How to Use Emotional Content For Your E-Commerce Site

You may have the fastest e-commerce site on the web or the most user-friendly interface. Still, to optimize your conversion, you need to focus on more than the technical aspects of your offerings. We’ve all been excited by some purchases one way or another, so we know that shopping is always an emotional experience. 

Every step along the way adds new thrills, from the research process to the payment. When you buy a service or product, you may find yourself unexpectedly emotional during the process.

This article will explore why you should consider emotional content when it comes to your e-commerce channels. We’ll also review the advantages that considering emotionality can accrue for your e-commerce business and how you can make this approach work for your brand.

Shopping Is Emotional

No matter whether one likes to spend all Sunday at a local mall or has a mild obsession with online shopping, it’s hard to deny the excitement that purchasing goods and services can create. Advertisers and marketing agencies have long integrated this concept into their tactics to motivate customers to buy products or services. 

An advertisement that elicits particular emotions can dictate how successfully the brand reaches its desired demographic. Often the purchasing choices we make are very seldom based on rational reasons. Instead, our emotions drive our decisions. 

Science backs this argument; Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman corroborates. According to his theory, the brain region he refers to as System 1 plays a role in making decisions. It relies on feeling and emotions to make choices and is larger and faster than our logic-driven parts of the brain, also known as System 2.

The views aren’t exclusive to Kahneman. Neuroimaging studies suggest our emotional centers operate more actively than our information-processing ones during an evaluation of a brand. The same research also demonstrates that an advertisement’s emotional effect wields a more substantial impact on someone’s motivations to purchase than the content of the ad itself such as in the example below. But how can you capture and incite emotions on a digital level?

© Toms, Fair use

E-Commerce and Emotions

Technology offers us so many different ways to monitor and utilize customer behavior. In many ways, e-commerce has become more about convenience and less about a human experience. But relying on the convenience of your e-commerce store alone is a mistake. Online sales and marketing can only inform merchants so much. Marketers also need to measure to fully comprehend their customers as emotional catalysts like excitability or anxiety.

Different aspects like marketing information need to capitalize on customers’ hopefulness or offer information like “Just two left in stock” to provoke a sense of urgency. By combining a great website with excellent content, you will trigger emotions that drive purchase decisions. This means that integrating current data with emotional insights could help retailers engage their customers at a much deeper level.

How You Can Harness Emotion for E-Commerce Success

Having established that emotional content is a beneficial driving force for e-commerce, let’s think about how it can help you in your business. It may feel a bit overwhelming for digital types who are more technically oriented. Which emotions do you want to make your visitors feel? How can you accomplish this? In what way do you evaluate the return on investment of an emotionally intelligent e-commerce store?

While we have thousands of emotions, a few regularly prove advantageous in a commercial context. These include celebrating individuality, hopefulness, wellness, freedom, exhilaration, and belonging. You can better engage your customers and create an effective conversion strategy by understanding their hearts and minds. 

You can start channeling emotion via your site in several meaningful ways:

1. Don’t Use Boring Website Templates or Uninteresting Design

While your website may be highly operational and practical, it may not convey the unique brand personality needed to evoke a visitor’s emotional response. When the price is the only differentiator between your website and another, where is the shopper’s limit on their quest for value?

By the same token, how can your website give consumers the feeling of being celebrated for who they are and help them relate to your brand more effectively?  Design and emotion are innately connected, so be sure to incorporate your brand’s personality into your website design to spark a much more emotional reaction.

2. Ensure Your UX Is Streamlined and Effortless

To facilitate checkout without the purchase changing from an emotional one to a rational one: 

  • Make sure you create a seamless experience.
  • Post checkout information in a clear and easy-to-read format to dispel security fears.
  • Keep the checkout process compelling and straightforward, with the end goal always in sight.

Apple is a relevant example due to well organized and extremely easy-to-navigate site, as well as due to its checkout experience.

Screenshot of Apple's website
© Apple, Fair use

3. Use Visual Media to Evoke Emotions

Photographs and videos are powerful tools for evoking emotion quickly; images form the basis of customer connections, whether taken in a studio, on location or lightened with artificial light.

While the description of a product is essential when choosing products, an image elicits an emotional response much more quickly and a video featuring the product even more. With the rise of technological solutions for showcasing products in various ways, try uploading your product photos to a video maker and seeing the impact video format has on your audience.

Our neurology plays a vital role in facial perception, which means we are very sensitive to people’s images and facial expressions. Using visual media with human faces on your website as Nike did can help you get the attention of potential customers.

Nike's advertisement features the face of Colin Kaepernick with the caption: Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.
© Nike, Fair use

4. Make It Personal

Our desire to feel cared for is among the most positive human emotions that exist. Every e-commerce company knows the benefits of excellent customer care. Still, when you weave a little extra in online, this positive effect is magnified even further.

Some retailers monitor customer recovery situations and previous purchases. They use this information to provide customized recommendations, leveraging artificial intelligence technologies. This degree of “personal responsiveness” helps make customers feel unique, cared for, and more emotionally engaged.

Companies need to remember that the customer journey is ongoing. The more a customer trusts a brand, the more likely they are to purchase from that brand. Likewise, the more emotionally triggered by a brand they are, the more likely they become customers. 

Using emotional content to tap into natural, human emotions, even on an e-commerce level, can enable companies to transform curious browsers and potential customers into regular buyers. 

Where to Learn More

Psychology plays an important role in user experience design. To learn more about the different ways psychology can help in UX Design, consider taking the following courses:

If you’re new to UX design, check out the open-source library of UX Literature here.

Happy learning!

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