Ethical trading initiative aims to tackle pressure techniques in online retail

sigma ux ethical

A new initiative has launched to establish digital and technical foundations for businesses to drive ethical customer experiences in their online commerce operations.

A partnership between digital design agency, Sigma, and two e-commerce companies – Storm and InRiver – is aiming to offer retailers an e-commerce capability, while fostering a greater degree of responsibility, transparency and inclusivity in online customer experience. 

Sigma will offer an end-to-end solution, from user research, design and accessibility to solution implementation, content strategy and information architecture.

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Storm Commerce delivers an accessible user experience across multiple devices and channels, while inRiver specialises in how firms display and sell their products to drive engagement.

Hilary Stephenson, managing director at Sigma UK, said: “Our research has highlighted the emergence of brands using techniques – what we’ve sometimes referred to as dark UX patterns – to pressure people into making purchase decisions by taking advantage of our behavioural psychology. For example, displaying timers, using limited availability on offers, or suggesting scarcity in stock levels. 

“We take an inclusive approach to designing products and services so, through these new partnerships, we want to challenge less-scrupulous approaches and help clients build more engaging, trusted online shopping experiences for their customers. 

“This extends from the content they publish, to the reassurance they provide during the transaction and the transparency they offer in their product information, terms, delivery and aftersales processes.” 

Michael Hallberg, Storm CEO, added: “Our partnership with Sigma is a powerful example of how organisations can work together to amplify their impact. Storm Commerce supports Sigma’s mission to increase the awareness and appreciation of ethical commerce practices.

“It’s an important initiative to promote ethical UX techniques and practices that are inclusive and transparent, in order to deliver truly customer-centric solutions.”

Grant MacInness, UK partner manager at inRiver, said: “We are thrilled to join the commerce alliance with Storm and Sigma.

“As consumers become increasingly more omnichannel, a holistic and seamless approach to e-commerce is critical to drive excellent customer experiences.”

Tags : ethicalethical tradingOnline retailsigmauser experienceux
Joe Peskett

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