Human Commerce: Understanding the Intersection of Humanity and Business
May 30, 2023

Human Commerce: Understanding the Intersection of Humanity and Business

Online shopping has become a preferred way for many consumers to purchase goods and services, today. However, while e-Commerce offers convenience and a vast selection of products, it lacks the personal touch and face-to-face interactions that come with traditional brick-and-mortar shopping…

It also presents a challenge to even the most technically savvy shoppers. Confusing descriptions, inaccurate dimensions, and generic sizing charts make shopping online feel more like a home DIY project than a pleasant experience. This is where the concept of human commerce comes in.

In this article, we'll explore what human commerce is, why it's important, and how businesses can integrate it into their e-commerce strategies.

What is Human Commerce?

Human commerce is a term that refers to the intersection of humanity and business. It is a concept that explores how businesses can become more human-centered and how they can improve the lives of people who shop and buy from them.

In the past, the term "commerce" was seen simply as a transactional process, where businesses and consumers exchanged money for something of value. However, with the rise of technology and the changing needs of consumers, businesses are starting to realize the importance of humanizing their approach and building their shopping experiences around consumers - especially loyal ones.

Human commerce is not just about making a sale; it's about creating a relationship with your customers. It's about understanding them- their needs, their wants, and their desires, and then creating a product, service, or experience that meets those needs.

Why is Human Commerce Important?

Human commerce is vital today. In a recent study, PwC found that consumers were tired of interacting with bots, and 82%+ of the respondents said that they'd pay more for 1:1 human interactions in their shopping experiences.

But there are several other reasons for humanizing your shopping experience.

First, it helps businesses to understand their customers better. By taking a human-centered approach, businesses can gain insights into what their customers want and need, and then create products or services that meet those needs. 

Utilizing platforms like Humankind, remote concierges (or) product experts can collect zero-party data so that eCommerce brands can get to know their customers at a deeper level and create excellent shopping experiences tailored to them.

Second, human commerce helps businesses to build trust and rapport with their customers. Customers are more likely to trust businesses that take a human-centered approach and are transparent with their policies and practices. These policies and practices can be around reviews, data security, or customer service, just to name a few.

Finally, human commerce helps brands to differentiate themselves from their competitors. We talk more about this in "Retail Clienteling," but in today's competitive market, businesses need to stand out from the crowd and create experiences that are unique and memorable for their customers - or "shiny object syndrome" will distract them from making repeat purchases.

If you're still reading this, you've probably realized that you need a human commerce approach, how do you create one?

How to Implement Human Commerce in Your Business

Implementing human commerce in your business is not difficult, but it does require a shift in mindset- and mindset shifts start at the top! Once the shift to a customer-focused brand has been made, implementing it is easy. 

Here are some steps you can take to implement human commerce in your business:

  1. Start with your customers: To implement human commerce in your business, you need to start with your customers. Take the time to understand them... Get curious about their needs, wants, and desires, and then create products, services, and shopping experiences that meet those needs.
  2. Build trust: Building trust with your customers is key to implementing human commerce. Be transparent in your dealings, and always be honest with your customers. And, always protect their data... privacy is something that's been lost on people over the past few years but as hacks become more prevalent, people are tightening their grasp on personal information.
  3. Create a positive impact: I love brands like Patagonia for this reason, they make every attempt possible to create a positive impact on society. This means creating products and services that improve the lives of customers, the communities they serve, and even the planet.
  4. Be authentic: Authenticity is key to implementing human commerce. Be true to your brand and your values, and always be genuine in your interactions with your customers.

Once you've implemented a human-first approach, now it's time to identify and implement tools that will help you achieve this goal.

Conversational commerce software is a great place to start. Customers love 1:1 human interaction and Humankind is the platform that empowers brands like Saucony, Taylormade Golf, and REN Skincare to connect shoppers directly with trained product experts (called remote concierges) who can walk them through the purchase process.

Once integrated, Humankind will help your brand engage in meaningful conversations with customers, creating a human-like shopping experience akin to texting with a friend.

The Challenges of Implementing Human Commerce in E-Commerce

One of the biggest challenges of implementing human commerce in e-commerce is the lack of physical interaction between customers and associates.

In traditional shopping, a sales associate would use body language, tone of voice, eye contact, and other non-verbal cues to establish a connection with the customer. They'd ask questions, make recommendations, and show a general interest in them.

In e-commerce, these cues are absent, making it more challenging to create an interpersonal connection with the customers who come to your eCommerce store.

