We all know that authenticity matters in our day-to-day personal interactions, but being authentic on your website also matters. Ensuring that your authentic company culture shines through on the web is critical to your long term ecommerce success.
Merriam-Webster.com defines authenticity as being “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character” (Source: Merriam-Webster.com). While this word is most often used to describe a human being, authenticity may also be applied to the personality and culture of an organization.
Why does knowing who you are as a company and what your goals are matter in the success of ecommerce? The same reason that it’s important in face-to-face sales. Authenticity creates credibility, which increases conversion. Increased conversions equal an increase in sales. Authenticity fosters trust in your customers, which will also increase the likelihood that they will convert on your site. Authenticity is not something you can force or fake. It must be organic and your customers will know when it isn’t.
Authentic interaction via ecommerce encompasses how your website looks, feel, functions and messaging. It includes your color scheme, your photos, how you talk about your organization and how you represent your products.
To make sure that your ecommerce site provides an authentic experience for your online shoppers:
Show off your corporate culture
If your organization prides itself on being the premiere widget maker in your industry, take steps to ensure that your website reflects your premium product positioning. Or if your company culture is one of “Work hard, play hard,” make sure that your website demonstrates this by showing pictures of your employees working hard–and playing hard at some of their favorite pursuits.
Use images that promote your corporate world view
When your organization’s corporate mission statement expresses that you value diversity and equality, it’s essential that the images of people on your website reflect these values. Similarly, if your company takes steps to be as green as possible, your images should reflect your environmental concern whenever they can.
Choose your website message carefully
How you present your company and product line in promotional and product copy matters. A casual copywriting style will lend itself better to a casual and “in-the-trenches” organization. A formal tone of voice will work better for a professionally oriented organization. Technical jargon will communicate more effectively for techie or super-smart audiences.
Site design matters
Matching site design and functionality to your corporate culture can be especially powerful. For example, if your widget is touted as the “easiest widget to use in all the world” but your website is hard to navigate through and counterintuitive, what message is sent to your customer? Make sure your site functionality compliments, not competes, with your product offering.
Taking time to make sure that you website copy, images, and overall design authentically reflect your corporate culture will reassure your site visitors and increase overall conversion. Failing to consider how authentic your online experience is for the end user could result in missed sales–and a less-than-stellar online shopping experience.