying to infer big conclusions from smaller and smaller actions is a dead end: Reading the Fossil Record: Why Data & Machine Learning Tell Us Less Than We Think.

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust

Digital body language is certainly a new term to me! I think it’s fair to say that online interactions are very dynamic — you might have someone who’s very “focused” and knows what they want but then doesn’t click the final buy button because an unexpected delivery charge encourages them to look elsewhere. So I think it’s very hard to accurately influence the behaviour as I’m not sure you ever have a great handle on what’s motivating someone — at least in the physical store you can tell if someone seems happy or frustrated or tired and try and tailor your service. Online is still quite impersonal — at least until retailers start watching people through their web cams (and hopefully that’ll never happen!).

Alex Levashov
Guest

I wonder about the accuracy of this classification.

I kind of doubt that you can really understand if a customer is just exploring or has already made a decision by one click (from home to second page).

Michael La Kier
BrainTrust

The more retailers understand shopper behavior, the better. Period. End of Story. If retailers have attracted shoppers to their site and can entice someone to buy who would otherwise leave, it’s a huge advantage.

Bart Foreman
Guest

I completely agree with the majority of comments. Who makes this stuff up?

Sarah Nochimowski
Guest

This is so important and should be greatly analyzed. Once you have a good picture of the behaviors, then you can retarget accordingly, using creatives that match the behavior.

Hilie Bloch
Guest

Retailers are getting better at influencing e-commerce shoppers, but there is still plenty of opportunity, even for the likes of Amazon and Walmart.com. AI is the best technology now available to define shopper personalities and help segment then target them. By collecting specific, publicly available data streams from social media and integrating that information with proprietary sources from point of sale or loyalty programs, retailers are better defining their value proposition to shoppers. This results in an ongoing conversation between the retailer and customer that both extends the shopping experience well beyond the site and sets up the platform for marketing moving forward.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This is an intelligent analytical approach, but an impractical one until brands/retailers understand what personalization really means."
"“Digital body language.” Who makes this stuff up?"
"Shopper journey analytics is HUGE and is truly in its infancy in terms of actual revenue achieved by retailers so far."

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