Consumer Psychology in E Commerce

Consumer Psychology in E Commerce

Reading Time: 7 minutes

By Alok Kundnani

In the early days of online marketing, businesses could get away with a lot of shady tactics. It’s almost surprising. Between overwhelming email spam, free iPod scams, and flashy “surprise banners”, consumers were continuously bombarded with obnoxious, over-the-top ads.

The scary thing? These tactics worked. Consumers clicked on sketchy banners hoping for — who knows what.

Flash forward to today. Consumers are wiser than ever. They’re still bombarded with aggressive marketing messaging, but they are empowered with anti-spam and ad blocker tools to keep the BS to a minimum.

Today’s consumers have a wealth of resources at their fingertips. No matter where they are in the world, they can access an infinite number of customer reviews, blog posts, and competitor websites. Even if they’re standing in the middle of your brick and mortar storefront, far away from a computer, they can still place orders — right then and there — from your competitors.The better option is for your brand to fully support this natural consumer behavior. Just think about it logically. If your consumers are looking for information but can’t find it,they’ll feel frustrated. If your brand gives them access to absolutely everything they need to make a decision, they’ll be thrilled. That’s why it’s so important for brands to make their content accessible and available — in the exact moment where their customers and prospects have questions.

Here are the key motivation that influence consumers today:

  1. Personal Gain

We care about products, services, and businesses that add value to our lives. We hold on to our time and money closely and are unwilling to give up either for a sub-part product or quick fix. We need to see a clear and compelling benefit.

  • Delight

Life is stressful, and we’re generally feeling bored,tired, or somewhere in between. We’re usually busy running errands, working our tails off, or dealing with our kids. Moments of pure joy are few and far between — but we actively seek them out. When we find those moments of pure happiness, five minutes can feel like five amazing hours.

  • Social Influence

We trust the perspectives of our friends and family.We’d rather work from personal recommendations than start our product searches from scratch. Even if we’re independent from the ‘crowd’, we still crave the guidance of our peers and mentors.

  • Familiarity

People are driven by their past experiences. Even when we’re looking to try something new, we rely on our memories to make the right judgment calls about what we should and should not buy. If we see an ad, over and over, for a product we’ve been eyeing for a while, we’ll be more likely to buy it.

  • Trust and Safety

The Internet has a bad rap for being completely sketchy. Even if your company is legitimate, users are going to questions your motives. Until you prove otherwise, you are — in their eyes — a spam site.Successful marketers are able to drive sales by appealing to customer psychology. This is a fact that is grounded in more than just faith — brand loyalty is something that organizations can closely measure and optimize.


Consumers think with both their rational and emotional brains. A study says that when we buy, it’s for emotional reasons. Logic comes into play when we try to justify the money we have (or are about to) spend — especially when we’re giving into our wants.

Emotions are the primary reason why consumers prefer brand name products. After all,many of the products we buy are available as generic and store brands with the same ingredients and at cheaper prices. Why do we decide to pay more for brand name products? A nationally advertised brand has power in the marketplace because it creates an emotional connection to the consumer. A brand is nothing more than a mental representation of a product in the consumer’s mind. If the representation consists only of the product’s attributes, features, and other information, there are no emotional links to influence consumer preference and action. The richer the emotional content of a brand’s mental representation,the more likely the consumer will be a loyal user.

But for consumers, perhaps the most important characteristic of emotions is that they push us toward action. In response to an emotion, humans are compelled to do something. In a physical confrontation, fear forces us to choose between “fight or flight” to insure our self-preservation. In our daily social confrontations, insecurity may cause us to buy the latest iPhone to support our positive self-identity.

Overtime, marketers have developed theories about why consumers buy. Most of these err by viewing the consumer through the lens of the product. Marketers start with the features and benefits of a product and conduct consumer research to find matching needs and motivations. More recently, Internet and digital media companies added a new layer of suppositions to explain and predict consumer behavior.Their approach views the consumer through the lens of digital technology.However, they misinterpret data about the activity of online users as being a valid insight into the consumer making process.

Consumers do not have a Pavlovian response to products and to their marketing programs.Nor do the fundamentals of consumer behavior change to accommodate the latest innovation in digital technology. An understanding of consumer purchase behavior must be based on knowledge of human emotion and include the paramount influence that emotions have on decision-making. 


Brands are pouring six-to-seven figure marketing budgets into content. There has been a significant growth spurt among companies launching blogs, producing extensive guides, creating videos, and promoting info graphics. It’s expensive,time-consuming, and hard work. But it’s worth it. Here’s why:

  • The online economy is flooded. There are countless businesses that are all competing for the same sets of eyeballs. Lackluster, half-hearted, junk content is the norm rather than the exception. High-quality,professionally produced content can help your company stand out from the crowd.
  • Content can help nurture prospects (and existing customers) through your company’s sales funnel. A concept that we’ve reinforced in this guide is that aggressive marketing messages are rarely well-received. To keep prospects interested, you need to educate,entertain, and delight them.
  • Content marketing is measurable. You can clearly identify the value of content marketing through tools like KISS metrics and Google Analytics. For instance, you can track how many people (1) discovery our company through content and then (2) convert into paying customers. You can clearly pinpoint how content plays a role in your company’s conversion optimization process.
  • Consistent, high-volume content production will help you build a steady audience. A proportion of those people will convert into leads and paying customers.

