Cheng and chi on the Web

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a piece by Hiroshi Mikitani on why customers buy. The simple answer: Because it’s fun. Another way to say this is that because it engages them emotionally, and a good way to do that is by exploiting the cheng / chi pattern.

Today, Shauna Mei tackles the same theme in a post on Quartz (an Atlantic magazine site):

How we sold out of an $840 reindeer leather apron this holiday season: Lessons for luxury retail in an e-commerce boom

Luxury retailers have made a science out of engaging customers’ emotions, particularly vanity, in their brick-and-mortars, but have been slow to capture the effect online. Mei notes:

Websites for luxury brands function mostly as digital catalogs, imparting very little context and even less of the emotion that is traditionally a major part of a luxury brand’s appeal. … The approach thus far has been misguided. The answer may actually lie in using the Internet as more than just another platform to display merchandise. In order to be successful, we must think of e-commerce as an outlet for strategic brand creativity, with the ultimate goal of engaging customers emotionally.

Not easy, certainly, but as Mei shows, possible. If you make achieving cheng / chi your Schwerpunkt, then you can initiate your observe-orient-hypothesis-test loops to create ways to do it.


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