The Three Monkeys of e-Commerce – What’s your e-Commerce style?

The three monkeys of e-Commerce - Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil to highlight e-Commerce personality types

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Snapshot : A follow-up to our Three Monkey’s of Marketing article, read how your insight personality type drives your e-Commerce style. Learn what advantages and challenges Sunshine YellowsFiery Reds, Cool Blues and Earth Greens bring to your business when you sell online. 

Some months back, we wrote a brief article on what we called the Three Monkeys of Marketing. In this article we talked about how it’s common to use personality profiles like Myers Briggs Type IndicatorLifestyles Inventory (LSI) or Insight Discovery in businesses. But, the article mainly focussed on how you could use the Insight Discovery type colours to identify marketing styles or preferred ways or working.

We compared yellow, red and blue personality styles to the well-known Three Monkeys that hear no evil (yellow), see no evil (red) and speak no evil (blue).

But these insight colour / monkey types don’t only exist in the world of marketing. So we thought it was long overdue to try the same thing with e-Commerce. How do insight personality types affect your e-Commerce style?

Let’s look at each of these styles in turn. And obviously, let’s start with the ones who’ll be making the most noise.  

e-Commerce Sunshine Yellow Monkey 

So, the first e-Commerce style to consider is the Sunshine Yellow / Hear No Evil monkey type. 

These extrovert feelers LOVE the idea of e-Commerce. These personality types bring a huge amount of energy to everything they do. Anything that is NEW or EXCITING really motivates and inspires them.

So they are great people to have on your team when you need to inspire others about e-Commerce. 

So, most people like the idea of e-Commerce when it comes to their own shopping habits. But, when it comes to a business point of view, and planning to sell online, it can create disruption in your business. And most people, don’t like disruption. 

In particular, if your business has people and processes to support traditional retail channels, you can find lots of people feeling threatened and defensive about e-Commerce. 

Inspire those who feel threatened and defensive

Look at the National Sales Manager for the big retailer who sees e-Commerce as only a few percentage points of their total sales. And sees their relationship with the buyer becoming less important as online sales grow. 

What about the Head of Supply Chain who is measured on their ability to drive operational efficiency? Which means maximised warehouse capacity, container loads of products and low numbers of returns? And then you come along and say you want to sell direct to consumer. Small, irregular batches of sales with comparatively high return rates. 

Then, bring in the finance team lead who can’t get over the shipping cost difference of selling online to selling via traditional channels. (see our post on online store business models for more on this.)

No, e-Commerce is not always an easy sell-in to any business. The natural influencing and inspiring energy that Yellow personality types have in spades can make people think more positively about it as a channel. There’s a real benefit to your e-Commerce style from all that energy and enthusiasm. 

But where Sunshine Yellow types struggle …

As we’ll move on to with our other e-Commerce styles, there’s a lot of detailed tasks that sit behind e-Commerce. In particular the order to delivery process requires high attention to detail. It requires repeated and consistent application of good practice.

Yellow personality types HATE this.

It’s like sticking a pin in their excitement. They will struggle to listen to these types of conversations out of sheer boredom. (So, they hear no evil …)

So, choose how and where you use Sunshine Yellow types in your e-Commerce approach carefully.

Bring them in at the start of projects when you need to generate ideas. Use them as sounding boards when sales plateau and you need to find new ideas to drive growth.

Yellow types will be good at keeping an eye on what’s happening in the wider world of e-Commerce. They’ll happily pass on details of great advertising. Or improvements to customer service that they see other e-Commerce businesses doing.  

Just don’t ask them to complete your product page templates. Or run your data analysis. That’s just not their e-Commerce style at all. 

e-Commerce Fiery Red Monkey

If Sunshine Yellow types love the IDEA of e-Commerce, then Fiery Red / See No Evil types bring something quite different to your e-Commerce style. 

These extrovert thinkers love the ACTION of e-Commerce. Particularly when you set up own your own store.

In that case, the idea of having total control over the channel, and the ability to test and learn and DO e-Commerce really taps into the drivers for a Fiery Red e-Commerce style.  

When you need stuff done

And let’s face it, there’s no shortage of tasks when it comes to managing your own online store. And Fiery Red types love to be busy. As we cover in our whole set up your own online store guide, you’ll never be short of things to do. 

Reds will love to get stuck in to the set up, the look and feel and the operation of the website. They’ll have strong opinions of what it should look like and how it should work. Reds will want to lead the marketing for the online store, and make sure that the order to delivery process works well.

They’ll be particularly keen to track and measure the sales because they want to see progress. Reds are competitive. When they feel like they have control over a sales channel and can show how they grow the business, they feel like they are getting ahead. 

