In product development and marketing, personas are used to visualize who should buy the product on offer, such as a new couch. Personas are helpful in creating socio-demographically sound targeting. But they rarely touch the level that is most important when making a purchase: the emotions, says the managing director of the digital consultancy Etribes and etailment expert Stefan Luther. He explains why visions of feelings are particularly important in online trading – and how sensory impressions can be transmitted digitally.
Single, between 30 and 35 years old, living in the big city, not a pet, eating on the couch – information like this can be found in the biographies of so-called personas.
Personas, customer journeys and the like are tools that have proven their worth. They give a good overview and structure the expected shopping behavior. But hand to heart: We rarely shop like this. We jump back and forth in the customer journey, just like we switch browser tabs, let ourselves be guided by spontaneous impulses and sensory impressions, instead of following the socio-demographically expected pattern.
© IMAGO / Westend 61
Enthusiastic customers when shopping online: Customer centricity not only includes socio-demographic aspects, but also what end customers perceive and feel.
Rational buying only takes place on the drawing board
That is why companies should supplement their market research with a central question much more often, namely: What do I trigger with end customers with my product?
With this perspective, the focus is no longer just on demographic questions or touchpoints, but on what the end customers really perceive and feel. It’s a form of customer centricity. And addressing this emotional level, as it were, is becoming more and more important when shopping online.
Understand feelings and address them specifically
Let’s take the example from above again – buying a couch on the Internet – and imagine a pyramid with several levels for the purchase decision: On the lowest level, as a fundamental element, are the basic decisions, such as what size and shape the sofa should have . Above are the levels for price, color and material. This information covers most of the online retailers with their product searches and filters.
But how the sofa feels and how it fits into the living room, these are the levels at the top of the pyramid. So far, these questions have rarely been answered when shopping online, but they are central and ultimately decide whether we buy (or keep) the sofa or not. They can be answered by manufacturers and retailers alike.
Apple and Ikea
The smartphone giant Apple is also the measure of all things when it comes to emotional visions: with his recent product show he didn’t just present products, he always addressed the emotional level in a very clever way.
Apple deliberately considered in advance what the audience would feel during the presentation and how they should act afterwards. Based on this, the group then sent viewers on a journey into the new product worlds.
But sensory impressions can also be conveyed to customers far away from Hollywood-style megashows. There are many ways to do this; for example, Ikea offers one Augmented-Reality-App to convey a feeling for potential new furniture and its look and feel in your own four walls.
The role of moving images
But emotions can also be addressed in a targeted manner via your own shop page, for example with video content on product detail pages. Mokebo founder Philip Kehela is also convinced of their great added value when shopping.
© Screenshot / Ikea
In the AR app from Ikea, rooms can be creatively furnished with just a few clicks. The app also suggests alternatives to existing furniture by pointing the camera at it.
Im Podcast Different (from 7:00 p.m. onwards) he explains very clearly how emotional visions can be conveyed in moving images during online furniture shopping: This can happen, for example, when a person sits down on a sofa. Or by reaching into a pillow. Both convey a feeling for the feel of the product and how it reacts to the body.
These impressions arouse emotions in us, let us feel how soft or hard, fluffy or angular, the sofa and the pillow are; Ideally, the videos even convey how we would feel ourselves on them.
Die “Empathy Map”
But how can this principle be applied to all sales channels – from online shops to social media – and to your own products? Of course, by answering the question “What does the product do to customers?” is reflected again and again in every department of the company – from the UX team to project management and marketing.
In order to systematize the answers to this question, the so-called Empathy Map help. It enables you to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What do you see, what do you hear in a certain situation? How are acting as well as thinking and feeling stored? What is bothering you, what do you want – and how could the product make you happier at this moment?
In addition, it is also worth taking a look at the “pains and gains”, i.e. what concerns the customers have – and what wishes.
Satisfying the psychological needs of customers and thus creating new, positively rated experiences – that is what digital retail should be about.
With this holistic idea, customers can be addressed and reached in a more multi-dimensional manner. After all, that is the basic conviction of the benefits of emotional visions: that enthusiastic customers buy more.
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