Customer Stress Shopping: Where Are Retailers Going Wrong?
According to newly released research from Clicktale, as many as 75 percent of consumers admit to engaging in "stress shopping" — i.e., using impulse purchases and shopping sprees as a way to relieve negative emotions.
But while most of us would be happy to admit that our shopping patterns are emotionally driven, few retailers seem to have grasped the vital role that emotions — and in particular, stress — play throughout the customer journey.
Currently, with more than one in 10 consumers experiencing high stress levels when purchasing online or via mobile, it’s clear that retailers have failed both to cater to consumer needs and to take advantage of a tangible business opportunity. Instead, consumers report high levels of stress across almost every aspect of the customer journey, from their experiences with mobile apps to online checkout, right through to their activities in-store.
So, what can brands do to understand the relationship between stress shopping and the customer experience?
1. Consider emotions.
First, brands must think much more carefully about the role of emotions in the shopping experience and determine exactly where the path to purchase is being interrupted by negative emotions.
While traditional metrics such as cart abandonment rate have previously helped identify some of these issues, in the increasingly crowded retail environment it’s more important than ever for retailers to find the subtle points of differentiation that allow their brands to excel. The best way to achieve this is by looking beyond conversion rates and traditional data sets, and instead start to consider the consumer’s emotions.
2. Identify stressors.
When it comes to stress, relying on traditional website analytics is no longer enough. In order to improve customer experience, retailers must take into account even the smallest of actions, including those that don't register in a traditional analytics platform. These come in the form of micro signals such as mouse movements, app scrolls or "rage clicks," giving brands the opportunity to see where patterns of frustration and stress are occurring.
By adopting this additional layer of experience analytics, brands are able to develop far more meaningful insights into their customers. They're not just building a profile of their behaviors, but also of their shopping moods and emotions throughout the retail journey.
3. Don’t just ask.
Customer feedback is obviously a critical part of any retail operation, but is it enough? Numerous studies have shown that consumers are open to bias and don’t always share their honest opinions when providing feedback. At the same time, even when consumers think they’re sharing honest feedback, there's growing evidence that they might not necessarily know what they want. Clicktale’s research has shown that consumers buy because of a whole array of emotions and ad hoc mood swings. When asked about their decision making, however, the vast majority of consumers believe themselves to be fundamentally rational when they shop.
Instead of relying purely on customer feedback, brands need to incorporate far more indirect forms of feedback. While it's true that hard data is important for the success of a business, it's not the be-all and end-all of customer experience. Every customer is unique, with moods, personality traits and different ways of browsing online. As such, a better understanding of these personas and customer emotions can often be gained by incorporating psychology into the retail journey.
To address this reality, brands must adopt a combined approach. This union of data-driven technology and a deeper understanding of emotion will create significant improvements to the customer experience. In the long run this will help strengthen customer loyalty and build brand perception on a larger scale, allowing both retailers and customers to benefit from an improved relationship.
Geoff Galat is the chief marketing officer at Clicktale, an enterprise experience analytics provider.
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