From electronics to clothes to food and beverages, online shopping meets all our consumerist needs. eCommerce is the new normal no matter what product we will be buying, making it an ever-growing market for all kinds of products and services.
And with the rise of social commerce, these numbers have only gone up. Last year, social commerce generated $53.1 billion in revenue, in use alone.
This means, most of our shopping journeys start from social media. But does this say we all shop the same way on social media? Definitely not.
Different factors come into play in influencing a consumer's decision-making process and this varies with each individual customer.
And that’s why brands are losing $5.11 for every consumer that comes from social media platforms but bounces from their website.
In this post, we aim to help you get into the minds of your consumers (Not literally of course!) and understand the psychology of an average online shopper!
What is a Psychological Trigger in eCommerce?
In consumer psychology, the term "psychological trigger" can refer to anything that influences the purchasing decision by a trigger, causing the brain to release adrenaline and elicit an emotional response.
Triggers can be understood as sort of shortcuts in the brain that occur outside the bounds of your conscious mind, making it more instinctive, objective and behavioral. It is closer to what we call intuition but the response from a psychological trigger does not arise from emotions.
In eCommerce marketing, knowing about and utilizing these psychological triggers plays a central role as it greatly influences the effectiveness of any strategy.
For perspective look at a few examples from the customer’s journey through the eCommerce conversion funnel. Note how different tactics and triggers are employed for customers that are at different stages.
Bottom of the Funnel
- Strong and bold visuals
- Influencer marketing strategies
- Freebies and incentives to attract leads
Middle of the Funnel
- Displaying special media features in the home page
- Statistics displayed to convey credibility
- Call To Action buttons for urgency
Top of the Funnel
- Displaying customer reviews on product pages
- Trust badges on checkout pages to build trust and credibility
- Triggering purchases with “low stock” or “selling out fast” notifications
- Employing a decoy effect pricing strategy
What are the Different Types of Online Shoppers and What Drives Them?
There are around six different types of online shoppers each of them being driven by different psychologies and each having different shopping habits and behavior. Note that some shoppers can belong to more than one category simultaneously as each individual will have complex psychologies.
1. The Researcher
81% of buyers are researchers. They conduct thorough research online before deciding to make any purchase. These types of customers are more careful and before they double down on any purchase they have to feel absolutely sure about the product or service that they are about to pay for.
Online shopping is especially great for them as they can compare and contrast between products and offers over multiple retailers and ensure they are getting the finest deals there are. Hardcore researchers are less likely to make impulse buys. When dealing with researchers, providing testimonials and reviews is a great tactic. These customers need certainty about the benefits of a deal and if you can provide you are good enough.
2. The Bargain Shopper
Bargain shoppers think twice about products mainly due to the pricing. They are conscious of the pricing and will only go for a product when they get the sweetest and cheapest of prices. The swarm of customers that wait for Christmas holidays or Black Fridays for the best deals belong to this category. Almost 80% of online shoppers are typically bargain shoppers.
Bargain shoppers wait for the best pricing and make a move when they feel like they are getting the most ideal prices.
For such customers, online shopping offers varied options across websites, with offers and discounts to get prices down to their liking.
3. The Impulse Buyer
Unlike the researchers, impulse buyers buy more out of emotional bursts rather than research and learn about options. This type of shoppers are very common and most buyers at one point or the other have bought products online out of impulse.
For impulse buyers, the tenet of “Think before you buy” does not apply, and they look for products that align with their emotional cravings while shopping. As online shopping is fast, convenient and simple, it is a perfect platform for such customers.
4. Goal-Oriented Buyer
The “Man on a Mission” or the goal-oriented shopper already has something very specific in his/her mind when they visit an online store. They are looking for a product to fulfil a specific requirement and want to be able to find exactly what they are searching for.
This particular type of online shoppers prefers a convenient, streamlined and hassle-free browsing and checkout experience that lets them purchase the product in their mind without any obstacles. For such customers, online stores should provide a simple and seamless purchase experience; from searching to checkout.
5. The Negotiator
Negotiators, similar to bargain shoppers, look for the best deals possible, but through negotiation. Their psychology requires them to feel like winning with every purchase they make. Hence they try to get the business to lower prices to fetch the best prices.
One tactic that negotiators use is to fill in all the details, add products to the cart and abandon the cart so that they will eventually receive a coupon or a discount urging them to complete the purchase. This way negotiators cleverly arrive at better and more satisfactory prices that they would want.
6. The Loyal Customer
Online shoppers that join loyalty programs and prefer sticking to a particular brand belong to the category of shoppers who can be called loyalists. They always like purchasing from stores that they are familiar with. Hence once they choose a brand after finding them reliable and trustworthy, they will definitely stick to it.
