How leveraging customer emotions can improve your business results

Part 4 of a series of 4 posts on how understanding the on-site behavior of your customer – their attitudes, expectations, desires and needs - can help you improve their online shopping experience and the success of your digital business.

In our previous posts, we spoke about how building diverse purchase paths can increase conversions on your site. In this post, we have a look at the overall emotional processes that motivate customers to ultimately make that purchase and how to stimulate them.

Human behavior is not the product of a single process. It reflects the interaction of different specialized emotional and rational processes.

The emotional process is generally automatic and based on experience. It quickly proposes intuitive answers to problems. The rational process is slow, effortful, conscious and rule-based. It generates logical and rational responses.

Although we like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, absorbing information, weighing it carefully, and making thoughtful decisions, many of our crucial choices are made by hunches and gut feelings that are beyond consciousness. We like to refer to this feeling as intuition (“I have a very good feeling about this house"), but this “intuition” is, in fact, an established part of emotion-based learning.

Leveraging emotion to stimulate your customers to make a purchasing decision

Product information is considered a crucial factor in the purchasing experience. It’s assumed that exposure to reviews, product details and technical specs on e-commerce pages increases the likelihood of purchasing the product.

However, analyses of e-commerce websites that we conducted for our retail clients revealed surprising behavior: Visitors who were exposed to additional details about the product were less likely to purchase compared to visitors who were exposed only to the product image and general details.

We confirmed these findings with an A/B test, comparing an e-commerce product page containing detailed information with an identical version of the page where information was hidden behind tabs. When the information was hidden behind tabs, the percentage of visitors who added the product to their cart was significantly higher.

Ironically, customers are not aware of the effect that "too much information" has on their behavior. When asked, they repeatedly state that being provided with information about the product before purchasing plays a central role in their purchasing decisions.

Purchase decisions are not the result of careful evaluation of various alternatives through cost-benefit analysis. Rather, they are guided by reactions to the decision itself at the time of deliberation.

Keeping your customers emotional to get them to click “buy”

For most products, it’s preferable that visitors remain in emotional mode during the purchase process. To achieve this:

  • Avoid heavy technical-specification data that tends to encourage rational analysis of product vs. price.
  • Do away with comparison tables with advanced technical language that requires deep concentration and attention to detail.
  • Hide heavy product information and technical data behind tabs.

Site owners should strive to place or keep visitors in an emotional mode, to encourage impulse purchases and avoid over-examination of product or service details. The secret of the impulse buy is to trigger your visitors’ intuitive and emotional response, encouraging them to buy because of how it makes them feel, not for what it does or how well it stacks up.

To read more about this topic and to download all four white papers in this series, click here

Interested in how Clicktale can help you improve the customer experience on your website, mobile site and apps, for all buyer personalities? Request a meeting.


Talk to us to explore how customer experience analytics can improve your business