Consumer Psychology


At first glance, the act of a purchase may seem as simple as an on-need basis, but the truth is consumers purchase items for a multitude of reasons. But what is the psychology behind purchases and how can you tap consumers’ minds to boost sales? Here is a look at how purchases are made and the psychology behind the consumer culture.


What Consumers Want


The late Steve Jobs was a genius in innovation, but he was also a genius in marketing. He once said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them,” and when you think about the products he created, such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad, it’s difficult to argue with that assessment. No consumer could have said they wanted one of these products before it was created, as only Jobs knew what they would be. That’s why consumer psychology is about the unconscious, when people make purchases for reasons of which they are unclear. The steps it takes for a purchase to be made is a long one, however with an understanding of the psychology you can push consumers in the right direction.


Steps of a Purchase


The Internet has changed the way people buy. No longer is it a linear process of advertisement that informs consumers what they need. In this digital age, consumers shop around far more than they once did. They ask friends, families and read product and customer reviews before they narrow down a product or brand.


First, consumers are exposed to your brand and product. This must be ongoing. It must make your brand and your product familiar. Then there is a trigger of some kind. The trigger causes a list of brands in a consumer’s mind. Once the consumer decides on the purchase they move into an active evaluation process in which more brands of similar products are considered. This is when they may reach out to friends and family for a second opinion. The last stage is closure, or the actual purchase of the object that has been evaluated. Many consumers, even once they step into a store, haven’t made a decision on which brand they will choose. If your product is the familiar one, the one that feels safe and reliable, they will likely choose that one. Take LifeLock as an example, well known for it’s educational updates on social media. Brand recognition comes from advertisements, social media pages and engagement.


Brand Personality


While it may seem strange that brands have a personality like a consumer’s aunt or best friend, image promotes a brand’s personality. Visiting Apple, and Steve Jobs again, shows us how the image of a brand attracts a certain type of person. When people think of Mac users they think artistic, entrepreneurial, self-starters and free-thinkers. Consumers buy products they can identify with (or reflect the person they want to be). Identify your demographic and build your brand around that image. Personality can be shown in the form of advertisements and social media interactions.