This is Why Customers Buy
  • Reading time:6 mins read

We buy things based on emotion and justify it with logic afterwards. We feel guilty for making emotional purchases, so we need to reason with ourselves.

In this modern world of an endless supply of products, we rarely have to make decisions based on pure need.

Neither the clothes on your back nor the food you’ll eat for lunch is based on need alone.

If we removed our emotions, then we would wear plain overalls that’s easy to wash and lasts forever.

Instead, most of the clothing we wear is based on feeling. It needs to makes us feel and look good not just protect from the snow or sun. We will even wear completely impractical clothes that make us feel sexy.

We don’t even want the same experience every day. Something that made us happy yesterday may not make us happy today.

Even if your favourite meal were pepperoni pizzas, you wouldn’t want to eat them for every single meal every day for the rest of your life.

Customers will buy if they believe that the product will do one of three things:

1. Move them towards pleasure
2. Move them away from pain
3. Be novel

If it can be all three, then you have a home run.

Move them towards pleasure

We shop because it makes us feel good. That’s why we need to focus on your customer’s emotions. Think about how your product or service will make your customers feel.

Most items are filling an emotional need, even if they are also providing practical benefit. Like food that tastes good but also takes us on a journey and makes us happy.

Buying a Mercedes makes us feel successful. Yes, it is a great luxury car but there are cheaper cars with leather seats and air-conditioning. Though the other more reasonably priced vehicles won’t give us the same level of self-esteem.

Not everyone desires the same thing. Even people buying the same product may be looking for different experiences. Take a spa, for example.

Two women may go in for a facial. One may be going there to look better while another may be going there to escape and relax.

Suppose a lady is there to escape the outside world, then you better have soundproof rooms, relaxing music and a friendly therapist.

If they are going in there to look good afterwards, then you have better have high-quality products, and skilled therapists or your customers will be unhappy.

If you want to increase sales, you need to focus on your customer’s desires, not their needs.

Move them away from pain

Pain is a powerful motivator. We usually think of it in terms of physical pain like a headache or annoyances like waiting in line.

Though fear is one of the most painful emotions that we feel.

One type of fear is the fear of losing something we have. That’s the reason that we buy car or household insurance.

Our fear of losing what we have is so great that we often get guilted into buying more than we need. Insurance companies and security companies often use fear to get you to buy more than you need.

Eggs with emotions drawn on them

The other type of fear is the fear of missing out.

We fear than we will miss out on experiences that others have. When we see our neighbours buying a new car, going on a holiday abroad or purchasing the latest mobile phone, we fear that we are missing out.

The fear of losing something is limited because we can only lose as much as we have.

Though the fear of missing out is unlimited. We can imagine our neighbours experiencing a vacation far greater than they could have had in reality.

We can only lose what we have, but we can imagine missing out on unlimited things.

Be novel

We want new and novel things every day.

Novelty causes us to do weird things. I had a friend come back from a holiday abroad. He told me that it was the best holiday he’s ever had. The hotels were incredible, and the food was amazing.

I naturally asked if he was going back next year and he said no, he wanted to go somewhere new.

Novelty will make us give up the certainty of pleasure from the same holiday. Instead, we’ll risk everything to go to a new place with no idea whether the food will be edible or the hotel will be safe.

Companies capitalise on novelty by releasing new car and phone models every year. These new models are little different from the previous years.

If you don’t keep on refreshing your products and your store then you’ll be left behind.

Don’t create pain

When we go shopping, we are giving up our time and money. Every time we hand over money, there is a sense of pain. We are losing or giving up something.

The process to sign-up or pay for a new product has a level of pain connected to it.

We need to make the shopping experience as painless as possible.

Don’t be the source of pain by not accepting their preferred payment method or making it difficult to find things in your store.

If it’s too painful to buy from you, they’ll shop elsewhere

Make sure they know what they are going to receive

Have you ever visited a place or tried a restaurant that you were not expecting to be good. Perhaps because it was so cheap.

The restaurant has given up money, not realising that their food is more valuable. Other people may also not even bother to try because they expect that cheap food is, well cheap.

Professor Hilke Plassmann from the INSEAD Business School reported that “As expected, the subjects stated that the wine with the higher price tasted better than an apparently cheaper one.

You have to create the expectation of a good product, or no one will try it in the first place.

This means packaging and pricing it according to the benefit the customer will receive.

You also have to deliver on that promise you created with the premium packaging and pricing, or you will not get any repeat business.