Imagine you come across a soft blanket or a cosy sweater in a shop. Even if you weren't interested in them initially, as soon as you touch them and feel how soft and comfortable they are, you might be tempted to experience that feeling again and think about owning them.
That's why IKEA displays their products openly, encouraging customers to touch, feel, and interact with them. When you touch something that feels nice, it can make you feel like it's yours. This feeling of ownership can make it hard to let go because you don't want to lose that connection.
The car industry has been using this idea for a long time by encouraging buyers to take test drives. Once you sit behind the wheel, feel the grip, smell the interior, and hear the engine, the car stops feeling like just another product in a showroom and starts feeling like your personal possession. The longer you spend with it, the harder it becomes to let it go.
Now, the question is: Can we recreate this tactile connection in online interactions?
Is it possible to send potential buyers a sample of the seat fabric or a small piece of the steering wheel material? What if we offered a keepsake after a test drive, extending the sensory experience and making them feel like they own a piece of the car?
But let's broaden our view. Can we trigger the fear of losing out without physical contact? Can we do it through other means? Videos that show products in action with powerful sound effects have been around for a while. But can we use descriptive language to create the same effect?
A car's interior provides many opportunities to use descriptive language that brings out the sense of touch. Instead of simply saying, "Material: Leather," imagine describing the seats as "luxurious, smooth, creamy, buttery-soft chocolate brown leather." Could the microfibre seats become "soft velvet, as cosy and inviting as a warm hug on a cold day"? How about portraying the steering wheel as "an exquisitely crafted wheel made of polished mahogany, as smooth and solid as a river stone"? These descriptions add layers of texture and sensation, allowing readers to feel like they are physically experiencing the car.
You could also describe the tactile experience of operating the car. For example, a gear shift could be described as "a cool, satin chrome knob that fits perfectly in your hand, moving with satisfying precision as you shift gears." The pedals could be "firm and responsive, eagerly responding to your foot's pressure like a racehorse at the starting line." Other elements, like the dashboard controls, could be described as "smooth, cool buttons and dials that give satisfying tactile feedback with every push and turn." The car's sound system could be "a sleek, touch-sensitive panel that lights up with a gentle touch, instantly responding to your preferred settings."
We could even apply this approach to the car's exterior. Instead of simply saying "red paint," you could describe it as a "vibrant cherry red colour that shines in the sunlight, as smooth and glossy as a piece of candy." This description stimulates the visual aspect and tempts readers to imagine running their fingers over such a lustrous surface.
These evocative descriptions can create a vivid mental picture of the car, appealing to the senses and sparking the imagination and emotions similar to physical contact. If it creates a sense of ownership, it also triggers the fear of losing out!
If you give it a try, I'd love to hear about the results!