Avatars are defined as “an online communication source, a sales associate or customer service representative who assist Internet users in the information search process, providing product information and, if requested, advice about selecting from a set of product options”. By choosing to use an Avatar, you are providing your customers the possibility to have a more personal experience with a human like personality.
Attracting Your Ideal Customer
An avatar is an alter ego of sorts, an animated or photographic image, that web surfers use to identify themselves and communicate online. By using avatars and providing a better internet shopping experience, it should improve the conversion rate of potential buyers. Avatars increase the entertainment and information value, improving the overall satisfaction of web-based activities.
Voice capability is also a great plus with the use of avatars versus just chat boxes. Emerging technology allows avatars not only to match facial expressions and tones with what they are saying, but also to recognize speech and respond appropriately. In many studies, they explored avatars characteristics and attractiveness. In these studies, they found that in high- involvement situation, the consumer is more likely to consider the content of an argument.
Image Source: Christos
Expert vs Attractive
Conversely, in a low- involvement situation, there’s a greater effect of persuasion. Therefore, an expert avatar would be more effective in high- involvement conditions, and an attractive avatar would be more effective in a low-involvement condition. The presence of an avatar could result in significantly higher levels of satisfaction, attitude, and purchase intent.
Avatar similarity plays a major role on purchase outcomes too. Characteristics such as shared attitudes, morality, personality traits, music preference, background, and perception about life have been found to positively affect a sales situation outcome. Defining your customer avatar is also key to connecting with your consumers. By defining your customer avatar first, you are then identifying you target audience and personalizing features to their demographics and lifestyles.
Marketing managers and businesses should strongly explore the ideal of using avatars as virtual sales agent. The already positive outcomes from using avatars should support a consumer’s reason to agree. Overall avatar expertise, similarity, and attractiveness affects Purchase Outcomes. Using avatars has showed improve purchase intent, brand attitude, trust and loyalty. “A well-designed and strategically integrated avatar salesforce will provide a retailer with a competitive advantage”.
Quote source: Online Consumer Behavior: Theory and Research in Social Media, Advertising, by Angeline Close Scheinbaum