How Behavior Changes The Way We Shop: Behavioral Science in CX

During the 1920s, Psychologists Dan Starch and George Gallup focused on advancing market research using scientific principles. A century later, the use of behavioral science has emerged as an untapped goldmine that only a few brands are looking to explore to advance their CX practice. Technology has drastically changed the way we shop. Shops and retail store with grandeur are being replaced by e-commerce apps. Retailers are relying on sentiment analysis and AI to analyse the shopping methods of the consumers yet one aspect that can advance the CX to new heights is understanding how behavior changes the way we shop and influence of behavioral science in CX. Using Behavior science in CX allows you to better understand your customers better. While CX surveys can allow you to determine what your customers seek, there are still gaps in your CX programme that can be easily filled with Behavioral Science. In simple terms, it helps you determine what drives customers to seek out your brand or your competitors. It helps you understand the reasoning that goes into making a decision to buy. While it might sound complex, behavioral economics has a massive role in driving the CX programmes further for some of the industry leaders. In this article, we will talk about

  1. How behavior changes the way we shop
  2. What can you as a brand do to stay ahead of the curve?

Behavioral Science in CX: How Behavior Changes The Way We Shop

To understand how behavior shapes our shopping process, we will study the 4 touchpoints of a shopping experience where human psychology springs into action. We will analyse in brief how each touchpoint is a determinant of the final decision of whether the customer will shop with us or not.

Reference Point: Understanding Customers’ Previous Experiences

Your customers compare you to the other Customer Experience they have had in past. Understanding the reference points of the customer is pivotal in advancing your CX. The idea behind this is that your customer might perceive your CX journey as good or bad depending upon their comparison point. Let’s take an example to illustrate this. If you are staying in a hotel while travelling to a new city and your friend has told you that this is one of the best hotels he had stayed in. With such a statement, your reference point would be higher and you would judge the hotel on minute parameters, sometimes being overly critical. However, if the same friend tells you that beware of your belongings in the hotel, you would have a different perception with a lower reference point. Hence, you need to be aware of the reference points of your customer to understand their shopping behavior.

Reasons: Tap Into The Proxy Reason Cycle

Shoppers usually tend to convince themselves of a proxy reason why they need to shop for a particular product. In Customer Experience, we tend to focus on acquiring the knowledge of the reason irrelevant to it being a real reason or a proxy reason. In Psychology, it is said that every such decision happens at a subconscious level. We make a reason for our purchase and if we fail to do so, we substitute it with a proxy reason. If not given a real reason to buy a product, we will continue to substitute the reason with one of our proxies. To improve your customer experience, you need to understand and propagate a good reason to interact and buy your product. With a good Emotional Analysis programme, you can decipher what are the ‘good reasons’ to buy your product and that can be the new narrative of your brand

Resources: Making Your Product An Effortless Experience

We are limited by our inability to allocate extras resources for other cognitive tasks in a time of despair. We are limited by our limited attention span and limited patience. If your product happens to be one where customers have to dedicate undivided attention for a longer period of time, chances are that our buying process can alter the customer experience you are trying to provide. A longer checkout process for the customers at the end of the day can induce a frustrating experience for your buyers. When you are trying to create an intuitive customer experience, make sure you take into account the resources available to your customer at any moment in time. Once you anticipate the resources available, you can create a more intuitive experience for your customers.

Replacement: Nothing Is Permanent

As Heraclitus said, you never dive into the same river twice. Like everything in the world, Customer behavior is evolving. People are always looking to complete a task, be it decision making. If buying from you becomes confusing for your customers, they would prefer to replace you with someone who makes the decision making easy for them. This phenomenon is called Heuristics. Consumers use a variety of Heuristics in decision making. Many of us use Popularity Heuristics or Availability Heuristics to make a quick and easy decision.If you want to understand how behavior changes the way we shop, you need to understand why are they choosing you. To sort the issue of Heuristics, you need to build a strong bond with your consumers using a strong brand reputation.

What Can You Do To Stay Ahead Of The Curve?

P&G’s famous “first moment of truth” which states that a buyer spends only a handful of seconds to come to a decision about purchasing the product. This brief window is the marketer’s main opportunity to influence them into buying. Even if we agree with this theory, the few seconds the consumer takes to decide is not entirely about your product but also their shopping behavior, their subconscious interacting with them. Hence, in order to stay ahead of the curve, you have to adopt a method of including Behavioral Science in your CX alongside inculcating some more practices. Some practices you can adopt are:

Creating A Strong Brand Identity

With the onset of Global Pandemic in 2020, brands have adopted a new Brand Identity to align them with the changing habits of the shoppers. The brand identity goes a long way in separating you from your competitors. A strong and adaptive brand identity would allow your consumers to align with the message.

Understanding What Your Customers Need

There is only so much a CX survey can reveal to you. You need to take a step further and get into the shoes of your customers and understand what they need. Curate the product as per their need. A broad understanding of shopping habits and what goes into altering our shopping behavior would always allow you to be a step ahead of the trend.

Brace New Positive Beliefs

Consumers have their own set of beliefs and a brand that blatantly tries to change the behavior of their customers without acknowledging their beliefs is fighting a battle that brands can’t win. Although it’s difficult, it’s not impossible. COVID 19 caused a massive change in our behavior and many customer experiences provided by brands caused actual behavioral shifts in their customers. Find your sweet spot and embrace the new beliefs that your customers can align with.

Adapt & Sustain New Habits To Stay Ahead

People often alter their habits when they begin to associate new behavior with some particular context. Let’s take an example -- People had sanitisers and wipes near the door during COVID 19. Brands with products that are put-it-by-door can create new habits with their products. Restaurants chain can alter their habits to meet the behavioral change and create new habits that get associated with them and their brands. If you are a brand looking to sell your product or service, make it part of your consumers’ behavior. Behavioral Science and Behavioral Economics have been a detrimental factor in the context of Customer Experience. Once you master the art of understanding your customer behavior and what determines their shopping habits, you can alter your CX to create an experience that becomes the identifying factor for your brand.

Get it delivered
to your Inbox.

No spam, that's a promise!