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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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Why read this? : There’s many different personality types in online selling. We use Insight profiles and the Three Monkeys to help you work out your e-Commerce style. Learn the pros and cons of Sunshine Yellows, Fiery Reds, Cool Blues and Earth Greens in e-Commerce. Read this to learn about different e-Commerce personality types. 

Some months back, we wrote about what we called the Three Monkeys of Marketing.

We shared how it’s common to use personality profiles like Myers Briggs Type IndicatorLifestyles Inventory (LSI) or Insight Discovery in businesses. And then how you can use these to identify different marketing styles and ways of working.

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

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

But these insight colour / monkey types don’t only exist in marketing. You also find them in e-Commerce. So this week, we look at how different insight personality types affect your e-Commerce style.

Let’s start with the ones who demand the most attention. 

Sunshine Yellow Monkey e-Commerce style 

The first e-Commerce style to to look out for is the Sunshine Yellow / Hear No Evil monkey type. 

You can’t miss them. They’re loud, sociable and full of energy and enthusiasm. 

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

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

Young boy in a yellow jersey showing loudly into a microphone

Most people like the idea of e-Commerce when they’re the shopper. But, if you’re the seller, and planning to sell online, you soon find you run into barriers. People don’t like all the issues and disruption. 

In particular, people who’s role is to working in traditional retail channels can feel threatened by e-Commerce. It makes them feel defensive. 

Inspire those who feel threatened and defensive

For example, take the National Sales Manager who sees e-Commerce as very small in terms of sales. But as online sales grow, they don’t know how to handle the changing needs of the retailer. 

Or the Head of Supply Chain who focuses on improving 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 much higher return rates. 

Close up of a hand with thumb up

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

No, e-Commerce isn’t always an easy sell. But the natural influencing and inspiring energy of Yellow personality types can help others think more positively about it as a channel. There’s a real benefit to your e-Commerce style from all that energy and enthusiasm. 

Where Sunshine Yellows struggle

As we’ll show with our other e-Commerce styles, many detailed tasks sit behind e-Commerce. In particular the order to delivery process requires high attention to detail. Dealing with delivery costs. Managing customer service. It needs repetition and consistency. 

Yellow personality types HATE this.

It’s like sticking a pin in their excitement. They get bored and struggle to listen to these types of conversations. (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. They’re great at finding ways to generate creative thinking ideas. Use them as sounding boards when sales plateau. When you need to find new ideas to drive growth.

Yellow types are good at keeping an eye on what’s happening in the wider world of e-Commerce. They happily share examples of great advertising. Or customer service best practice examples they see other e-Commerce businesses doing.  

Just don’t ask them to fill in the details in your product information management system. Or to analyse your data and set up your dashboard. That’s just not their e-Commerce style at all. 

Fiery Red Monkey e-Commerce style

Sunshine Yellow types love the IDEA of e-Commerce, but for Fiery Red / See No Evil types, it’s all about the ACTION. That’s their preferred e-Commerce style. Particularly when you set up own your own store.

The idea of having total control over the channel appeals to them greatly. Plus, being able 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 per our set up your own online store guide, you’re never short of things to do. 

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

They’ll be keen to track the sales in a dashboard because they want to show their progress. Reds are competitive. They want to control the sales channel so they can show how fast they’re able to grow it. 

Where Fiery Reds struggle

While you can rely on Fiery Red’s to get stuff done, this isn’t always a good thing. They’re often on such a charge, they end up doing the wrong things.

And if things don’t go their way, or they feel others have let them down, they can become frustrated and volatile. 

When a fiery red’s about to blow up, take cover. 

Red personality types also love to look forward. They always want to be working on the next thing.

Man in a red T-shirt looking frustrated and angry

But this means it can be hard to make them stop and reflect. To learn from what’s happened in the past. 

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

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

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, because something always eventually goes wrong. 

You have to test, learn and build your online shopper insights. This takes patience and attention to detail which Reds sadly lack. Reds often fail to see these as issues. (So, they see no evil).

Red personality types are best used as project leads on new areas of functionality. Use them if you want to extend your portfolio, add new services or change your delivery options, for example. Their drive and determination to get things done helps you do these things. It’s where Fiery Red e-Commerce style adds the most value to your e-Commerce operation. They get things done.  

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

Cool Blue Monkey e-Commerce style

Our final Three Monkeys personality type is the Cool Blue / Speak No Evil type.  

At last, this is someone who can do your data analysis. And in e-Commerce, there’s a ton of data analysis to be done.

Plus, they’ll happily run all the website tests you need. And set up and manage all the details which support your order to delivery systems.

And as for all the detail you need to set up product pages properly, they LOVE doing that. 

man in a blue T-shirt looking at the ceiling

When you need attention to detail

This detail includes a unique identifier, a strong product description which drives sales and search ranking and having the right level of product information. For example, ingredients, sizes, specifications, warnings and warranties. Cool Blue’s love of detail, structure and process thrives on pulling all this 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. They’re good at solving common marketing technology challenges

How do payments connect to your bank account, for example? What about inventory systems, how will that work? What systems do you need to track orders and deliveries? All the sorts of questions the Cool Blue e-Commerce style thrives on. 

Where Cool Blues struggle

Cool Blue personality types lean toward the introverted thinker side of the insight profile. That introversion and focus on the task (and not people) impacts their ability to lead e-Commerce stores.

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

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

You need to find that extra creativity, that extra inspiration to 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, you can rely on Blues to do your data analysis, but creativity and inspiration aren’t areas where Cool Blues stand out.

And Earth Green e-Commerce styles?

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

Well, yes, and no. 

What Earth Green types are good at is being empathetic to 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. It’s 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 lead 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 bring them together to get the best out of all of them?

Conclusion - Pros and cons in every e-Commerce style

There’s no single personality type and e-Commerce style which works for every situation. 

In fact, to succeed, you need to apply ALL the different e-Commerce styles.

Combing the strengths of each helps you build a great e-Commerce culture

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.  

Hand holding a small wrapper package marked fragile

Use Sunshine Yellows to create inspiration and excitement. They’re great at coming up with ideas. 

Fiery Reds help you make progress and get things done. If you’ve got no momentum and actions don’t happen, you won’t get anywhere. 

Cool Blue make sure all the detailed stuff is done right. That’s important to keep customers happy in e-Commerce. You want happy customers. 

And finally, Earth Greens help make sure the other e-Commerce styles work well together. You need your e-Commerce team to work in harmony to succeed.  

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

Boy Shouting (adapted) : Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Thumbs up (adapted) : Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Frustrated Man (adapted) : Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

Man looking at ceiling (adapted) : Photo by Anton Danilov on Unsplash

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

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