It is necessary for eCommerce businesses to understand them in order to better cater to their needs and ensure that they remain loyal. Online shopping sites always tailor loyalty programs and benefits for long-term customers so that their brand loyalty is nurtured, maintained and rewarded well.
Some Psychological Triggers That Brands Should Care About
Psychological triggers in eCommerce are an influencing factor in most decision-making scenarios of a customer. By taking into account each type of customers and their particular psychology and then rightly understanding these triggers, can help you convert and nudge any online shopper into action.
Here are five of the most common psychological triggers in eCommerce:
Fear of missing out or FOMO is one of the most impactful and most common triggers in eCommerce. And it is so popular for a reason. The prospect of missing out on something positive, naturally makes human beings take action to avoid feeling bad about missing out.
The feeling of FOMO makes “action” a necessity. For example, when there is a product or service out there that is getting sold faster, a good prompt can make customers think they should get it before they miss out and lose it to some other “early bird”.
Businesses can utilize FOMO by limiting the stock of a particularly popular product, displaying countdowns on offers, providing offers with time-frames and showing buyers how popular products are getting sold out.
2. Decision Paralysis
Decision paralysis is when a customer is presented with too many choices making them unable to reach a decision. When humans are faced with too many choices they easily get confused and choose not to act.
If your eCommerce store has various selections of products, you might face this issue. In such scenarios, customers will be confused about what to go with. If your pages have too many CTAs also decision paralysis can occur easily.
The best solution for this is to lead customers out of their paralysis by highlighting one choice over the others by offering a universal CTA or featuring one particular product over other options.
3. Social Proof
People tend to trust people and the idea of social proof works based on this simple yet important consumer psychology. Hence for good eCommerce results, it is essential that you highlight reviews testimonials and ratings from your customers. This makes trusting you easier for new customers.
Social proof in the form of referrals and celebrity endorsements is usually more impactful in convincing customers.
Price framing is a psychological trigger that can if used effectively, influence customers into purchases. The idea behind this is fairly simple- to understand the value of something, it should be placed along and contrasted with something else.
Customers will want to compare prices with your competitors and this will spell bad for you. Before this happens, you can break down your pricing into tiers like “Basic”, “Plus” and “Pro”. Your basic package itself can offer more value and the other packages won’t really have any significantly huge additions. This gives the customer the illusion that your standard package itself is a great deal, making it more likely for them to buy.
5. Status Quo Bias
This is basically the tendency of people to stick to familiar things. Some people stick to particular brands just like how some of us go for haircuts from the same salon. Human psychology often leans towards comfort.
In eCommerce, you need to keep the status quo bias in mind in two scenarios mostly. You have to ensure that applying any changes to the structure of your store doesn’t affect the customers who are familiar and comfortable with you. Secondly, when pulling a new customer away from a competitor, ensure that they move past the bias and find the change seamless and smooth.
What Drives These Psychological Triggers?
Different things have impacted consumer psychology over the years and these changes will keep on happening as technology and eCommerce evolve. Let's see some ways consumer psychology is driven in the present day.
- Young customers, namely the millennial and Gen Z population grew up in the digital era and for them, eCommerce is a major part of their shopping experience. So, they are more inclined to research online and hence are a more informed group.
- Smartphones and their inception have changed commerce forever as shopping has been simplified into the palm of a customer. Quick and easy shopping has greatly influenced how consumer psychology works.
- Store boredom is a major reason why customers are moving towards online shopping as it is easier as well as interesting. Positive purchase experiences make it more intriguing for shoppers to stick to eCommerce options.
- Newer options with more eCommerce stores opening rapidly are providing more freedom for customers, greatly influencing how they think about online shopping today.
Consumer psychology and psychological triggers are also greatly influenced by demographic and social factors, shopping experiences, facilitating conditions, situational factors etc. A proper grasp over the intricacies of customer psychology is the only way to go for greater results in your eCommerce ventures.
To Sum Up...
Great sales strategies have always been grounded in psychology from the earliest days of human commerce. Compelling and smart psychology has always been the key to selling better.
But today the retail market is changing. eCommerce has had a major impact on the way customers approach businesses and make purchases as everything is available and accessible from their smartphones.
Businesses no longer need to convince customers to buy like before, as a simple website visit itself conveys active interest. But how you captivate, hold on to and nurture this interest can make or break a sale for your business.
This is where most businesses using social media to drive traffic to their eCommerce website, tend to lose. The inability to capture multiple consumer interests and intent often leads to high drop-offs during the customer journey. And that’s where technology like AI in social commerce comes into play.
Is there a way to blend the psychological triggers stemming from social media and commerce experience?
With Edge Storefronts, this is possible.