The Emotional Journey of a Shopping Trip

By Vincent Naigeon

Worries continue to exist about the future of brick-and-mortar stores thanks to the rise of online shopping. However, examining the emotional journey which a customer embarks on during a shopping trip can be helpful for retailers, providing pointers as to how businesses can continue to draw customers into their physical stores, and complement the experience of online shopping.

Our emotional state while shopping can be influenced by a range of factors around us. Color can play an important part, its effects producing different results for men and women. While men respond positively to blue, green and black, women tend to prefer blue, purple and green. Grey, orange and brown are less popular with women meanwhile, and men respond less positively to purple, orange and brown. Blue is also a color that people tend to associate with trust and responsibility. While these findings are perhaps not the most groundbreaking, conforming more or less as we would expect to gender stereotypes, they’re worth paying attention to when marketing a product.

It’s also worth considering how little time it takes for us to form an opinion about a product. Within 90 seconds we have a pretty solid view of a product, and 62 – 90 percent of that interaction is determined by color alone, so it’s important that a positive impression is made, and the rights colors are selected.

In terms of how men and women’s emotions differ while shopping, research has also shown that men tend to be more task-focused when shopping — they want to find what they came for and leave. Women meanwhile can be more interested in browsing. For example, when shopping for DIY products, women focus on the end goal of their imagined ‘new home’ and seem to enjoy the shopping experience more than men, shopping in a broader way. Men are less forward-thinking in this respect, as they are often only looking for the specific product to complete a specific task, and become unhappy when they cannot find it.

Stores which provide customers with new ideas and special offers — something unexpected which feels like a ‘treat’ also tends to fare well, as this creates a positive emotional reaction. Other ways in which customers’ moods can be heightened during a shopping trip include leaving the store with something, even if they have just been browsing — for example, a catalog of products, or details of an offer. This is one of the areas in which brick-and-mortar stores can leverage the power of e-commerce — the online shopping experience, instead of being completely removed from shopping in-store, can be utilized as a primer experience for shoppers. After browsing or completing a purchase online, users can be sent special deals or bespoke promotions that can be used in store. This works the other way around as well, creating a comprehensive experience. These special offers can make customers feel extremely valued during their journey with your business.

Finally, a store, which leaves the customer with a good lasting impression, can heighten their mood significantly, and see them more likely to return in the future. This is where excellent customer service is particularly crucial and can have a huge impact on mood. If a customer feels they have been served poorly, the checkout can become a focal point for negative emotions.

Vincent Naigeon is the Managing Director of BRIDGE, where he focuses on driving global strategy, growth and operations.  Prior to his time at BRIDGE, he founded both Keebitz and Advertory GmbH where he served as Chief Technology Officer. He has worked as a Software Engineer at Kelkoo and Yahoo, where his field of expertise was ‘Local Search’. Vincent’s passion for mountain-bike sports kickstarted his entrepreneurial spirit at the age of 13 when he founded his first company, - the biggest community of mountain bikers in France – which was acquired by the European action sports leader 1997 Media. Vincent holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science with a major in Software Architecture.