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Digital anthropology: a new ally for entrepreneurs

by Perspective magazineEnterprise19/04/2017

Digital anthropology: a new ally for entrepreneurs
What do customers expect from your brand? What are their digital requirements, their wishes and their fears? The answer now comes from an unexpected source: anthropology.

Digital anthropology is the study of human behavior in the digital society. A growing number of companies are using findings from this new science to make their services or products more successful. After all, if you understand the wishes and fears of your increasingly digital customers, you can gear your services and products to them.

Big brother

One clear example of this is the webshop order process. As the order is placed, an incredibly long form suddenly appears where the user has to fill in all his details. A frustrating occurrence in sharp contrast to the previous pleasant shopping experience. 

Wouldn’t it be nicer if the form was already filled in? Not necessarily, because then the user is caught unawares by a big-brother feeling: how come this webshop has my details? Trust evaporates and the purchase is cancelled. If you want to make your webshop a success, you will have to do away with both the exasperation and the fear. 

From millennials to baby boomers

The webshop example shows how important it has become to fathom human behavior and feelings about the digital world. As so often, it is best to start by identifying your target group: are your customers millennials or baby boomers? Professionals or private individuals? Men or women? 

Every group approaches technology differently: men usually want to understand it, whereas as women mainly want to know what they can do with it. But we should qualify that straight away, because this interest in technology itself also seems to be strong among female millennials. Purchasing behavior differs, too: men ‘buy’ (short purchasing cycle), whereas women ‘shop’ (longer purchasing cycle involving comparison).

Start a dialogue

All these different subgroups have their own needs and wishes. Online polls, surveys or round-table discussions can help you get to the bottom of them. In a B2B context in particular, direct contact is still important. Have the people in contact with your customers ask targeted questions. Respond appropriately, by asking more questions or adjusting your processes or services. Millennials in particular seem to need this dialogue. Unlike baby boomers, they have grown up with a lot of input.

Make use of digital anthropology

Digital anthropology endeavors to offer an answer to all these questions. If you incorporate these answers into your products and services, your digital range becomes increasingly human and you give your customers what they are ultimately really seeking: a good feeling.

“Make your digital range more human and give your customers a good feeling.”

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