“We are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.” Antonio Damasio.

Think about nostalgia for a moment, take something as simple hearing a song on the radio that you haven’t heard in years and automatically without even having to think, you are time travelling right back to that exact time in your life when that song meant so much – you felt it before you thought about it.

This belief has shaped how we have marketed brands and products to consumers over the past decades, proposing that emotions do play a fundamental role in our everyday decisions, allowing us to make quick, rational choices in complex situations.

So the question is, is emotion important in e-commerce marketing? And if so, how can you develop an emotional thread that keeps people connected through each step of the buying process?

Justin Cooke, CEO of Tunepics, spoke at EPiServer Ascend in November 2015 about this very matter. Speaking passionately about innovation and technology particularly in the digital retail space, Justin shed new light on e-commerce marketing in terms of brands taking the opportunity now to lead and not follow through aligning content, storytelling, innovation and technology with seamless integration and flawless delivery.

His new venture in Tunepics is a prime example of the importance and more interestingly the power that lies within emotion in e-commerce marketing. Tunepics is an innovative and cleaver take on Instagram. It’s a platform that enables you to upload images but with the option of adding music to them. A song that was played at that time or a song that reminds you of something.

For many, storytelling is considered fluffy and intangible but in e-commerce marketing today, whereby relationships are pivotal to brand success in such a competitive space, one must think about where that relationship starts. When you listen carefully to customers, opportunities for great storytelling will emerge and brands will see what it is that makes them important to their customers.

Customer motivations, fears and aspirations will enable brands to narrate their brand story, communicating values and offering their customers more than the product or service they were first interested in.

Good storytelling brands do not tell people how great their products and services are but rather show them by demonstrating an acute understanding of these motivations and how their brand can enhance or solve them. Suddenly then the focus is not on the product or service but on the experience around it.

Experiences are about what you see and how you were made to feel, you remember it. Either happy or sad, we know as human beings experiences become memories and we don’t forget. This is what brands need to remember, their customers have feelings and the power of emotion is something quite extraordinary.

When speaking about Technology, Justin touched on the fact that often today retailers use it too often for the sake of it, rather than using it to offer value to their customer or solve a problem for them. In balancing content and commerce, it’s important to remember and be clear about the end goal and monitor those KPI’s.

Lets take a look at Burberry, a company which became almost bankrupt, became laden with an unattractive chav stigma and was pretty much down and out. Justin, with a young and empowered team took this opportunity with two hands and slam dunked it into the Digital era. They began by first feeling and then dreaming.

Thinking about what Burberry meant to them, what it represented and how this made them feel, enabled them to dream about what in fact it could be and what it could become.

The Art of the Trench campaign is an example of the innovative approach they took to transform Burberry and everything it represented. Its British heritage at the core of everything they rolled out, The Art of the Trench campaign went viral and the people went mad for it. 

The Art of The Trench

Think about it, the simple concept of inviting people to share their images and stories of their trench coats, a staple classic that will never go out of fashion just got people going. They were part of something, they were actively contributing to this real time campaign and enabled to share their nostalgic, funny, bizarre whatever stories with everyone.

This particular campaign was the first of its kind, it had never been done before and it brought a whole new meaning to e-commerce and retail marketing. A lot has to be said therefore for authenticity. Creating unique and differentiated content, something that people haven't seen before is key. Leading not following, taking that risk, doing something a little off the wall and getting people to talk about it!

Similarly, in 2013, Topshop launched the first ever live streamed Fashion Show at London Fashion Week and engaged with over 2 million users in over 100 countries at one time.

Not only could users watch the fashion show live but they could instantly buy the Topshop clothing as and when the models wore it through a seamless interactive user face. Users were able to customise, for the first time items of clothing showcased in the show according to their own preferences and tastes. They were part of it, they were there!

Topshop London Fashion Week Live Stream

So is emotion important in E-Commerce marketing?

For me, absolutely. We as consumers today compare great experiences to great experiences. Why did we love that hotel so much, we do we continue to go back to that restaurant, why do we shop in the same one or two stores consistently and why do we tell everyone about these great experiences?

As such, brands and marketers need to be thinking and focusing on experiences rather than competitors, its not enough anymore to be better than your competitors you need to the the best at everything!

I will leave you with this, "People don't buy what you did, they buy why you did it." Simon Sinek. 

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