How to make your shoe website tactile
Have you been hearing a lot about NFTs and the metaverse lately? Whilst this is a fascinating development for the shoe business, it has made me consider what we would miss if fashion was entirely digital. My conclusion? Whether we were conscious of it or not, we would miss using our tactile sense.
When physical stores reopened after lockdowns, one of the things that drew us back instore despite the risks was the ability to feel our potential purchases. The presence of antibacterial gel at the front of many stores assumed that we wouldn’t just be looking at the goods inside. Although touching anything or anyone has gained a new sense of awkwardness, we still crave it. A hug from someone you love has never felt so good, and caressing a beautiful leather shoe can be another guilty pleasure.
Whether stores are open or not, as a shoe brand founder, you are likely to engage in online retail. Your customers will purchase online using their eyes, emotions and intellect, but whether consciously or not, they are likely to miss using their other senses. Whilst shopping online cannot be compared to being visually impaired whilst shopping instore, it can feel as though we are lacking important sensory input.
So how can you add a sense of tactility to the online shoe shopping experience you offer to your customers? Here are some ideas for you to riff on with your own website:
Including short videos of people touching your products on your website can help your customers to imagine their own hands or feet doing the same. They will see how the leather or fabric moves when touched. Is it rigid or deliciously soft? Will the nap of a faux fur lining move between your fingers when caressed?
You can include the person’s face, or close in on their hand or feet and your product.
ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response is defined by Wikipedia as “a tingling sensation that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.” If that description leaves you baffled, type “ASMR” into YouTube. It’s a weird and wonderful phenomenon, but one that could inspire you to include some beautiful audio with your video content.
What do your shoes sound like when touched or walked in? Would your customers sigh blissfully when they put on the boots or slippers they bought from you? Does the tap of your high heels on a wooden floor sound pleasingly confident? Consider how you could stimulate your customers’ audio sense in a way that feels on-brand for you.
Try including comparisons between your footwear and known objects or sensations in your product descriptions e.g.
- Duvets for your feet
- Soft as a newborn kitten
- Hugs for your feet
- Light as a snowflake
- Like gloves for your feet
Each of these examples help your customer to imagine the feeling of wearing your footwear.
If your brand voice is light-hearted, surprise and amuse your customers with quirkier comparisons. Playfulness is effective when it comes to building an emotional connection with your customers.
When you request feedback on your products from customers, include a question about how they feel. Instead of “How comfortable are these shoes?” ask purchasers the open question “How do your new shoes feel?”
Reading real people’s reviews rather than a brand’s opinions of its own products can feel as though you have received a trusted peer’s advice. You are able to imagine yourself in their position, and recreate the sensations they felt in your own imagination.
I hope this has inspired you to begin making your shoe website tactile. I would also encourage you to use your powerful tactile shoe brand content in your email marketing and social media.