When designing your online store, you have certainly thought about the user experience from a functional and performance standpoint. We think that reflection also needs to be done in terms of appreciation and how your customer will feel during their shopping experience. Your users certainly have highly diverse profiles, and we encourage you to pay special attention to the expectations and preferences of your customers who are part of the gender and sexual diversity (GSD) community. Your online store can become a considerate and inviting place for everyone.
Here are a few ideas to ensure that your online store is more inclusive:
1. Ask the right questions and offer more options
Some merchants will ask their customer’s gender during the buying process. The intention is often to be able to personalize the content that will be presented to them and create audience segments.
First of all, do you really need to ask your customer’s gender? Can you ask questions that are even more relevant to your content strategy? You can validate their buying intentions, preferences, etc.
If gender is an essential piece of data in your business context, make sure to offer inclusive options. A form with a male/female checkbox can create an irritant in the experience. You can add options such as “Prefer not to answer,” “Non-binary,” etc. You can also use an open-ended question such as “What is your gender?”.
2. Present your brand with diverse and inclusive content
When creating your photo and video content, you can ensure that you have diverse representation. In your advertising campaigns, why not choose to work with a trans model? On your website, why not present lifestyle content featuring a homosexual couple? When writing your text content, why not pay special attention to inclusive writing? These initiatives are simple to apply, yet oh-so-important!
3. Rethink your product categorization
We often see search filters based on gender. It’s definitely a good idea to add search options that allow a customer to shop with other criteria that better correspond to them. For example, a company that sells watches could choose to feature categories such as colour and dial size instead of just presenting men’s and women’s categories.
There is also some thinking to be done in terms of product categorization. For example, a toy merchant shouldn’t present dolls only in the girls category and trucks in the boys category. This is a type of practice that reinforces gender-based stereotypes.
4. Let your customer make choices that match their reality
There are several eCommerce business models based on subscriptions and bundles where certain assortments are predefined. Make sure to leave the user a certain degree of freedom. For example, a merchant who sells matching pyjamas for the family shouldn’t just feature a “mom, dad, and kid(s)” bundle. The user should be able to create the bundle that represents their family, even if it is made up of two mothers, for example.
5. Adapt your messages in the customer service department
Before, during, or after the sale, you may have to communicate individually with your customers. Whether it’s by email, telephone, or chat, never assume the gender of the person you are addressing. Customer service agents should be made aware of and trained on this subject. For example, when addressing a user, you can simply call them by their fist name instead of assuming that they are a Ms. or a Mr. You can also ask the customer for their pronouns before initiating communications. The same goes for automatic replies from a chatbot.
6. Be consistent; you have the power to act every day
It’s a good thing that the Pride celebrations in June promote the LGBTQIA2SP+ community and causes. We see several brands engaging in inclusive initiatives, and the resulting visibility is certainly beneficial.
If you are implementing an action, make sure that it is long-term. We encourage you to celebrate and represent diversity all year round.
Be attentive to the needs and preferences of your customers, and make sure you have a certain representativeness during your strategic thinking.
Do you want to continue the discussion?
Do you have ideas or comments on this subject? Don’t hesitate to contact the Novatize team.