In 1993, two psychologists undertook a now-famous experiment into the impact of ‘atmospherics’ upon consumer purchasing behaviors. Taking over a popular US wine store, David Kim and Charles Areni of Texas Tech University spent two months alternating the music played in-store between classical and pop.
As potential buyers entered the store, Kim and Areni monitored the number of people who examined, handled, and purchased wine, along with how much they were willing to spend on a particular bottle.
The result? Consumers were not only twice as likely to purchase wine when classic music was played, they were also willing to spend up to three times more for a single bottle! They concluded that the experiential factors that surrounded consumers were directly impacting not only what they wanted to buy, but also how much they were willing to spend.
25 years later, the idea that ‘atmospherics’ – the experiences that surround a product – influence purchase decisions is now part and parcel of modern retail, with store designers spending months and even years perfecting their in-store experiences to maximize sales and consumer satisfaction.
The only question is, what happens to all these atmospheric designs when consumers stop shopping in store and start shopping on their mobile devices?
How can brands control the atmospheres that their consumers buy in – and the mindsets that those atmospheres create – when they have no idea if their shoppers are buying at home, on the bus, in the office, or after a hard day’s work?
The reality is, they can’t. The consumer is now in control, and their moods, mindsets, and emotions will lead the decision-making process and ultimately inform whether they walk away from your site, app, or online store with a positive or negative experience.
This puts retailers in a tricky situation, making it harder than ever to manage customer experiences and to ensure a positive result for everyone involved. What is needed is a new approach; not to shaping buyer mindsets, but to understanding what mindset a consumer is in when they first enter your virtual store.
This is where experience analytics comes in. By analyzing clicks, hovers, scrolls, and mouse movements, today’s retailers can develop an understanding of the moods and mindsets that consumers are in when they arrive on an ecommerce site or app. This empowers retailers to know which of their audiences are looking for a bit of leisurely retail therapy (perhaps while browsing during a boring bus journey) and which are in a rush to make their purchase and jump offline (such as quickly buying something between meetings at work).
By thinking about the customer’s psychology in this way, experience analytics helps place the consumer in context, providing greater conversion rates for retailers and a better overall experience for customers.