Content isn’t fluff marketing. It’s the future of ROI. And the reason is entirely integrated with user psychology.

People aren’t consuming content from their computers anymore. They’re engaging with brands and seeking out information on all devices. They’re taking brain breaks at work and looking for ways to kill time at the doctor’s clinic. According to a research, which says that 17% of adults do more browsing on mobile and tablet devices than they do on a computer. When you plan your content strategy, blog posts, and web sites, assume that people aren’t sitting at a computer. Companies who ignore this trend will risk frustrating and losing their prospective customers.

Online content is a great way for your brand to build credibility. Just because you publish, however, doesn’t mean that audiences will trust you. People are natural skeptics, and they’re exposed to a lot of garbage online. Your content needs to provide cues that it’s awesome. Here are some high-impact strategies for keeping audiences engaged and interested in your company:

  1. What audience need is content with a personal touch.Quality content requires research and originality. Be thoughtful about what you produce, and your audiences will notice.
  2. Focus on user intent instead. Think about the questions that audiences are likely to ask, and respond to those queries directly. This is a great way to organize your company’s marketing assets.
  3. Blog headlines should be set up to appeal to both people and search engines. In the short run, you may not see traffic gains from this tactic, but within six months, you’ll start to see momentum.
  4. When you associate yourself (and your brand) with other amazing companies and publishers, your reputation will be all-the-more awesome.


If you’re running a business or marketing team, you’re probably focused on three key metrics: cost, revenue, and profit (or margin). Your goal is always to minimize costs while maximizing revenues. You may even work with a finance leader to set aggressive growth goals for your company.

For many business leaders, pricing is something practical. You choose numbers that will pay employee salaries and keep the lights on. You pick numbers that will be extremely competitive with the market — after all, it’s your buyers that will keep your company afloat. There’s a key dimension to pricing, however,that your business may be missing— it’s buyer psychology.

Pricing is a concept that transcends profit margins. It’s also a marketing tactic that can help your business boost sales volume. When you think about pricing, you need to focus on more than what will cover your company’s operating expenses and pay the bills. You need to choose numbers that will compel your audiences to buy.

Instead of showing prospects what they should expect to spend, show them what they are going earn. As a marketer, you’re well aware that costs are always relative to outcome. Instead of fixating on how your product delivers the best rates in the industry, communicate something more — that your product comes with unbeatable results.

Be wary of comparative pricing. You walk into a drugstore to buy a bottle of Ibuprofen. You’re faced with two options — the first, a major pharma brand and the second, a generic. The generic is 30% cheaper than its retail equivalent. Why not save a few dollars? The problem with comparative pricing is hat it isn’t as foolproof as marketers think. Consumers’ perceptions of products may be swayed in a few different ways.

According to Itamar Simonson, consumers won’t always go for the cheapest. They may go for the consumer brand, which seems like a ‘less risky’ choice. Or, consumers may avoid making a purchase altogether.

Price vs. Value. Is price a measure of value? Not necessarily, says a study conducted in 2008 by Gold stein and team. The study found that people “do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine” when they don’t know much the wine cost. According to another study, however, there is a clear correlation between price and perceived value. When participants were told that a wine had a high price, participants gave that wine higher ratings.A  study found that students who paid more for cold medicine reported feeling better than students who purchased the same medicine at a discounted price. But still, expensive is not always better. Remember that consumers are driven by a variety of budgets. Some consumers simply can’t afford more expensive products and service. While they’d love to pay more for quality, they don’t have the flexibility to make frivolous or purchases. Need vs. luxury’ is one of the most foundational concepts in modern economics. The idea is simple —people will spend money on necessities like food, shelter, and clothing before spending money on luxury items like designer goods, expensive materials, and pricey cars. Some consumer are aggressive about comparing prices and finding deals that align with their wallets. But even this trend isn’t always the case.


No matter what industry you operate in,consumer behavior research shows that there are three groups of buyers who can be characterized by the “pain” they experience when purchasing something. Neuro scientists have defined human spending patterns as a process of “spend ‘til it hurts,” so understanding these different levels of pain points is essential to maximizing your potential sales.

There are three types of buyers in market i.e. The Unconflicted which are average spenders, means they are average shoppers and don’t spend too much and too less money online. The Spendthrifts who are fond of online shopping and spend more money buying online. The tightwads are those who spend very less online, which means they are below average buyers.

The tightwads are the type of buyers who are most difficult to convert.

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