How & Why People Buy Online – The Science Behind The Trade
There are many misconceptions and myths about why people buy from brands online and why businesses want to sell online. While a few brands stand out on online platforms, we don’t hear others follow suit. Interestingly, there is a science behind this.
At the Bangalore Business Literature Festival, Professor Seema Gupta discussed his new book How People Shop Online – The Psychology Behind Consumer Behavior on a panel with Alap Ghosh, MD Jellyfish India. While Seema provided the science behind online shopping behavior, Alap shared practical tips regarding its app.
We don’t buy just for rational reasons
The human brain has three layers – the reptilian brain followed by the limbic brain and finally the neocortex. As a result, our brains have a distinct way of processing information that we need to consider before arriving at a sales strategy.
Faced with any stimulus, it is the reptilian brain that is triggered first with the fight or flight mode. So the first step for any brand trying to win over a customer is to convince the reptilian brain that we are a safe and correct choice.
It is only after the reptilian brain gives the green light that this limbic section can influence the decision, which is ultimately followed by the neocortex. In other words, most decision making does not follow a rational process.
Besides messaging, this has a huge impact on the design and presentation. The role of packaging, advertising layouts, user interface design or any other area where non-verbal cues can influence the decision maker becomes very important.
Key to take away: Review brand communication to ensure rational (functional) and emotional benefits are covered. The softer aspects are things like trust, security of credibility, etc. that are communicated through design elements that must be consciously included.
Application case: For a new food brand sold on a crowded online platform, founders will need to focus on attractive packaging as an integral part of their branding strategy as well as distinctive product offerings.
A niche brand that has stood out with bold packaging and a brand history among a large number of low-brand generic offerings is Achariayappa. The name of the brand is intriguing and reassuring about the quality of its products.
Not just discounts
Traditionally, we think of people buying from brick and mortar stores for the whole experience. This includes the ambience of the store, staff interaction, brand offering, and other aspects that make up the sensory experience of walking in a mall or high street store.
Online shopping is seen as a primarily rational decision where we are driven by wide selection, convenience and better prices. But the reality is, people buy for many more reasons, including discovering categories, lack of sales pressure, discreet shipping, social shopping, and even emotional shopping. And brands that focus solely on price and availability may not grow consistently online or create a loyal following – if they don’t learn to layer the emotional aspects.
This clearly explains why during the lockdown, several FMCG brands migrated to online platforms but failed to meet their (sometimes unrealistic) goals. Indeed, a large number of affordable products of acceptable quality are available online. This includes the ubiquitous private labels that carry the influence of the trusted platform’s endorsement.
Thus, adherence to hygienic factors such as basic deliverables, price, and convenience alone cannot encourage a consumer to try a new offering or stay with a long-term online player.
Key to take away: Brands considering expanding through digital platforms should remember that drivers’ choice for discovery is different than buying.
Application case: For a new brand of clothing, entering Amazon or Myntra will not automatically lead to sales. The consumer has many choices – and discounts or door-to-door delivery won’t lead to a lasting sale. The brand will have to invest in building a brand image, highlighting its range and giving the consumer a reason to choose them over generic / house brands.
Recently, a clothing startup started its business by launching products on online platforms. A quick review indicated that their offering was generic and slightly more expensive than the private label. Thus, consumers saw no reason to choose them over other options.
The brand returned to the drawing board and played with fabric and cuts to offer a differentiated product with a 10% premium over private labels. The revived sales figures are significantly higher.
Influencer approval does not guarantee growth
Today, many brands are hiring celebrities for micro-influence and to grow overnight.
In reality, the impact of celebrity endorsement is determined by the celebrity’s attraction (number of actual and engaged followers), the brand’s fit between the celebrity and the hot product, and the relevance of the brand. fame for the target audience.
So, for startups considering hiring a celebrity, the results aren’t always positive. Celebrities come at a price and we need to make sure they are the right fit before we invest, otherwise the return on investment will be limited.
Key to take away: Before seeking approval from a celebrity, understand what value the celebrity will bring to the brand (awareness vs essay vs loyalty) and check the brand suitability. Once the two are in sync, assess the ROI in a pragmatic way.
Application case: For a health and fitness brand or an electronics startup, choosing an influencer depends on the suitability of the brand. A model or actor can have a huge impact on brand awareness, but trying / selling will only happen if the celebrity realistically matches the brand and their endorsement adds something of value to their image. the brand.
Boat Electronics is constantly using celebrities who bring freshness and a youthful attitude to their brand campaigns. Their choice of celebrities is great because they fit into the brand’s value proposition and work with their target audience. And instead of hiring a superstar to represent them, using younger celebrities, the brand kept the credible endorsement.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)