Emotional Ecommerce: The Buyer Psychology Behind Shopify Growth
You’re unique, just like everyone else. The same applies to your business. There’s something that makes your product, its services and the business that encapsulates it all different to all the others. But every other business is like that, too.
In such a competitive ecosystem, it’s vital to engage and intrigue your customers and hold their attention for as long as possible. The way that you do this is just one element that can make your brand unique again.
But unlike a cute logo or witty catchphrase, holding your customers’ attention and influencing it can result in money in the bank.
Influencing your customer’s purchasing decisions can be done with graphic design, copy, saying thanks, imagery, and even your product packaging.
In this article, you’ll see:
- Influencing consumers purchasing decisions
- Design mediums to do so
- The overall benefits to your brand.
What does ‘at an emotional level’ actually mean?
Influencing a person at an emotional level doesn’t mean that you make them cry.
It might, as you can see in the example below, but not always.
Influencing a buyer at an emotional level means making them feel something in order to execute an action. Generally, that’s buying a product.
There are many emotions that marketers leverage to position their product and draw your attention to it:
- Fear of the unknown
- The sense of humanity – having something that others don’t
- Doubt in changing the norm
- Indulging in something opulent or elegant
- Pride of where one comes from, who they really are
- The sense of family, community and belonging
- A better, healthier, more satisfying life
It’s not hard to think of an example for at least one of the above dot points.
Here’s an example from Always that leverages the powerful emotion of anger in the form of young girls not being given the same opportunities as boys.
Ask yourself: What are the benefits of leveraging such emotions?
Why it’s beneficial to your brand.
It’s important to remember that we’re talking about two separate things here:
- Emotion in marketing
- Emotion in design
But you can’t have one without the other. Creating marketing content that evokes emotions gets your audience’s attention and shows off the values that your business stands for.
But it’s the emotion in your design that takes those values and replicates them offline – more often than not, close to your product.
The value of using emotions on both these levels is not only a consistent marketing experience, but those values are pushed into your product, not just your marketing material.
Here’s how to replicate emotions in different design mediums:
The best products are ones that solve problems.
It might be as simple a table to eat a meal on, or it might be as complex as a device that enables a user to communicate to someone on the other side of the planet.
User-centred design, as it’s commonly known as, is a great way to play to a customer’s emotions.
For example, a family-sized tent means that you can enjoy a holiday in nature with your family. We see that the sense of family, community and belonging is being tapped.
What other emotions can a company with such products evoke with product design?
Let’s look at a lightweight tent that’s easy to carry.
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This can be used by travellers who want to travel further distances into the wilderness and explore more.
Immediately, we’re evoking a sense of adventure and exploration. This is user-centred product design with the potential to affect a purchase through the use of emotion.
Graphic design can help take your business’s values to the customer without using words at all.
Take a look at the tea packaging below and ask yourself what values you associate with the product?
The use of black and gold create a sense of elegance and luxury. This product delivers a pleasing experience – it’s something that users indulge in rather than use every day.
What about the following image?
The use of curved lines creates a natural feel, bringing up feelings of nature and earth. This design is fantastic for organic foods and brands with eco-friendly products.
Designs with intricate details and minimal colour create the image of a brand that’s been around for years.
If this brand has been around for years, it’s trustworthy, so I can trust it.
It’s easy to see how visual design in the form of logos, branding and other assets can complement other attempts to evoke emotion at the point of purchase.
81% of people perform basic research before buying something online.
If they land on your website to do research about a product you’re selling, you better believe that your website is going to have an effect on their purchasing decision.
For customers that are new to your site, it’s essential to invoke a sense of trust.
Do this with:
- A professional looking logo and brand book
- Easy to use website navigate
- Clear, concise and well-written copy
- Social proof in the form of social media links and contact pages
As mentioned earlier, your business is unique. And it’s your website’s design that can showcase how it’s unique.
By showing how your product and brand is unique, you’ll create a brand that people want to buy into and be a part of.
Alphalete is a fine example of that.
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The brand is based on activewear and casual wear for gym-goers. The apparel is designed by gym-junkies to emphasize their shape, whether it’s in the gym or kicking back on the couch.
It’s this unique edge that complements other tactics used to influence a buyer’s decision.
Product page design
If you’re in the world of ecommerce, it’s essential to pay attention to the layout of your product page. While product pages don’t evoke emotion in the way product design or graphic design does, they can be used to present emotional content at the point of making a purchasing decision.
Are your customers price sensitive? Putting a ‘10% off’ symbol next to the price can play to their sense of affordability.
Marketers can also leverage FOMO (Fear of missing out) by putting a countdown timer or ‘last units’ next to the ‘add to cart’ button on a product page.
Product pages with a solid colour as their background may find that it creates a consistently branded experience. Still, anything other than a stark white background has an effect on purchasing decisions.
In other words, there’s a reason that all products being sold on Amazon are photographed on a stark white background – there are minimal distractions.
Minimal text, no clutter, clear, high-resolution images – your products are showcased as what they are.
As a result, your brand is transparent and trustworthy. Your customer knows precisely what they’re buying.
Content that shows off where your products come from, how they’re disposed of, and precisely where the customers’ money goes is excellent at building transparency and the emotions it invokes.
Product packaging design
For retailers, it’s product packaging that plays a gigantic role in influencing purchase decisions.
That’s because it’s a medium that encapsulates your logo, typography, and branding and more than likely has its own shape and design altogether. The material of your packaging even plays a role in building a rapport with your customers. Many brands implement eco-friendly packaging as a way to resonate with the values of buyers.
British Telco company, Raylo, designed their packaging from the ground up. The benefit was two-fold – not only did it create an entirely unique packaging experience, but it minimised the amount and number of packaging materials needed.
Rather than implementing cutting edge (and often costly) packaging materials, using the minimal amount of packaging possible allowed the brand to appeal to the sustainability senses of their audience.
For some retailers, the product packaging is the only thing that’s seen and therefore takes on the role of a marketing channel and product packaging.
Your packaging has to tick many boxes (no pun intended). But in ticking those boxes, it should also convince a shopper that your product is the right one for them.
Product packaging has the real estate to explain why your ingredients are the best or why your product does the same job for half the price.
Simply put, in a retail space, it’s the role of your product packaging to use design, copy, and imagery to appeal to a customer’s emotions, right at the point of purchase intent.
Over to you
Starting and launching a brand is nothing to be sneezed at. But it pales in comparison when looking at what’s needed to set your brand apart from the crowd.
Take away this from the above:
- Being unique is the first step in engaging emotion
- Reflect that uniqueness in your product, communications and branding
- Find the right emotions that are connected with your uniqueness
- Get creative in promoting that emotion, and directing it to a purchase
Businesses can leverage emotion through branding, design and marketing channels to garner more sales. But it’s more than that – it’s about evoking the right emotion at the right time to get eyes on your product and your business.
The benefit of using emotion isn’t just more sales here and now, but more brand notoriety – such a concept can help keep your brand name at the forefront of a buyers’ mind in the future.
Phil Forbes is a bearded Australian living and working in Poland. When he’s not taking Packhelp’s fancy boxes to the world, he can be found trying not to kill his plants, pretending to be a stormtrooper, or hanging out with his dog.