The sizzle of Internet commerce is quickly fading, and reality is setting in. Direct response television marketers are quickly learning that the Internet, in and of itself, cannot entice the consumer and close the sale.
The failure of so many e-commerce Web sites shows that consumers’ expectations are not being met on the Internet. However, the picture does not have to be gloomy – as long as marketers combine the possibilities of the Internet and the science of selling once you’ve gotten that buyer to come to your site.
Web sites – indeed, any retailer whether virtual or brick-and-mortar – have a better chance of achieving success if they understand and apply the science of selling. The common denominator among the many e-failures is that they have lost sight as to what is important to the consumer in the transaction process.
The science of selling is about connecting with the emotional needs and wants of the consumer. Web sites have notoriously been merely an enhanced catalog – products are offered, described, some sites even have ways of demonstrating them. But there’s one glaring omission in these sites – an omission that can spell the difference between success and failure.
People don’t buy products. People buy into an emotional response. Most marketers sell to a demographic or an interest group. That kind of limited approach is simply not adequate anymore.
The first – and by far most significant – element that has to be built into your Web site is salesmanship. An effective salesman first finds out what makes the customer tick. He finds issues that elicit an emotional response and uses that response open a dialogue. The salesman even personally gets involved in the dialogue: “I know what you mean; I sure feel a lot healthier when I’m at my best weight. That’s why I work at doing something about it.” The salesman finds out how the customer feels – and when he knows the answer to that fundamental basic, he knows what he can sell.
The question you’re asking is: How in the World Wide Web is it possible to inject the science of selling into a Web site?
Once again, it’s technology to the rescue.
A new technique has arisen called content merchandising modules, an application composed of scalable analysis and marketing tools that is helping bridge the gap between browsing and buying.
The system is a series of content, tests and feedback loops that continually calculates and alters the content relative to the emotional responses of the consumer – just like an effective salesman.
CMM has the ability to interact with consumers in real time by identifying core emotional responses or pathways, empathizing with consumers and, ultimately, closing the sale. Because products sell when they fulfill an emotional need, the system searches for the consumers’ emotional needs within the framework of entertaining and interactive content. It then joins consumers in a continual exploration into their emotional needs and wants, and methodically presents products that match these needs.
At the heart of the system is a database of emotional-oriented input and a real-time program that extracts and measures against the data to deliver a series of feedback loops. To the consumer, the system is represented as content with which they are encouraged to interact.
Every effective salesman knows the process begins with engaging the customer in conversation. The CMM equivalent is a specially prepared content. A real estate agent at a party doesn’t go up to a stranger and ask to represent his house. The agent finds out about the person, talks about a myriad of subjects. Then, finally, the agent, after understanding and addressing the emotional needs of the potential client, offers: “So, let me list your house.”
CMM continually analyzes consumer responses and adjusts accordingly. At the end of the process, CMM knows the emotional needs of the customer – and the customer feels he is part of a trusting relationship.
CMM is a simple and elegant solution to the Internet’s most fundamental challenge. One of the most exciting aspects of the Internet is its ability to carry out one-to-one selling. CMM takes it one step further, empowering the Internet to focus on the key emotional needs of the consumer through a powerful content and interactive-driven environment.
The wide use of the system can help make those e-failures into e-gains and ensure that when prospective buyers visit your site, they aren’t just window shopping.
Nancy Duitch is president/co-founder and Todd Kesselman is chief operating officer of One World Live, Los Angeles. Duitch’s e-mail address is [email protected]