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How to apply behavioral triggers to nudge and convert your leads

Nov 23, 2023 | Ungated Guides

“The decision to buy a customized product is mediated by a number of unconscious factors that shape the customers’ final decision.”

By Laura Bjerre Schwalbe

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Leave the rational mind behind

We each make 35.000 decisions a day. Many of these are effortlessly fastpaced and impulsive. All to get by, to get going, and to release cognitive space for more brain-heavy and complicated tasks. Tasks like tying your shoes or doing the dishes.

Your customers are no exception to this rule.

The cornerstone of understanding how customers search online, make up their minds, as well as what it takes to clinch the sale and avoid them leaving a loaded shopping basket can be boiled down to behavioral psychology.

If you are like many other e-commerce businesses, you have gone lengths to make sure your online store is packed with products and content that entice visitors – but have you considered the deep psychological drivers that affect decisions online?

In this guide, we introduce the behavioral psychology behind Raptor’s website and e-mail personalization solutions. Both have a strong impact on your customers’ decision making processes. Admittedly, there are many underlying motivations for choosing one product over another, more than we can cover in this guide. Instead, we focus on rather tangible nudges that
are easily applied to your marketing strategies and that will increase conversion rates if used in the right way.

In 2020, the global online shopping market size hit

4,28 trillion dollars

The psychology behind
online shopping

The journey before any of your customers end up with a successful
“thank you for shopping” confirmation e-mail is long.

We all go through a largely unconscious process of qualifying and disqualifying products and services before we make up our minds. We want be sure and be reassured that the decision we are about to make is the right one.

As a customer you might vividly recognize the frequent internal
discussion “I know, I don’t actually need those shoes, it’s just…” followed
by the most appropriate excuse to pursue the indulgence. You probably often jump in and out of webpages, browse for reviews and visit the shop more than once before you arrive at the “buy now” button. Even more so if the product you have put your mind to is pricy.

As a marketer or someone working in sales, you need to identify the underlying decision-making process that shoppers undergo and experience as part of their customer journey. After all, your role is to subtly nudge the customer and remove potential barriers that can cause the customer to visit the shop next door. To succeed in this manoeuvre, you need to have behavioral data about the visitor – soon to be customer – so you can provide incentives and qualifications for them to choose your product. This comes down to customer data and how you succeed building a unique profile containing knowledge from all touchpoints and interactive hotspots.

In other words, you need to know:

  • Who the visitors are
  • What products the visitor is interested in
  • When the customer showed an interest

Did you know?

A Customer Data Platform helps you connect all your data sources to create a 360-degree Single Customer View. From here, you can target the right customers, at the right time, with the right message. Read more about our Customer Data Platform

Netflix employs
psychologists
within their
Consumer Insights
Division to keep
viewers engaged
and returning for
more

– theukdomain

Similarities and
differences between online and offline sales psychology

Integrating behavioural psychology into your online space is of course vastly different than in a physical store. However, you might still find that the core principles are the same: Finding out what the customer wants, can be tempted with, in order to create an experience that makes them return another time.

The difference is that physical stores have so much more wiggle-room and more elements to play with to influence the customer’s purchase decision.

Did you know that the smell of fresh bread in many supermarkets is deliberately vented to brand the supermarket itself? Research has found that appealing to the senses whilst shopping helps increase impulse sales.

Online, you don’t have the luxury of applying tempting bread aroma,
which means you need to think more strategically and apply small nudges in your product selection to keep the customer interested. Integrating what others have looked at, displaying popular items right now, and suggesting similar products are all motivational strategies applied to set a route for your customer to follow.

Did you know?

The long routes within stores such as IKEA maximize the number of products the customer is exposed to? Or how fruits and vegetables in the entrance of any given supermarket aim to give you the impression of freshness throughout the store? These are all examples of the possibilities in physical stores and the applied shopping psychology in action.

Online you have different handles than in a physical store, which means you must attract customers by applying personalization to nudge their purchase decision.

What you will get to know from the next sections, is that universal traits such as the desire to have more, to have what everyone else has, are effective triggers that strongly impact sales. The solutions below are all part of Raptor’s suite and can be activated according to your needs.

Personalization on your website

Recommending products within product pages, on the front page or category pages are all ways to make visitors aware of relevant products. Why it works? Customers like to feel unique. They appreciate a company that recognizes and remembers them and wants to make their experience enjoyable and convenient. In the following, you will find the most popular Raptor modules within Website Personalization.

