For many companies, consumer behavior (why shoppers buy, or don’t buy, specific products) is a guessing game. As a matter of fact, consumer preferences are hard to predict – and that’s because people’s shopping behavior is highly irrational. Even if you products are better and cheaper than the competition, people might still buy a different item – possibly a worse one - just because their friends have it.
How can you reach your target consumers?
Psychology can help us make sense of consumer behavior. Consumer psychology studies how and why people buy specific goods and services, trying to create rules explaining how consumer behavior works. We can use this knowledge to create more effective and memorable marketing messages.
Say the important stuff first - or last
People tend to recall information that is presented first and last better than information which is presented in the middle. This is what is called serial position effect. How to use it? In your website, put the most important links – the ones you want people to click on – at the top and bottom of the menu. If you list features and offers in your ads, make sure to put the most attractive ones (the ones you want people to remember) first and last.
Shift the momentum
According to psychologists, once people make a purchase in a store they are more likely to make more purchases. Apparently, an initial purchase can trigger a “shopping mindset”. This is called shopping momentum effect. How to use it? Present great deals in your front-of-store displays. Put popular but not too expensive items – like candy or newspapers - by the entrance. Brands like Sephora carefully design their in-store environments to entice browsers to buy. For example, the shopper’s path throughout the store is lined with displays of small, inexpensive beauty products, easy purchases which are meant to lead to more consistent ones.
Focus on scarcity
People value things differently based on how common or scarce they perceive them to be. The rarer a product, service or opportunity, the more valuable it appears. How to use it? Centre your advertising on your key product’s popularity - they are selling like hot cakes, few left in store! Make sure, though, not to overuse the scarcity principle. According to psychologists, when a product that used to be perceived as rare becomes common, it risks losing all its perceived value.
Messages that elicit emotions are easier to remember. People make irrational decisions, so there’s no point is enumerating features and functions in your ads. Get to people’s guts, and you will have them hooked. How to use it? Marketers have traditionally focused on two emotions: fear and greed. Pose a problem (you are losing out! You need to move fast to avoid failure), and show the answer (this product or service is your great opportunity to succeed – don’t miss it!). Aside from fear and greed, there are many other emotions which give good response. From curiosity, to guilt, to joy, altruism, exclusivity, and more. Pick the right type of messaging for your brand, but make sure not to focus too much on negative emotions, or you might risk scaring potential customers away. If you want to reach your consumers, design your marketing strategy accurately: pay attention to what motivates your customers, and frame your messages the right way.