Acknowledging consumers’ emotions can improve the customer instore experience

Anastasia Lloyd-wallis

Consumers have trouble admitting that their emotions are their best shopping buddies. Almost 80% of participants in Clicktale’s study said they are rational when shopping. However, 74% of study participants have stress-shopped at least once in their life, while 40% of them said they often shop to let out some steam.

Hacking into the customer’s brain and unravelling ways to tap into the power of knowing their sentiment when they enter the store is still a dream for many retailers. What if I told you that basic knowledge in the psychology of emotions is the answer to making this come true? While each customer is individual, all customers share one thing in common – they all experience the same basic human emotions.

Brick and Mortar Still Induce Stress

Acknowledging the problem is the first step towards solving it. Yet, retailers fail to recognise the emotions of their customers. Did you know that 1 in 3 customers have lost their temper in brick and mortar shops? addressing this simple challenge of understanding what emotions your instore experience evokes will provide plenty of opportunities for improving customer experiences, delighting customers, and capturing more sales.

 The Root of The Problem

We live considerably faster than we did just a decade ago. Many consumers now think that they don’t have any second to waste. A website is not loading instantly – close it and open a new one. A friend is not answering the phone after two rings – hang up. The line at the counter is too long – drop the items and go to another store. The salesperson is asking too many questions – make up a lie and storm out of the store.

See the pattern? Modern consumers are in a hurry. Up to 88% of them have already researched the product online, and they came to the store to see it in person and finalize their decision-making process. Standing between them and what they come to do frustrates them. More importantly, they can associate your store or the brand with negative feelings never to return again.

 What Makes Consumers Stressed-Out

I’ve recently stumbled upon the Usabilla report conveniently named “Retail Nightmares.” If you want to improve customer in-store experiences, I urge you to read it. Let me highlight the major findings relevant to our topic today.

The primary source of a negative brick and mortar experience is the sales staff and having to wait too long in line to purchase a product.

Next in line, we have sales associates too eager to jump into assisting customers even though they don’t like it. Can you imagine the level of inconvenience that causes almost 50% of consumers to lie to a salesperson to get out of a conversation?

It becomes evident that sales staff, including sales associates, need some training. Recognizing whether a customer needs or doesn’t need help can be crucial for retail success in years to come.

Each customer is looking for a different in-store experience driven by their emotional needs. Some want an experience of exploration and discovery (a la Peter Alexander and Ikea) where some just want a simple process “Get to the point and make it quick!”. Understanding what these emotional needs are can allow you to tailor your instore design to creating lasting customer loyalty.

Acknowledge, Make Amends, Act on Data

Consumers are not opportunities to make more cash. They are human, and as humans, they think and feel. The data tells us that brick and mortar stores cause frustration in consumers and make them feel stressed. The good thing about it is that we know the in-store experience can significantly affect how consumers feel.

The time has come to do some reverse-engineering. Start from understanding WHO your customer is, what are their personalities and what are they looking for from your store? Then from here tailor their in-store experience. However, is there something else retailers can do to facilitate a delightful brick and mortar shopping experience?

 Adding Value to The In-Store Visit, as an Idea

Making customers happy and satisfied is a centuries-old mantra. Modern consumers are “somewhat” different. Some brands recognized this and decided to play to their needs and preferences to keep them happy. Adding value to the in-store visit seems to work perfectly fine when it comes to reducing stress and evoking positive emotions in consumers.

Some Adidas brick and mortar stores have a treadmill consumers can use to try their new sneakers. Appealing to the consumer who wants their experience to be an event. There are even fitness coaches on standby to answer questions and help consumers choose the best sneakers for their type of physical activity. Appealing to consumers looking for the security that they have selected the right product as advised by experts.

Playing to the emotional side of customers is a lot more than nudging them towards a buy. Acknowledging consumers’ emotions will help retailers fine-tune the in-store experience, discover consumers’ pain-points in time, build long-lasting relationships, and, ultimately, appear as a friendly and trustworthy brand.

To understand your consumers in detail, their emotions and why they behave the way they do get in contact at [email protected]

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