There are many paths to the emotional customer approach

Thinking about emotion in e-commerce, it is easy to get caught up in clichés: Happiness and the mood for shopping always appear to go hand in hand. This may be true for usability and the user experience, however, looking at the emotions which make us reach for our (virtual) credit cards, it seems they are not always positive (quite the contrary).

The ‘wheel of emotions’ by American psychologist Robert Plutchik shows that orientation around positive feelings falls short of the mark, because they constitute just a small part of our emotional states.

Plutchik-wheel” by Machine Elf 1735Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Marketing campaigns, such as “miserliness is marvellous,” have long since recognised that it is not always positive feelings which drive us.

For instance, it is the fear of losing a new pair of glasses which advices us to take out an insurance policy for them. Anger over exploitation and chemical additives in clothing material leads us to buy sustainably. Jealousy, or the need to keep up, can be a trigger to buy high-end products.

An interesting approach will take the complete width of human emotions into account, and thereby achieve new forms of customer approach. Selectively raising an issue and offering a solution can also make use of negativity. When the client gets the feeling that their problems are taken seriously and solutions are being offered, this leads back to positive emotions.

Topics such as emotional customer approaches will be dealt with at our Handelskraft E-Commerce Breakfast taking place in eight cities in Germany and Switzerland this year.

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