The Mindsets Series: Introduction to mindsets

When interacting with other people, we automatically make inferences about them without even being consciously aware of it. We cannot help but ponder what they are thinking about, what their facial expressions mean, what their intentions are, and so on. These nonverbal signals are the heart and soul of the interaction and enable us to infer the other person’s intentions.

A good salesperson makes those inferences for a living, gathering every little detail about the customer’s nonverbal communication – processing wordless signals like facial expressions, gestures and body language, such as the speed they are walking or the way the touch the product.

As the buying process moves online, salespeople are getting less face time with clients, and thus lack insight into which of their prospects are showing the strongest buying signals.

We are obsessed with conversion - and we needn’t be.

We have written previously about the industry’s obsession with conversion, and how we should be focusing on the 97% of users who don’t convert. To do this, we have developed a model to analyze the mindset the customer was in when using a brand’s digital properties – and it can differ from customer to customer. But crucially, we can correlate the mindsets of multiple users and relate that to the purpose of the page – this is the opportunity to improve business outcomes.

The identification of the mindset, followed by a deep dive into the digital body language of these users, will surface the opportunity for improvement. For example, a trend displaying a disoriented mindset (defined below) on a category or products page would indicate issues with the UX. Why are these users getting lost?

A psychological perspective

From our own research in the field of web psychology, we have developed tried and tested algorithms that helps us identify and aggregate the mindsets of users at scale, we categorize them as follows (click on the links to find a detailed explanation of each mindset): 

  • Lack of interest: These visitors have a lack of motivation to keep exploring the page or content.
  • Disoriented: These visitors have become confused and lose their sense of direction on the page.
  • Exploring: These visitors zero in and narrow down their options by investigating the different choices the page has to offer.
  • Mindful: These visitors take time to make decisions, invest cognitive resources, pay attention to details, and are deeply engaged.
  • Focused: These are mature visitors who have been to the website before and have pre-filled form details. They’re ready to buy.

Customers’ mindsets affect the way they interact with a website, how they make purchase decisions, and how they react to advertising messages. For example, focused customers are triggered by decisive thought processes (as when I navigated quickly through the site looking for my watch), and are more likely to purchase. Interrupting their focused mindset with advertising messages will only serve to frustrate them, and result in a poor experience.

Exploring customers, however, employ a more deliberative thought process, moving from page to page, scrolling slowly on some pages and quickly on others, as if looking at different options for the same product. Did that exploration result in a conversion as they moved through the path? This is where we would look at path analytics to join those dots. 

Determining mindset allows experience owners and other website stakeholders to interpret digital body language and create relevant KPIs – then they benchmark actual business outcomes against them.

In a physical store, someone who walks in in a hurry, grabs what they need and heads to the cashier definitely won’t want to be bothered with offers. A good salesperson can see this decisive behavior and will, by instinct, leave them alone. 

This approach can be applied in the digital world.

Throughout this blog series, I will go into more depth on each of the five mindsets of a digital customer. I want to show you that by tapping into online behavior and interpreting what our customers are saying and inferring, we can drive real business outcomes that positively affect their experiences and your bottom line.

More on mindsets

To explore the mindsets that customers can have on your digital properties, click on the images below:

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