Another challenge is the sheer volume of customers that e-commerce businesses typically serve. Providing personalized interactions to each customer can be time-consuming and costly, making it difficult for businesses to scale their human commerce efforts.

Again, this is where Humankind can help your brand stand above your competitors. A remote concierge can use the platform to seamlessly support more than 20 shoppers at a time - this enables you to scale your conversational efforts- and if you need to find personal shoppers, remote concierges, and product experts, our team has the resources to find the right human for the job.

The Benefits of Human Commerce

There are many benefits to implementing human commerce in your eCommerce experience. Here are just a few:

  1. Increased customer satisfaction (CSAT): By taking a human-centered approach, you can improve customer satisfaction and create loyal customers that keep coming back.
  2. Increased trust: We've mentioned this in a previous section, but it's so important - People don't buy from brands that they don't trust. This means building trust with your customers is key to creating a successful business.
  3. Positive impact: Implementing human commerce allows you to create a positive impact on society. Millennials and Gen-Z, especially, shop with brands who believe as we do and take a stand.
  4. Increased sales: Human commerce can also lead to increased sales. By understanding your customers better and creating products and services that meet their needs, you can increase sales and grow your business.

And, that’s before we start measuring “the metrics.” Some of the benefits of taking a distinctly human approach to commerce are increased average order value (AOV), lifetime customer value (LTV)/ increased lifetime revenue (LTR), and conversion rates (CVR).

All of these metrics lead to higher sales, better margins, and turn your customers into brand ambassadors. 

Overall, the benefits of a human-focused approach to commerce far outweigh the challenges and help you create deeper relationships with customers that grow your brand.

Strategies for Integrating Human Commerce into E-Commerce

1. Conversational Commerce Software

The first step to taking a human-first approach is making it "human." That means giving shoppers direct connection wherever possible. Humankind allows you to do this by providing real-time text support between the customer and the remote concierge.

2. Personalized Recommendations

Personalized recommendations are another effective way to create a personalized shopping experience. By analyzing a customer's browsing and purchase history, you can provide product recommendations that are tailored to their specific interests and needs.

3. Cross-Platform Engagement

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide businesses with an excellent opportunity to engage with their customers on a more personal level - but our favorite is SMS. People are never without their phones, so if you focus on SMS you never lose connection with your customers.

4. Zero-party Data Collection

Zero-party data is personal preference data that customers willingly give brands. This kind of information, such as their preferences and interests, helps marketing, sales, and your concierge craft personalized experiences for your customers - which is what they want. By collecting and leveraging zero-party data, you can create an eCommerce experience that customers won't soon forget.

When you put all of these together, you have a winning strategy that wows customers and shows how much you care.

The Future of Human Commerce

As technology continues to evolve, so does the potential for human commerce. Someday we may live in a world like the Jetsons, but we're not quite there yet. Here are some trends that we can expect to see in the future of human commerce:

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) will play a larger role in personalizing the shopping experience. This will allow us to unlock new insights by analyzing customer data and behavior and creating more targeted and relevant product recommendations and experiences.
  2. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies will allow customers to try on clothes, see how furniture looks in their homes, and even test drive cars, all from the comfort of their own homes with a headset. Apple's new AR/VR setup is supposed to be launched soon - so this may not be that far in the future.
  3. Voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant will become more prevalent in e-commerce. These are already here, and I'm sure they'll only get better!
  4. Social media platforms will continue to evolve as a key component of human commerce. Instagram and Pinterest are already popular platforms for discovering and shopping for products, and we can expect to see more social commerce features in the future.
  5. The use of chatbots will become more common in customer service as Ai and the other solutions we mentioned in our first point get smarter and more connected-  providing 24/7 support, handling simple inquiries, and freeing up human customer service representatives to handle more complex issues.

Overall, the future of human commerce looks bright. By incorporating human interactions into e-commerce, businesses can create a more engaging and memorable shopping experience for their customers - which will allow them to stay relevant as the marketing grows more saturated.

In Conclusion...

Human commerce offers businesses the opportunity to create a more engaging and personalized shopping experience for their customers. By incorporating human interactions into e-commerce, businesses can establish trust, foster loyalty, and create a sense of community among their customers.

While there are still challenges to implementing human commerce, businesses can use these strategies to create a more human-centered shopping experience. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative ways for businesses to integrate human commerce into their e-commerce strategies.

So what are you waiting for? Book your demo of Humankind today, and see how it can help boost your eCommerce sales and make the shopping experience more human!

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