I don’t know about you, but every “fun” purchase I make is an emotional roller coaster. There’s the thrill of hunting for just the right thing. The greater thrill of finding it. And then – if it’s on sale – Game on. I have to have it. NOW! Before someone else gets it! Last one? Oh no! Typing in my credit card number as fast as my fingers can fly. Phew! Okay, it’s being shipped. **Breathe**
And all of that happens before the object of desire even arrives. I don’t even know if it will fit, but my desires are fueled with dreams of mass admiration and glory.
Hey, your buyer’s journey may be different (you might not be as vain), but it’s probably not that different. Why? Because we’re all human here, we’re all impacted by emotion. Would impulse purchases happen on planet Vulcan?
Nope. Here on Earth? Oh yes.
Emotion is inextricably tied to decision-making, and therefore conversion. It’s been scientifically proven a number of times.
Time number one:
When neuroscientist Antonio Damasio studied people who had sustained brain damage to areas of the brain that generate emotions, they were unable to make even the smallest of decisions. They still had logic and reasoning, but if they were asked to choose between pasta and risotto for dinner, they couldn’t do it.
Time number two:
Researchers at UCLA and George Washington University created two types of ads, one with facts and figures, which they called “logical persuasion” or “LP״, and one with fun, vague, or sexy scenes which they termed “non-rational influence” or “NI.”
They found that the brain regions involved in decision-making and emotional processing had significantly higher activity when participants looked at the logical persuasion ads. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately for CROs, these are the same brain regions responsible for inhibiting responses, like impulse purchases.
The non-rational influence ads, on the other hand, didn’t cause any major activity in those brain regions, suggesting that they lead to less behavioral inhibition – and less restraint when there’s a “Buy” button involved.
Time number three:
A study out of Missouri University of Science and Technology said that “atmospheric cues” – the web interface and the “look and feel” of design features of e-commerce stores – affect buyer behavior. In fact, the researchers posited that “consumers’ emotional responses” were predictive of whether they would buy. This study might seem a little obvious – a richer, more interactive environment produces more positive emotions which produces higher intentions to purchase. In plain English, we buy from stores we enjoy. Since emotion is clearly super-glued to the decision-making process, there are two questions that I’m burning to ask:
- Why has it taken us this long to try and measure it?
- Why are we only now finding ways to use it?!
The only answer I have is that it’s only been recently that technology and psychological awareness have come together to make measuring and manipulating emotion more possible now than it has ever been.
We’re swimming in the swell of a wave that hasn’t even crested yet because our understanding of human emotion is in its infancy. Paddle fast my friends – you don’t want this wave to pass you by.