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Scaling Your Online Business with Consumer Psychology

We all live in a world which is driven by ‘big data’ and technology. Our phones act as an extension of our arms. We overuse it from the minute we wake up to the end our day. Technology has revolutionized our daily lives, as we are all connected through the digital world. Information is now available at the single click of a button. Technological advances have given rise to the internet and multiple media platforms. Each one’s public and private life is shared for the world to view. With the current global health crisis and a surge of startups, social media platforms have become the primary marketing mode by upcoming and small businesses. In this saturated market, why do people prefer certain goods over others? How can you appeal to your audience and make your business ‘stand out’?

‘Consumer Psychology’ refers to studying human behaviour and buying patterns by analyzing the consumers’ emotions, preferences, and attitudes towards marketed goods and services. It provides a crossroad between psychology and business. Consumer Psychology mentions four psychological factors that influence buyer behaviour: perception, motivation, learning and attitude. However, these factors encapsulate internal needs and the perceptions and belief systems about the external world.

Consumer psychology can also be distinguished into specific theories in regards to business strategies. One such phenomenon is the ‘Halo Effect, ’ which refers to a consumer’s favouritism towards one product due to a good experience linked with other products by the same seller. This process was initially documented as a social psychology phenomenon. However, it has been applied to the business field over the years as it showcases brand strength and loyalty. For example, imagine a situation in which you, as a consumer, purchase an ‘iPhone’ from Apple that you love using. You will eventually form a brand loyalty bias and purchase a laptop from the same brand. However, it is a different line of products. In this way, companies such as Apple show high Halo Effect rates to capitalize on their strengths.

Another such theory in psychology in regards to online businesses refers to ‘Hawkins Stern Impulse Buying’. Hawkins Stern proposed that individual purchases are ‘pure impulse purchases’ and provide an ocean of opportunities for marketers. Packaging, design and products all play a role in the degree of impulse and predictable buying behaviour. Thirdly, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be applied in marketing and business through the ‘Motivation-Need Theory’. This five-tier pyramid includes specific needs such as physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization. Therefore, online businesses can cater to these hierarchies of needs, since consumers are motivated to prioritize and protect their needs above all.

Have you ever felt as though time is passing by and your business is remaining stagnant? In today’s day, having an online business is increasingly difficult. However, psychology provides solutions to your problems which you may turn a blind eye to previously. Specific psychological marketing strategies will boost your sales, here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Apply the ‘law of least effort’. Human beings are inherently lazy, keeping this in mind, make the buying process and experience as easy as possible to generate most sales. Provide solutions for customers to find products easily by filtering options and limit human interaction as much as possible. In this way, the online shopper will not have to go out of their way to make a purchase.

  2. Don’t Over-Innovate. Innovation is a good thing, marketers thrive off innovation, however, steer away from over-innovating. The consumers’ past experience shapes their current expectations, therefore, as a growing business find the right balance between sticking to the basics and innovating.

  3. Nobody is perfect, admit to your faults. A social psychology study proved that business which shows their consumers their mistakes do better than those who blame it on external events. For example, “this is our weakness” vs “the economy is bad”. Customers realize that admitting your faults, shows that you are in control of your own success. However, be transparent strategically; that is, do not display every mistake you have made instead of being accountable for them.

In today’s day, scrolling through your Instagram feed or social media shows an increased number of sponsored advertisements rather than posts from friends and family. The algorithm studies each individual interest and markets those particular products on your feed. Running a business online is no easy task, the market is saturated. At the same time, competition grows day by day on online platforms. The process may not show an overnight success, however, every once in a while, take a step back, and put yourself in the customers’ shoes, how would you respond to a sponsored advertisement? After employing marketing strategies such as emotional appeal and solving customer problems, your online business will begin to show tremendous growth. It is not about getting ‘traffic’, it is about getting the relevant traffic.

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