You might recognize them from the websites you frequently visit. Each module stands on the shoulder of behavioral psychology and contains a short description of the value this module contributes with.

Others also looked at

What is it?

Human beings naturally desire to fit in with the group. We tend to trust that the majority knows best and that you make the best (purchase) decision by looking at what other people are interested in.

Why does it work?

People are inclined to perceive others’ activities as of high value and will likely be inspired by their choices. In fact, social proof (as this bias is often called) is one of the most deeply rooted psychological principles. On your website a module with other visitors’ choices is extremely useful, especially when the customers enters for the first time and need a place to navigate towards. Going for what the group has chosen has great attraction.

Others also looked at

What is it?

Human beings naturally desire to fit in with the group. We tend to trust that the majority knows best and that you make the best (purchase) decision by looking at what other people are interested in.

Why does it work?

People are inclined to perceive others’ activities as of high value and will likely be inspired by their choices. In fact, social proof (as this bias is often called) is one of the most deeply rooted psychological principles. On your website a module with other visitors’ choices is extremely useful, especially when the customers enters for the first time and need a place to navigate towards. Going for what the group has chosen has great attraction.

Most popular products

What is it?

“Most popular products” presents customers with products that are trending right now on the webshop, based on the 1.000 last visits. This lets your customers navigate between countless products and go right to what others have already looked at.

Why does it work?

Popular products will be attributed with high value, as the customer can rely on the confirmation of others’ choices. Not only have other people looked at the product, but many have found it interesting enough to purchase – social proof is a powerful way to increase conversions by showing customers how popular a product or service is.

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What is it?

This module presents the customer with similar or alternative products to the ones already looked at, which either helps the consumer confirm their choice – or inspires them to make another one.

Why does it work?

As customers we seek to be inspired and make the right decision when shopping online. By having suggestions of alternative products close by, we can either confirm our initial choice or make another decision. Be careful, however, not to present the customer with too many alternatives, as this can cause confusion and end the shopping process altogether.

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What is it?

This module presents the customer with similar or alternative products to the ones already looked at, which either helps the consumer confirm their choice – or inspires them to make another one.

Why does it work?

As customers we seek to be inspired and make the right decision when shopping online. By having suggestions of alternative products close by, we can either confirm our initial choice or make another decision. Be careful, however, not to present the customer with too many alternatives, as this can cause confusion and end the shopping process altogether.

Powerstep

What is it?

This module presents customers with related items to the ones they have in their basket. If the customer added a pair of sneakers, the powerstep might suggest socks or shoe polish. The powerstep is considered the “impulse buy” near checkout – the easy choice because you have already made the brain-heavy ones.

Why does it work?

The first purchase is the most difficult to finish– the same rule applies for online shopping. This approach ensures that customers are exposed to more items before they reach check out. Have in mind, however, that a powerstep can also annoy customers, if the products are irrelevant, or end up causing confusion around their initial shopping choices.

4 effective nudges in online sales

1

Create a sense of urgency and scarcity

The first purchase is the most difficult to finish– the same rule applies for online shopping. This approach ensures that customers are exposed to more items before they reach check out. Have in mind, however, that a powerstep can also annoy customers, if the products are irrelevant, or end up causing confusion around their initial shopping choices.

2

Make them feel involved with a customer loyalty program

The first purchase is the most difficult to finish– the same rule applies for online shopping. This approach ensures that customers are exposed to more items before they reach check out. Have in mind, however, that a powerstep can also annoy customers, if the products are irrelevant, or end up causing confusion around their initial shopping choices.

3

Offer free shipping and return for convenience

The first purchase is the most difficult to finish– the same rule applies for online shopping. This approach ensures that customers are exposed to more items before they reach check out. Have in mind, however, that a powerstep can also annoy customers, if the products are irrelevant, or end up causing confusion around their initial shopping choices.

4

Exceed their expectations: Suuuuurprise

The first purchase is the most difficult to finish– the same rule applies for online shopping. This approach ensures that customers are exposed to more items before they reach check out. Have in mind, however, that a powerstep can also annoy customers, if the products are irrelevant, or end up causing confusion around their initial shopping choices.

Personalization in your
e-mails

Personalized e-mails are an ideal way to re-interact with your potential customers. You send targeted content to the right people at the right time to encourage your website visitors – and subscribers in general – to return to your website. Why it works? There is a high value in following
up with shoppers who abandoned their carts before checkout, or who you know, from your customer data, have a high interest in your products. A personalized e-mail is
a reminder of their former activities and can incentivize them to return and complete their purchase.

