I blogged yesterday about SEO and consumer psychology, with a promise of an article expanding on the ideas I’d outlined – so here goes.
My blog post ended on this premise:
The buying process is no longer walk in, pick up, try on, purchase – the buying process (and selling process) begins days, weeks, months before – even longer I’d argue for major purchases like property and cars.
So I’ll blog next about: the psychology of modern consumers and how businesses need a strategy for converting these consumers into buyers; and how I can help.
So here goes.
I always like to start with a human story – and last week I saw a meme on LinkedIn that amused me. A suited high powered CEO was putting his daughter to bed, asking her “Do you want a story or a talk about content marketing?”
It amused me anyway.
You see, I make no apologies for this but I’m a consumer, a professional consumer. I was born to consume – not food but impulsive purchases of cars, gadgets and the like. I’ve developed some restraint as I’ve got older – but rewind first to 1992.
In 1992, sick of cycling and catching the bus to Failsworth School, Manchester, from Shaw, Oldham, I bought a car from a colleague. It cost a grand for a Durex beige Y reg Nissan Sunny with only 30,000 miles on the clock. Got me laughed at by kids in red Kappa trainers and shell suits as it was profoundly uncool.
So with the loan barely started, I swapped it for a white Fiesta 1.1 Popular, thinking I’d hit the big time, in terms of respect – no, it didn’t work that way. The Fiesta was just uncool.
Never one to shrug things off, I changed schools as payback for their laughter and decided the commute to Farnworth in Bolton from Oldham demanded diesel – a Fiesta diesel. Third loan taken out.
That was my idiotic phase which lasted from 25 to about 45, but at 50, I seem to be leaving that rash financial behaviour behind a bit.
I don’t think I’m untypical either now.
So what is consumer psychology?
It’s how buyers think and behave.
The internet has changed consumer psychology forever.
Let me expand: apart from food and clothes shopping, I personally see town centres, city centres as virtual showrooms. Take yesterday, 4 hours in Norwich, without buying. Same on Saturday.
This, in my opinion, is how consumers work. It’s how I work and I doubt I’m the odd one out and I’ve seen it from running Farrell Walton estate agents.
Consumers get on transport, wander and browse shops, but don’t behave rashly like I did with cars over a 2 year period.
Consumers look, feel, check and then make a decision afterwards based on online information, based on the way a company, brand, product communicates via its social media platforms and its website.
Take the John Lewis shop and website, as a paragon of how to do things right.
The physical shop does not hard sell, it’s a very pleasant place to wander round and engage with partners and managers, who put customer service first. The products in the shop are laid out well with pricing and product information all clear (unlike say the Apple Store).
Their website is the same – user friendly and stuffed with information about products as well as intelligent consumer reviews.
Same with Amazon, that online behemoth – their website is rich with information, as well as excellent prices as well as a reputation for outstanding customer service. Their employees don’t appear to get the same treatment as customers do, but that’s for another blog.
John Lewis have tapped into changing consumer psychology – you might go to the shop and look at the desirable 5K television, leave, research it online and perhaps buy it or not.
But what that shop – both online and physical – does, is come across as authoritative and informative.
Look at car showrooms – the process of buying a new car can take months of test driving, researching and haggling – for some people. That showroom and its website has to make those browsers come back to buy there when the time is right.
Estate agents, please take note.
Selling a home is one of the most emotionally complicated decisions someone makes – moving is up there for stress with death and divorce, remember. Consumers are unlikely to sell their home with you because of a leaflet, an email, a phone call – it’s all about whether they trust you, your brand and your service, whether you’re reputable, have a real presence on social media and a track record of achieving good sale prices.
We had this house valued in January 2013 and decided to put it on the market in November 2015 – that’s a hell of lot of thinking time.
In the end, we opted for an online agent, rather than high street – based on their website, reviews, trust and the quality of their photography and brochures.
So what am I getting at? What am I saying?
Consumer psychology has changed for good.
Your website, your social media communications, your blogging platforms, need to make those buyers look, consider and buy from you – whether that’s today, next month, or in two years’ time.
Estate agents, take note.
Next I will write about estate agents and the strategies they should use to benefit from changing consumer psychology.