Retailers must develop emotional intelligence and alter their customer journey accordingly to nudge shoppers to a better online experience.
New consumer research shows that 16 – 34 year olds are more likely than older generations to be influenced by emotional factors when shopping online.
For the millennial generation – the largest group of online shoppers – the traditional linear customer journey is more akin to a rollercoaster, marked by highs and lows of emotion.
According to the research, millennials experience higher levels of anxiety, impulsiveness and impatience than their older counterparts. The research also shows that two thirds of millennials reported feeling excitement when adding items to their online basket, compared to less than a quarter of people over 55.
The flip side of this excitement is lows caused by anxiety and guilt, with 52 per cent of millennials saying that they worry that they can’t afford the purchase during checkout, compared to only 16 per cent of over 55s. One in five millennials have abandoned a purchase because of worry about regretting it later.
The extremes of emotion experienced by millennials must be navigated carefully so retailers can effectively guide this group through the purchase process.
Allowing shoppers to try before they buy is an easy way to build brand loyalty – 20 per cent of millennials would feel less guilty if they were offered deferred payment options, and one in five would be more likely to complete a purchase if they knew they could spread the cost over time. It’s vital that merchants offer these choices at the checkout – so millennials can be reassured a transaction is achievable.
The consumer research debunks the myth that items added to a basket show a clear intention to purchase. In fact a significant 89 per cent of millennials use the basket as a tool to review costs, while more than three quarters often use their basket as a wishlist, compared with only 29 per cent of over 55s. Meanwhile, nearly three quarters admit to indulging in ‘buzz browsing’ – adding items to a basket with no clear intention to buy.
Crucially, 58 per cent of millennials are more likely to complete a purchase if an online offer is going to expire, so tapping into this fear of missing out by offering time bound incentives and educating shoppers about pay after delivery or consumer finance options can encourage customers to complete their purchase. Simple website features such as showing stock levels and displaying expert advice from social influencers can all help retailers nudge this important group of consumers to checkout.
Luke Griffiths, UK General Manager, Klarna, said: “Our insight proves that the online customer journey is more complex than ever, with shoppers being driven by emotional factors. Retailers must develop EQ to deliver a positive online customer experience that smooths the highs and lows.
“Payment is still a sticking point for many consumers – with one in four feeling frustrated when the checkout doesn’t remember their details and one in four millennials saying that they are more likely to complete a purchase if one click payments are in place. Competition in the marketplace is fierce, winners will be retailers that build shopper affinity by offering a fast, easy checkout with flexible payment options.”
Dr Julia Vogt, Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Reading, commented: “Applying behavioural psychology can help us understand what consumers love and hate about online shopping. Emotional factors can cause hesitation in the process which can derail a purchase right up until the final payment. By understanding the role of heart as well as the head, retailers can create effective customer engagement strategies to nudge consumers to conversion.”