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Emotional e-commerce. How emotions influence purchasing decisions?


Although in the „perfect world” purchasing decisions should result from logical reasons, the reality shows something different. Many people make purchases on the spur of the moment. In the world of e-commerce, emotions are like a „two-edged sword” – on the one hand they can encourage you to do the shopping but on the other prevent you from confirming the order at the last moment. See what can encourage and discourage consumers from concluding the transaction in your e-shop.

Emotional e-commerce: why people abandon shopping carts?

The studies demonstrate that about 70% of shopping carts in e-stores are abandoned before the purchase is made, and this number rises to over 85% in the case of orders made through smartphones2. As you may deduce, people more frequently resign from purchasing goods online than offline. This is primarily due to much time they have to make a purchase decision. This e-commerce property, perceived by consumers as one of the greatest advantages of this sale channel3, simultaneously poses a serious threat.

What does it mean in reality? Acting on the spur of the moment, e.g. due to e-mail message on special offer or a commercial on a social networking site, customers enter the website of the e-store and „grab” products instantly. They add further items to their cart but then – usually before the order is placed – resign and abandon their products.

It is easy to do it on the Internet not only because they have a lot of time to make a final decision. Also other obstacles vanish, such as:

  • a need to put the product on the shelf „physically”,
  • a need to inform the seller about resignation (which can be a serious mental obstacle),
  • no feeling of loss of time spent on shopping – you can act fast on the Internet.

This is only one side of the coin. The other is obstacles coming from the e-store itself. Many companies operating in this field unconsciously discourage customers from concluding the transaction.

What can discourage consumers from placing an order in the e-store?

The experts from the University of Reading and School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences have conducted an in-depth analysis which shows the major factors which discourage consumers from making the final purchase. These are the following:

  • a need to create an account in the e-store before the purchase is made – if this action is not optional but required, many people can lose motivation. The reason is simple: online shopping must be fast, while a need to fill in a long form and activate the account via e-mail leads to loss of enthusiasm,
  • a need to cover additional costs for using alternative forms of payment, e.g. PayPal. Extra expenses may make consumers „feel cheated”,
  • high transportation costs – they raise the value of the shopping cart, which may demotivate, especially if the value of the order is low.

Also lack of trust to website security can be problematic (after all you have to enter your data as well as slow operation of the site or multi-stage checkout).

Please remember that the following have the impact on buyers’ emotions:

  • a widely understood emotional baggage, including excitement on the one hand and irritation on the other,
  • quality of „experiences” provided by the e-store – affected by transparency of the platform, user-friendly nature of the site and smooth purchasing procedure (the fewer the stages, the better!),
  • demographic differences – a readiness to make the purchase results from hormonal changes related to sex, consumer’s age (Millennials are more spontaneous than older generations) or income level.

Assure positive emotions and raise likelihood of concluding the e-sale

Awareness of importance of widely understood emotions in terms of concluding the transaction can substantially influence customers’ „shopping experiences”. If you want to overcome most obstacles, focus on the following:

  • as simple purchasing procedure as possible – so that it is feasible to place the final order instantly, through a few clicks only,
  • optional registration in the e-shop – provide clear benefits to those who choose to create an account (e.g. fixed discount),
  • e-store responsiveness, that is adaptation to the service on various devices,
  • transparent product return policy – so that customers can feel safe and know that it is easy to return their goods if they find them unsuitable.

Another significant „drive” can be fast delivery of goods. To make it happen, take care of smooth logistic procedures. Need help? Contact our specialists. We will help you develop your e-commerce business.


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