“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. “
In a retail setting, it’s crucial to connect with your customers on an emotional level. Whether you’re trying to persuade them to purchase something or make them feel welcome, appealing to their emotions is the key to success. This blog looks at why business models, good customer service principles, and marketing strategies must connect to customers through values and emotions.
Here are three critical takeaways from this article:
- How emotions drive consumer decision making
- How values and beliefs influence consumer behavior
- How to build emotional and value-based connections with customers
Emotions drive our decision-making and buying patterns.
When customers are presented with a decision: First, comparable feelings from the past surface and influence initial thoughts. Second, emotions establish preferences that unconsciously affect our purchasing choice. Lastly, and most significantly, emotions force us to act.
How are emotions connected to our shopping decisions?
We, as customers, are compelled to react when confronted with emotion. Emotions motivate us to take action and, in the retail context, buy or not buy! According to Inc.com, all buying decisions stem from six emotional states:
- Greed. “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”
- Fear. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”
- Altruism. “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”
- Envy. “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”
- Pride. “If I make a decision now, I will look smart.”
- Shame. “If I don’t make a decision now, I will look stupid.”
These emotional states apply to individuals, groups, and entities, such as companies and governments. In any situation where people are involved, emotional states and value perceptions play a role in customer experience.
Customers Remember the Experience
In order to effectively connect with your customers in retail, it is essential to understand what drives them emotionally. This might include creating incentives or appealing to their sense of social responsibility or personal growth. By creating an engaging customer experience tailored specifically to the emotional drivers of each customer, you will be able to build deeper emotional connections with retail customers. For example, in a recent two-year survey study conducted by Motista:
- 306% Customer Retention Rate for customers who had an emotional connection with a brand versus merely satisfied customers! (Motista)
- 80% of consumers feel more emotionally connected to a brand when customer service solves their problem. (Motista)
Whether it’s making repeat purchases at retail stores, spreading the word about your brand online, or providing valuable feedback on products and services, connecting with customers on an emotional level will help ensure continued success and customer engagement for years to come.
Companies are very concerned about competition and reputation
A recent report published by the CBC found that: “Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Nestlé continue to be the world’s biggest plastic polluters, according to data compiled by the global environmental organization Break Free From Plastic.” As a result, the companies responded by announcing:
- Coca-Cola promised to make its products with 50% of recycled material by 2030.
- PepsiCo stated it will aim to reduce by 35% its use of virgin (unrecycled) plastic content by 2025.
- Nestlé has said it’s moving toward having all reusable or recyclable packaging in the next five years.
Clearly, businesses do not want to attract customer attention through negative publicity.
Customers want to Support Companies that stand for something.
There’s the karmic value in the minds of consumers in the retail industry! Simply put, they want to feel good about their purchase history and the brand they support. Accenture notes in its research that customer preferences are to buy from businesses that represent a mission that matches their (the customer’s) values and beliefs. Recent Survey studies provide evidence:
- 76% of Consumers are also drawn to brands that are committed to using good quality ingredients (marketing dive)
- 74% said they want more transparency in how companies highlight issues like sourcing products, ensuring safe working conditions, and enforcing policies on animal testing.
- 71% of Consumers Prefer Buying from Companies Aligned with Their Values (marketing dive)
- 63% of surveyed global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their values and beliefs (marketing dive)
- 65% preferred giving their business to companies that treat employees well (marketing dive)
- 62% are focused on reducing plastics and improving the environment (marketing dive)
According to a study by Market Dive, customers want businesses to take a position on the social, cultural, environmental, and political issues they care about most. In addition, a recent article by Small Business Trends emphasizes the need for brand consistency, corporate values, and ethics in attracting new consumers, retaining loyal customers, and generally expanding one’s business.
How to build emotional connections – Repeat customers & Loyal Shoppers
- Be dependable, consistent, fair, and predictable; customers should receive the same customer experience every time they do business with you your retail store or online operation: 45% of consumers said the ability of brands to deliver what they expect when they expect it is their top consideration when trusting a brand (retail customer experience)
- Remembering names and personal details are great customer service skills to learn about. Knowing a customer’s name helps to increase customer engagement by connecting to their identity and individuality. Using someone’s name and remembering it shows a greater connection to who that person is. By remembering someone’s name and using it when you see them again, a person will feel influential and respected (nametag)
- Keep your promises and, more importantly, act on them: keeping promises demonstrates reliability and integrity and builds trust: 90% of all customers use online reviews as part of their research at the local and national level (Medium) This will say a lot about you and your store’s customer service.
- Be transparent; publish good and bad reviews for both your retail store and your online store. It may be the best feedback you ever get. A retail outlet with no reviews or only exceptional reviews is suspicious.
- Make it easy to do business with your company, for example, a simple payment process, return policy, or a user-friendly website or app. If you run an Ecommerce business, ensure that your parcel tracking service is accurate, reliable, and easy to use. Being transparent is good customer service. 94% of respondents will stay loyal to a transparent brand. Approximately 75% of these same customers will be happy to pay more for products or services from a brand they believe to be genuine (latana)
- Be accessible; provide as many ways as possible for your customer to contact you. If feasible, don’t be afraid to contact your customer and ask how their product works. Studies show: that this type of customer service will increase retention rates by 5%. And it also notes that a 5% increase can increase profits by up to 95%, but a lack of accessibility reduces customer retention. (Bureau of Internet Accessibility)
- Be sure that your products work as they are supposed to and that they are not damaged: 89% of respondents in a consumer survey say that businesses can regain their trust if they take the steps necessary to resolve a problem (The Fulfillment Lab)
- If you are operating an Ecommerce business, be sure your product arrives on time and undamaged!. If you find out that the product will be late, contact your customer and inform them. They may upset a few customers, but they will respect that you told them. In contrast, not telling them demonstrates that you do not care. 52 % of consumers blame the company it was purchased from, while 48% blame the shipping company that handled the delivery. (Web Marketing Pros)
- Treat your employees with respect; customers will appreciate and respect it. Your employees are an extension of your company when they are on the clock or at work: 82% of customers said they were more likely to visit a business that takes extra steps to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees, with 31% considering it a “must-have.” (Deloitte Digital)
- Offer ethical products to your customers and discontinue questionable products: a survey study revealed 88% of consumers want brands to help them be more environmentally cautious and ethical. (Forbes)
“While most marketers agree that activating emotional connection is important, it remains a largely untapped opportunity for driving growth. But (studies show) emotional connection can be identified, measured, and quantified, and used to drive customer acquisition, increase the share of wallet, achieve higher lifetime value, build stronger loyalty, and influence brand advocacy.”
-Michael Mathias, president of Motista
So, what does this mean for your business? First, it means that you need to start thinking about data not just in terms of numbers and statistics but also in terms of values and emotions. You need to consider how you make customers feel and what they value. Only then will you be able to create a customer loyalty strategy that truly works for your company. Remember, it’s not enough to gather data anymore—you have to use that data to understand your customers emotionally and show them that you appreciate their business.