Understanding the Psych of the Online Shopper

Understanding the Psych of the Online Shopper

The future of retail seems to be moving in one direction – online. Whether it be your networking, banking, shopping or even entertainment, everything seems to be crawling into your smartphone. And it’s only going to happen more.

So, marketers and entrepreneurs alike need to start thinking more about how they can appeal to the new generation of online customers. However before that, they must first understand what makes them tick.

Understanding the psychology of the online shopper means knowing exactly how to cater for their needs, deliver value and create loyalty. How can this be achieved? How about we look at a model that’s stood the test of time, and is still relevant to this day – the traditional, brick and mortar store.

As it turns out, a lot of what is deemed as ‘lacking’ in online stores is what the good ol’ ‘shops down the road’ are treasured for expertisepersonalisation, and ambience. In other words, the emotional, personal and humanly experience is what makes a traditional retailer so great.


Thus, the questions are raised:

  1. How can you make an E-Commerce have expertise, personalisation and most unusually, ambience?
  2. And, more broadly, what do online shoppers really want?

Here are two simple things to consider when looking to give your online retail a competitive edge:


1) Clarity of Message

Customers get distracted easily, and it’s easy to see why when you think about it. By accessing websites on computers, phones or tablets, shoppers only have one dimension to be engaged by – the visual sense. This means that if your site doesn’t look up to their standards or grab their attention, that is a lost customer waiting to happen.


How Can I Improve This?

A lot of great visual engagement begins with one thing – design. Without a well-crafted design, you will not engage the audience. The best designs to aim for are simple, ‘flat’ designs, with little text, not too many colours and non-cluttered. Think, for example, of how Google recently revamped their logo from 3D and clunky, to a simpler 2D format.

Though it may be a little pricey, it is well worth hiring a graphic designer to revitalise your online presence – well worth the small fee in the scheme of things. However, there are plenty of free alternatives such as BeFunky, Canva and Pixlr. Just be warned – the DIY approach is riskier, but if you can pull it off that’s a whole ‘lotta savings.


2) Interaction and Emotion

Another problem a lot of E-Commerce retailers have is that they are completely robotic. They lack the personal and humanly touch that many shoppers need to become comfortable and loyal to a brand. Of late, appealing to a customer’s emotional side is gaining more focus from retailers, because consumers are looking for more than just a product – they are looking for service, value and an experience.


How Can I Improve This?

There are many ways big and small that you can integrate customer interaction throughout your e-commerce website. It can be as simple as having little pop-up comments when a customer fills out a form like “Hey there!” and  “Nice name man!” – its simple yet gives shoppers a kick and a feel-good experience with your brand.

On the other hand, you can go for a much more innovative, grand ideas such as games, or interactive displays, videos and buttons. An engaging example of such a concept is The Guardian’s “Seven Digital Deadly Sins” interactive video series (http://digital-deadly-sins.theguardian.com/#/Grid). This innovative use of video actually won a ‘Webby’ award for best interactive video – pretty neat huh?

So there you have it, the two steps to conquering the online shopper! Well, not really. There are a whole lot more factors when it comes to running a business – not all of which you can do by yourself. But it’s a good start hey?

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