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Emotional Experience in Online Shopping: How Emotional Experience Factors into Your Online Shopping

"Best-in-class brands average 17 emotionally positive experiences for every negative experience, while the lowest-performing brands provided only two emotionally positive experiences for each negative one. Emotion is critical to a brand’s bottom line."

- Forrester Research

Money is often associated with rational thought and experience. We’ve liked to imagine that the buying experience was somehow based on an analytical process and careful consideration before the buyer moved forward with the purchase. While some buyers do take time to consider the product and services before they buy, it’s not always linked with a rational process.

It might seem counterintuitive that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for great customer service, but it’s true. They want to feel like they are being taken care of; and, 49% of customers make impulse purchases after personalized services. They want to feel that the seller is not just after profits but is invested in the buyer's satisfaction levels. How buyers feel about what they are buying and who they are buying from is important because emotion does come into play for every online shopping experience.

Customers Make Emotional Connections with Brands

Stop and think for a moment about the brands you buy most frequently.

Consider the feel-good visualizations that come to mind when you think of those brands. You may not even realize that you’ve developed emotional attachments to your favorite brands. It becomes a subtle relationship that may not even be verbalized or fully understood unless you’re an influencer who raves about the brands you know and love the most.

According to a Harvard Business Review article, "The New Science of Customer Emotions" when a brand can achieve a full emotional connection to a customer the average value of that customer goes up by 52%. This often translates to an overall increase in margins, revenue and customer lifetime value.

How to Create an Optimal Online Emotionally Connected Experience

Your customers want to feel good about their buying decisions. They don’t want to experience uncertainty, buyer’s remorse, or guilt. And you create the possibility of an emotionally satisfying experience with every aspect of your buying process. Here are some of the most common ways to create an online experience that is emotionally satisfying.

Use Compelling Imagery and Videos to Promote Your Products and Services

Videos and graphics will speak volumes to your customers. It’s not just about getting the colors or the messaging right for your campaigns. You must focus on how the people in the photos evoke a sense of excitement and happiness. Your audience needs to know that they will be rewarded for picking your product or services. And your choice of compelling imagery and videos sets the stage for the promises that you’ll fulfill.

Use Storytelling to Capture Your Customers' Attention

Your imagery should capture their attention, but your story will draw them in and really sell your customers on the experience. Your goal is usually to fulfill some need or desire for your customers, even if they don’t yet realize that you have what they’ve always wanted. Your story offers a way to connect, as you weave that thread of common experience into your descriptive passages.

Use Authenticity to Build Trust

It’s not usually a bad thing to tell it like it is. In fact, it helps to build a relationship with your customers. You’re sharing how and why you respect and trust them. At the same time, you're letting them know why your solution is part of how you’re addressing your concern for their well-being. With your positive messaging, you focus on making an emotional connection with customers no matter where they are in their buying process.

Use Your Expertise to Become a Thought Leader

You’re already the expert in your field. You’ve developed a product or service that delivers exactly what your customers need the most. You can and will tell them that, but it’s often more effective to show them why and how you’re a leader. You’re building a reputation, a reason for your customers to trust you. You’re fostering that sincere and very emotional connection with what you represent as an inspiring thought leader.

Tools used to Measure Emotions

To optimize your customer experience, you need to understand the satisfaction levels of your customers. A slew of technologies are being introduced into the market to help with this and include customer satisfaction surveys and rating scales to measure output. Facial emotion can be tracked through facial coding technology, and used to understand the subconscious actions of online consumers, which determine majority of their buying decisions. Eye Tracking can ensure accuracy and scalability in the consumer research market. Eye movements are mapped via technology like eye gazing heat maps to identify customer preferences accordingly.

What’s Next: Develop Your Own Emotionally Connected Experience

In some ways, it might be easier if the whole marketing and sales process was analytical, cold, and dry. It might feel boring, but at least you’d have something tangible to hold on to and work toward. Emotional marketing is not always easy. It changes with moods and impressions, and it’s very possible to say the wrong thing to your customers.

But the emotional connections that you develop as part of your marketing effort are strong, resilient, and engaging. Each interaction and experience is part of an evolving and ongoing relationship. Since it's not always possible to close the deal (sell the product) the first time you interact with your customer or prospect, every emotional interaction you have is laying the groundwork and building trust, so they will continue to come back again.

You will develop a strong understanding of what your consumers want and need. You address their desires, tell them stories, and hear their passionate responses. You earn their trust and engage with them across platforms and via socially responsible marketing. You’re proving your worth as a company and demonstrating that you are committed to adding lifetime customer value to your goals while fostering long-term customer relationships.

It may not be quick or even easy, but it’s worth it.

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