But where Fiery Red’s struggle …

Well, while you can rely on Fiery Red’s to get stuff done, this is not always a good thing. They can often be on such a charge that they spend time doing the wrong things. 

Red personality types love to look forward. They always want to be working on the next thing. But this means it can be hard to make them stop and look back and reflect on what they’ve learned from what’s happened in the past. 

And their relentless focus on hitting sales targets  can make them a challenge as a team members.

And in most businesses, managing an online store is not a one-man job. It’s a team effort when you have to pull in support from other functions, like marketing, finance and supply chain. And Reds are generally not good at getting other people on board. They often lack empathy for other’s situations. 

They have no qualms or sensitivity pointing out when others get things wrong. When activities don’t work. And, this is a big challenge in e-Commerce when actually, there will always be wins and losses. 

You have to test, learn and build your insight and understanding of your shoppers. This takes patience and attention to detail which Reds are sadly lacking in. Reds can often fail to see these as issues. (So, they see no evil).

Red personality types are best put to use as project leads on new areas of functionality. If you want to extend your portfolio, add new services, change your delivery options, the drive and determination to get things done is where Red personality types can and will add the most value to your e-Commerce operation. That’s where they really add value to your e-Commerce style. 

Just don’t ask them to organise the team drinks to celebrate. Or to do your data analysis. 

e-Commerce Cool Blue Monkey

Of the three personality types which relate to one of the Three Monkeys, let’s finish with the Cool Blue / Speak No Evil type.  

Finally, this is someone who can do your data analysis. And in e-Commerce, there’s a ton of data analysis that can be done. And the order to delivery systems and processes to set up and manage. There are some areas of e-Commerce that are the dream job for these Cool Blue Introvert Thinker types. 

Think of the number of different products in any online store. Each of those products needs it’s own product page and it’s own level of detail.

When you need attention to detail

This detail includes a unique identifier, a strong product description that drives sales and search ranking and having the right level of product information – ingredients, sizes, specifications, warnings, warranties. Cool Blue’s love of detail, structure and process works well to pull all this sort of information together. 

Don’t even get us started on completing product details for the likes of Google Merchandise Centre or to list on Amazon. 

Cool Blues like to look at the need for IT systems and marketing technology for your e-Commerce store. How do payments connect to your bank account, for example? What about inventory systems, how will that work? What systems do you need to put in place to track orders and deliveries for the customers? All the sorts of questions that the Cool Blue e-Commerce style thrives on. 

But where Cool Blue’s really struggle …

Cool Blue personality types lean toward the introverted thinker side of the insight profile. And that introversion and focus on the task and not people can hold back their ability to lead e-Commerce stores.

Because what ultimately drives the success of an e-Commerce store is when you can create desire for the product and service in your online store. And that means understanding motivations and behaviours of your target audience. This can be a stretch for the Cool Blue. 

E-Commerce stores do need to be well set-up to deliver solid processes and consistent experiences. But ultimately, this is a hygiene factor in the channel. Other businesses can replicate it.

So, you do need to find that extra creativity, that extra inspiration that will make your e-Commerce store stand out. And Blues can spend so long thinking about these concepts, they miss opportunities and come late with ideas. (They speak no evil …)

So, while you can rely on Blues to do all your data analysis, creativity and inspiration are not areas where Cool Blues stand out. 

And Earth Green personality styles? 

You might think we’ve left the final personality style to the end, because they are the best for e-Commerce. 

Well, yes, and no. 

What Earth Green types are good at is being empathetic for the feelings of others. And so, this earth green behaviour can be put to good use when you need to build an e-Commerce team. They are the e-Commerce style most likely to recognise the value of all the other e-Commerce styles. 

Most e-Commerce guides focus on the process of selling. But if you are leading an e-Commerce operation, it’s also important to think about the people behind it.

What different e-Commerce styles do you have in your team?

And, how can you best apply them all to your advantage? 

Fragile delivery

Use ALL the e-Commerce styles to your advantage. 

There’s no one single personality type and e-Commerce style that’s guaranteed to grow your business. 

In fact, to succeed, you really need to pull on ALL the different e-Commerce styles. 

Finding the right blend of e-Commerce styles can make the difference between perfect delivery of your e-Commerce plan, or a much more broken one.  

Use Sunshine Yellows to create inspiration and excitement. Fiery Reds will help drive you forward and get things done. And Cool Blue personality types will make sure all the detailed stuff is done right. And finally, Earth Greens will really help to make sure the other e-Commerce styles work in harmony. 

Check out our guides to the functions of e-Commerce and managing an online store for more on this topic. Or contact us directly, if you need more specific support putting together different e-Commerce styles for your team. 

Photo Credits

Three Monkeys : Photo by Joao Tzanno on Unsplash

Small fragile delivery box in hand : Photo by jesse ramirez on Unsplash

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