What's your name?
Buyer psychology is an area of study that combines the insights of economics and psychology and builds a framework for understanding why shoppers behave the way they do. Our team’s focus is on understanding buyer psychology as it applies to the behavior of online shoppers.
As conversion optimizers, our goal is to convince and convert new buyers. Crossing that bridge is very hard without a deep understanding of buyer psychology.
Buyer Psychology Impacts Your Bottom Line, Here’s Why
We’re living in a world of abundant choices. Google for a pair of running shoes, air filter, coffee machine, health supplement, car mats, etc. and you are going to encounter a whole bunch of brands competing for your attention. This means people who are coming to your site also are aware of the range of options that have that don’t include your product.
To make things worse, even when a visitor enters our site they don’t stick around too long. In 2020 Wolfgang Digital analyzed 130 million website sessions, over €330 million in online revenue, and calculated the average session duration (time on site) for all of eCommerce at 2 minutes and 32 seconds (source).
To put this in perspective, their 2019 report had the average session duration at 3 minutes 1 second.
But Wait, There’s One More Painful Detail
These visitors don’t just visit for a short time, they often visit just once.
If you go to your Google Analytics and peek into the Audience –> Overview report you’ll find a pie chart that shows your site’s returning visitor rate.
Even if your return rate is 20% it means 80% of visitors see your site just once.
If we can’t close the sale on the first visit it’s likely we will never see this visitor again.
Oh crap, I remembered one more detail. I’m sure you’ve heard the outcry in 2021 when Apple changed its ecosystem’s default settings. This means consumers can now block tracking data, which means you can no longer track returning visitors. What Apple has done today will be standard for other ecosystems. In fact, Google Analytics has already started showing this message to its Google Analytics customers:
What this basically means, starting July 1, 2023, Google is no longer taking responsibility for holding your site visitor data. If you want to hold it you need to do it on your own servers. Google is doing this because they don’t want to be sued for privacy violations.
All of this means that it’s more important than ever for the marketer to understand the buyer psychology of visitors and convert them on the first visit itself.
Mistake Brands Make
Most brands assume just listing features and benefits on their product page is all they need to do. This isn’t correct. If the goal is to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors you need to deeply understand the psychology of your buyers. Those who do this the best will not just win by 20%, they will effectively make the competition obsolete.
The Subconscious Mind– System 1 vs System 2 Thinking
Consumers are living in a crowded advertising neighborhood. There are just too many neon signs around– each promising something special.
Did you know the average online shopper is exposed to nearly 1,000 ads a day?
It simply isn’t possible for the buyer to consider each ad and put together a pro and cons list to decide if the advertisement is trustworthy. Therefore our brains have developed clever little shortcuts to determine if a claim being made is believable. Marketers who can understand this psychology will win.
This means the shoppers we are trying to influence are in System 1 mode. We explain System 1 and 2 modes in this important article: Shopper Psychology: System 1 Versus System 2.
Buyer Psychology Terms and Stories
We’re going to share two articles with you. In the first article, we’ll share some really important buyer psychology terms that directly relate to eCommerce. We aren’t writing these articles for SEO so they will not contain hundreds of terms, they will contain just a few ideas. Here goes:
How Shoppers Behave Online
If the goal is to massively improve conversion rates we need to first walk in the shoes of online shoppers– we need to feel what they feel.
Online shoppers are bombarded with highly targeted advertising. This is very different from 100 years ago when the advertiser would place an ad and have very little reliable performance analytics data:
Today, the advertiser is so much more sophisticated in terms of the precision of their ad targeting and the data they collect about user interaction with those ads. Essentially marketing has become weaponized.
At the same time, marketing has also become democratized. Where a 100 years ago there were like 100 major advertisers today there are millions.
The shopper we are trying to seduce is being seduced by 300 other brands. And because of this:
The dynamics of the relationship have shifted with the buyer having a lot more power. And because of this power dynamic, the shopper indulges in very specific behaviors, which we discuss in this article: Optimize Conversion Rates By Understanding How Shoppers Behave Online.
There Are Two Types of Shoppers: Skimmers and Diggers
There are literally 100s of ways to segment and categorize online shoppers but there are just two that are the most important– Skimmers and Diggers. What we’re going to reveal about these two types of buyers will change the trajectory of your business. It sits at the foundation of our enter buyer psychology conversion optimization philosophy.
We’ve created a standalone article to cover this very important topic: Tell Me More About Skimmers and Diggers.
Why You Should Focus on First-Time Buyers
Marketers have a lot on their plates:
– They have to develop marketing promotions.
– They have to manage advertising campaigns.
– They have to reactivate past buyers who haven’t bought in a while.
– They have to help drive up average order value because advertising is getting more and more expensive.
What I’m saying is that marketing teams are doing more than ever. And while all these functions are important, in a world where we have limited time surely there must be a few things that drive the biggest impact. In the last segment, we argued the marketer needs to focus on skimmers and diggers; in this segment, we build the case to focus on first-time buyers. Dig in here: Why Focusing on Converting First-Time Buyers Really Matters.
The 9 Truths About Online Shoppers
Buyer psychology is a huge subject and it would be ludicrous for us to pretend like we understand all there is to know about how shoppers make purchase decisions online. Clearly, their decision-making changes based on whether they are buying an electric toothbrush or men’s woolen running shoes.
And you are right, there are a lot of differences in the decision-making process for these two items. What’s remarkable is that we’re discovered nine (so far) mental checklist items shoppers use to evaluate a new purchase.
How do we know focusing on these nine items works? Because we’ve tested it on over 100 highly successful eCommerce sites. Here are 16 case studies.
Those nine truths along with practical examples are revealed in this in-depth The 9 Truths About Online Shoppers article.