Do you want to sell more from your website? OK, silly question, I know. But one of the difficulties anyone selling stuff online has is that they cannot really control the sales environment. People tend to buy more when they are comfortable. But your sales environment might be someone’s office, their bedroom, an airport lounge or a busy train. Selling your products and services on the Internet is much more difficult than in the real world because you cannot control the variable environments of your purchasers.
In a physical store they can manipulate the lighting, the temperature and the overall ambiance to make you feel more amenable to buying something. Successful shops go to a great deal of effort to get the environment right to sell their particular type of products. Butchers, for instance, can invest in lighting that brings out the redness of meat, making it more acceptable to us. Clothing shops can invest in heating that makes us feel especially warm and thereby more likely to buy new clothes. Now, new research published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that whether we are standing on carpet or vinyl flooring can also impact our desire to buy.
It’s a complicated study looking at several different variables, but essentially it points to the fact that we are more likely to buy if we can see the product clearly and easily. Whilst carpet did have an effect making us feel more comfortable and more likely to buy something, this was reduced if the product was at a distance. In other words, our comfort levels only have an impact on our purchasing if we can see the product clearly.
Online, this means you can easily overcome the variety of environments in which you sell. You need to make it really easy for people to see what you are selling. That suggests 360 degree videos or several images to show the product from all angles. It also means being able to view the product in enlarged format pictures, allowing people to zoom in an out of any area they want. In addition, it suggests having a variety of images of the product in particular formats – such as colour variations – so that people get a clear view of what you are selling.
You cannot change the environment in which your potential purchaser is making that buying decision. But you can improve the clarity of what you are selling by using more and better pictures, as well as videos of the product. This will compensate for any negatives in the buyer’s environment.
In the same way, some physical stores would prefer to have carpet than vinyl, but can’t do so for practical reasons. This new study suggests that they can overcome the increased comfort of carpet by ensuring their products have excellent visibility. In other words, people want to see what they are buying.