Selling on e-commerce can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be if you apply the right ecommerce SEO strategies. There are many psychological tools you can use in your selling strategy and, today, we’re going to talk about reciprocity.
Reciprocity is a powerful selling strategy because it employs the human need to respond to social protocols and cues. In fact, only sociopaths and psychopaths can see a smile without wanting to smile in return or can see someone yawning and not want to yawn themselves. Like scarcity of stock, reciprocity shows considerable uplift in e-commerce revenue.
Because this is so ingrained inside of us, social cues can be used to develop small, recognizable habits in our e-commerce customers.
Do the Hare Krishnas Use Reciprocity in Their Marketing?
Yes, they do.
In fact, the little gifts, pamphlets, and invitations which the Hare Krishnas give out on a regular basis are a powerful selling tool. This is because of something called The Rule of Reciprocity.
We are biologically driven to respond to normal and healthy social cues in a positive and affirmative way. Back in the day, when we were roaming around on the Serengeti with our newly discovered fire and wheels, we often copied each other in order to learn from other humans about animals, catching prey, avoiding predators, growing medicine, and fixing cuts and bruises. SEO services mimic these primal behaviours by tracking… and then copying… customer behaviour.
In fact, even before language was really built and invented, the only thing we all really knew how to do was copy each other. This is a pretty common thing in the animal world because parents cats and monkeys and zebras teach their baby cats and monkeys and zebras what to do through copying.
What About People Growing Up and Rebelling Against Set Authority?
This seems like it would be a common problem in the passing on of information through copying behaviour and reciprocal responses. However, this is not the case. When someone steps outside of the norm in society, everyone around them watches to see what will happen regarding this new behaviour. If the new behaviour leads to success, they continue watching, seeing if the scientific experiment is repeatable and grunting their temporary approval. If it does NOT lead to success, everyone just goes back to their business again and ignores the new behaviour.
We now have a wide variety of “normal” options from which to choose. These options have already been tested and proven against many competing theories and have been found to be successful by many people just like us.
Okay, so I believe in “Reciprocity” now and I know it’s been repeatedly used in the past with enormous amounts of success. How can I use it in my e-commerce store?
Actually, this is an area in which you can try many different techniques, although, for pure observation on what works and what doesn’t, we would ALWAYS suggest that you try one technique at a time for several weeks, carefully documenting your results both before and after the change, so that you are aware of how effective each technique is. Know your results so that you can track your progress.
1. Free Gift with Purchase! (Stated beforehand). This is a way to get the customer to think beyond their buying decision. They want more and they’ll get more. They love shopping and they’ll get more shopping. This is a great way to catch bargain shoppers, addictive shoppers, and everyone looking for an extra deal.
2. Little Surprises in Their Shipment (Not stated beforehand). This is a great way to engender customer loyalty. In fact, if your business tends to have repeat customers (a very loyal client base) and small knick-knacks always available for free through your distributors, this is a great way to build up even more customer loyalty. Even SEO can describe these things without making them public to the customer, thus influencing people who love surprises to be drawn to your shop.
This is an especially helpful thing to do if these little extras from your suppliers and distributors are not always available, change around every month, or are unpredictable in any way. Instead of building an expectation in your beautiful e-commerce customers for something which may or may not be available, you can simply include extra bobbles in their shipments as extra bobbles are available.
3. Check-Out Time Free Gifts Which Reward Them in Their Shopping Cart (Pre-Selected Boxes, of course). This is sometimes done in e-commerce websites and it’s extremely popular with customers. You have a selection of free items they are getting with their purchase, but they don’t find out about them until they go to check out.
In their shopping cart, these three or four items will be listed as Free! below their purchase, and you will have all of the boxes of including these with their purchase already pre-selected (just in case they don’t notice this) so that they get extra goodies when they check out!
This is a powerful habit building process because it rewards your customer right at the point of checkout, causing them to want to come back to purchase again and again.
4. Free Industry Guides with Every Purchase. If your business works within a specific industry (Chemistry, Fashion, Accounting, Stationary), you can re-write a popular industry guide, add your own knowledge to its already extensive interface, and then include this free industry guide with every purchase.
This way, your customers and clients have something real and tangible to read before they receive their purchase in the mail. This is a great way to get them hooked on your site (and perhaps buying some more stuff, too!).
5. Free E-Books if They Join Your Mailing List. There is nothing like the promise of a free and instantaneous e-book. Make sure their free gift is tied directly to their sign up to receive colourful, beautiful emails from you about your products (or re-targeting ads from their abandoned shopping carts).
6. Pop-Up Window with a Free Quiz and a Free Gift for Filling It Out! Everyone loves to take quizzes, especially when it’s about themselves. It’s fun to pick out all of your favourite things and then to get your free, personalized results at the end! If a free gift is offered as a reward for taking the quiz, people are even MORE likely to take it, knowing that it will be both fun and extra rewarding!
This technique specifically targets bubbly and fun-oriented people. These are people who like to be silly, chatty and entertaining and who hate to be too serious or too monotonous in their business. A good on page audit should take care of this early on or should be a part of you e-commerce SEO checklist.
7. Sample Content (Think about Amazon’s “Look Inside” Feature). This is where you sell high-ticket or more serious items and need your customers to really know what they’re ordering before they buy it. This lowers the possibility of returns.
Always Remember: Pain is caused when expectations don’t meet reality. As long as they get exactly what they expect, then they will be happy and satisfied with the product. Any misrepresentation at all is a great way to run your business into the ground.
Think about Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature on their books. This way, people can get a full view of a book from the library or bookstore point of view, without having access to the full content. It’s a brilliant strategy and it always works.
Cheap Offers and Free Offers Lower the Pain of Purchase.
There is a pain, a small resistance, when buying something, either in person or online. In the online world, the process has to be so smooth, so elegant, and so bug-free that people will not really notice the checkout process.
In addition to that, the process must be really and deeply rewarding. Always reward your customers for buying from your e-commerce store and assist them in their purchase by thinking about their every need. Help them buy your product and make them feel really comfortable with their purchase.
Low-cost and free offers reduce the pain of purchase by introducing your customers to your world, your universe, immediately with little or no participation on their part. Once they feel comfortable with coming in this far, they can be easily and swiftly introduced to a real purchase from you, already knowing what it will feel like to do business with you. A good ecommerce SEO package should already account for reciprocity as a selling tactic.
In conclusion, the power of reciprocity is a heavy social protocol. We all want to engage with and respond to the world around ourselves. When we are able to connect with the people we want to connect with and do the things we want to do, we feel at peace and at rest. Where there are hiccups and interruptions in the process, we feel nervous and edgy until the matter is settled. A good digital marketing company will be able to anticipate such interruptions.
Reciprocity means that a bond is formed between you and your customers. This is a two-way bond because both parties interacted with the other. Take advantage of this fact and set up the protocols above, one at a time, to test out each one for several weeks in a row before moving on to the next. Happy marketing and always study your metrics!