Below, you find the most popular E-mail & Triggers as part of Raptor’s solutions
and the consumer psychology behind each trigger.

Abandoned basket e-mail

What is it?

With an abandoned basket e-mail you remind customers of items they have left unpurchased. It
encourages them to reconsider buying the products that they initially showed an interest towards.

Why does it work?

The trigger is extremely powerful as it relies on the so called Zeigarnik effect – our compulsion to complete activities we have already started. It also involves the Sunk Cost fallacy where customers are more prone to keep shopping if they have already invested time and money in a project (such as adding items to a basket).

When you nudge customers with products they have shown interest in, you attract attention to their “unfinished business”.

Did you know?

When the task is completed, not only does the stress drop, but the customer’s reward center is also addressed, and endorphins are released.

Abandoned basket e-mail

What is it?

With an abandoned basket e-mail you remind customers of items they have left unpurchased. It
encourages them to reconsider buying the products that they initially showed an interest towards.

Why does it work?

The trigger is extremely powerful as it relies on the so called Zeigarnik effect – our compulsion to complete activities we have already started. It also involves the Sunk Cost fallacy where customers are more prone to keep shopping if they have already invested time and money in a project (such as adding items to a basket).

When you nudge customers with products they have shown interest in, you attract attention to their “unfinished business”.

Did you know?

When the task is completed, not only does the stress drop, but the customer’s reward center is also addressed, and endorphins are released.

Price drop Trigger

What is it?

“The Price Drop trigger” tracks users who have shown an interest in a product and lets them know when the price on the product drops. This trigger allows you to communicate relevant information about the product they initially paid attention to.

Why does it work?

The anchoring effect is an extremely popular trigger in price psychology. Potential customers establish a price point (or anchor point) from the first price you introduce to them. When you sent an e-mail communicating a reduction to that price, you create a sense of urgency (limited offer) along with making the customer feel like they are about to save some money.

Product interest

What is it?

A Product interest e-mail targets customers who have shown a high interest in a product available on your website. By sending an e-mail containing the specific product, you nudge them to make a decision and provide them with content they are more prone to convert from.

Why does it work?

Sending relevant content to potential customers is a powerful trigger to make them act. Along with the abandoned basket trigger, product interest e-mails also influence our decisions as they remind us of unfinished business we are compelled to complete.

Product interest

What is it?

A Product interest e-mail targets customers who have shown a high interest in a product available on your website. By sending an e-mail containing the specific product, you nudge them to make a decision and provide them with content they are more prone to convert from.

Why does it work?

Sending relevant content to potential customers is a powerful trigger to make them act. Along with the abandoned basket trigger, product interest e-mails also influence our decisions as they remind us of unfinished business we are compelled to complete.

Back in stock

What is it?

Back in stock is a trigger for users who have looked at a product several times while it was out of stock. This trigger communicates useful information for users who have visited a product page while the product of their interest was out of stock.

Why does it work?

Back in stock addresses convenience and customer service above all. Just as you would appreciate a salesclerk giving you a call when your favorite coat was back in stock, this service gesture equally matters online. Back in stock is also a useful trigger to remind customers of their initial interest.

Get behind your
customer’s mind

Most of us cannot fully or rationally explain why we want the things we want or end up buying what we do. However, the psychology of online shopping gives us a peek into our customer’s minds in their stroll around the infinite online shopping mall.

You can use this knowledge to understand what makes one product more attractive over another, and why. With personalization you make it easy for customers to find the right product by guiding them to relevant options. It’s a way to create unique customer experiences by relying on nudging principles that assist the decisionmaking process.

What you have just learned?

Leave the rational mind behind

Your customer is anything but rational when they enter your online shop. Understanding how customers search online, browse and decide what to buy, as well as what it takes to avoid abandoned baskets, comes down to basic psychology.

Online vs. Offline

Online, you simply have less wiggle-room to entertain your shoppers. All the physical elements that would normally entice your customers senses are limited to what fits on a screen. Personalization gets you closer to your customers as you provide a relevant experience from each visit.

4 effective nudges in online sales

  • Use urgency and scarcity triggers to make customers act fast
  • Customers are more loyal to your brand if they feel part of a group
  • Offer free shipping and return to make the customer experience convenient
  • Make sure to exceed customers’ expectations and they will reward you for it

The 4 nudges that work

  • The desire to fit in and be socially acceptable
  • The desire to act fast if the supply is limited
  • The anchoring effect: The first information you give will (most likely) stick
  • The Zeigarnik effect where we complete a task to gain emotional gratification

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