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Why Do We Purchase?

While we may not like to admit it, emotional connection plays a primary role in what we choose to buy.

Shopper’s minds are heavily influenced by how they feel towards a particular brand, however it’s up to businesses and marketers to develop products that satisfy these bonding needs.

This study on the subject from SMITH.co, an experiential commerce agency, identified that consumers buy goods based on 8 different mindsets, some using multiple to confirm their final choices.

Let’s look at these emotional drivers demonstrating just how powerful this link is between selecting a product and the encouraging factors persuading us to purchase.

1. “I want to know everything”

“Know-it-all customers” (I can be like this sometimes) are considered store shoppers and prefer to see, touch and explore items, brand and competitors in-store.

The ability for them to ask a trusted expert for advice, further information and recommendations becomes a significant influencer for the “know-it-alls”. 

These customers feel most comfortable and content to make a purchase from a physical visit and interaction with product and professional rather than take other’s opinions and experiences into account. This is where packaging and branding plays a major role in the market.

2. Seeks Validation

Then you have the customers do shop based on the opinions as they desperately seek validity regarding “what they heard” from other’s about a certain product. Their peer’s perception of a particular brand or product often persuades this customer group to buy in relation to what their friends or family deem reputable – I’m also guilty of this.

These customers are the most likely to share or discuss products on social media post purchase yearning for their audience’s opinions whilst conveying their own.

Buying a product to be a part of the ‘owner’s group’ is important to those shopping for validation purposes as showcasing what they’ve purchased is a significant part of the excitement. This is also the most popular mindset amidst study participants making up 20% of total shoppers surveyed.

3. Trend Initiator

These shoppers strive to be the one of the first to try, own or showcase a particular brand with 15%-25% of customer’s in this category being social media influenced. Trend initiators will often prioritise a product’s features and its peer appeal over its cost too.

Those with a desire to be the first to own, review or share a product with their friends or online audience undertake most of their research online scouring the web for unique items and the best prices.

Social media promotions impact what they buy especially when it comes to product categories such as beauty products or goods they’re able to demonstrate or apply live through their platforms or channels.

4. Shopping’s my Hobby 

I mean who can relate? I know I can shopping really is my hobby. Some of us just want to enjoy our shopping experience. Heading out for a day and sifting through products and various stores, trying on clothes and physically testing out devices are a few influential reasons these people purchase things. 

Only approximately 10-16% of those who predominantly for fun do any prior product research or are encouraged by digital content and social media. 

It’s more about the gratification and physical shopping experience than placing too much emphasis on price and feature comparison. The social aspects and benefits associated with shopping usually also determine when and where the “I want some fun” consumer group spend their money.

5. Avoid Regret

If shopping is an activity you dread rather than enjoy, then you might be a consumer that falls into this category.

These customers exhibit little to no interest promotions, digital content or social trends and are just looking for a safe, quality product option and purchasing channel and avoid cognitive dissonance and post-purchase regret.

The majority of those wanting to avoid purchaser’s remorse tend to be online shoppers and value a secure, reputable buying method with free shipping and return options for added peace of mind. This consumer group like to learn as much as possible through social media and online review systems before committing to a purchase. 

6. I’m Indecisive 

This mode makes shoppers with this mindset feel overwhelmed and often times struggle to understand why there are so many options on the shelves.

The indecisive customer wants to take their time to make one good purchasing decision. However, browsing through a store isn’t ideal as they’d prefer researching and ordering products online.

The indecisive shopper generally only has a vague idea of what they need, opting for online information rather than a sales person to show them what they want.

Up to 44% of anxious and indecisive consumers surveyed said they’d explore product decisions online prior to a purchase.

7. I’m Special

Self-entitlement can be derived from a number of factors, however social media seems to play a monumental part amongst this consumer group.

Those shoppers believing their special search for an expect a superior buying experience on with everything they purchase. They’re avid social media influences and love high-involvement purchases and search for shopping experiences that are personally tailored to them.

The “I’m Special” consumer is one of the most challenging to market to as what they’re willing to pay versus product expectations can be difficult to match up. They’re looking for “the works” including free shipping and returns, high quality, low price and reputable, secure online transaction channels.

8. Get It Over With

Ever changing shopping methods combined with seemingly endless brand expansion produces the 8th influential mode known commonly as the “Buy and Be Done” group.

These customers heavily consume digital content making their buying decisions with an even balance of research and cost-benefit analysis. Social media virtually plays zero part in what they buy as they’ll more likely purchase something based on quality or long-term value for money.

Over 40% of those with this buying mentality relied on social media content and influencer’s opinions to self-educate before purchase something.

They prefer to purchase online and almost one third are just out to buy a specific item.

Can you relate to any of the 8 emotional drivers?