Consumer Psychology in Retail and Intelligent Guided Selling

‘The Why behind The Buy’

If ‘The Why behind The Buy’ can be understood, brands and retailers can enhance their marketing strategy, improve their customer experience, and drive greater sales conversion.

Consumer Psychology in retail describes the science behind the understanding of why people buy; the reasons they make the decisions they do and how this influences future shopping habits. It’s an integrated discipline, combining marketing, psychology, sociology, and economics. It exposes how we process information, our motivations, shopping intentions and even how external environmental factors, such as scents and sounds, can influence our purchasing actions.


The ever-evolving retail environment

Before 2020, the digital shift in retail was already taking place, however, this was amplified overnight due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the effects of lockdown.

Customer behaviour in the more tech savvy segments quickly adjusted, largely driven by the need for fulfillment. Although consumer demand was accompanied by a greater understanding and tolerance around delivery times, retailers very quickly found themselves having to step up their online experience to keep up with expectations.

According to, in March 2020 there was a 21% increase, year on year, of online orders globally. While shopping from the comfort and safety of your own home has many benefits, there are still many limitations.


Creating new habits

When faced by a catalogue of products on a page, buying new items, more complex purchases, or those where there is a plethora of choice becomes increasingly difficult. Choice blindness and a fear of ‘buyer’s remorse’ play a big role in the consumer psyche.

In store, this can be overcome or guided by consulting with a helpful expert advisor, but without replicating this experience online, customers can lack confidence in their purchases. The results? Delayed purchasing, never-ending research, uncertainty, little confidence to buy in the moment, lost sales, and a poor customer experience.

Less tech savvy consumers need help in developing new shopping habits and are easily put off by poor experiences. Humans have enjoyed trading since caveman times, thus the power of ‘the joy of shopping’ in forming new habits and routines must not be underestimated. A great digital experience affects our emotions, confidence, and the likelihood to buy in the moment and again in the future.


The emergence of Intelligent Guided Selling

Intelligent Guided Selling (IGS) is proven to increase customer confidence when shopping online. IGS is a Software-as-a-Service that integrates easily with e-commerce platforms using dynamic questioning to support and guide customers in their purchase journeys in the same way an expert advisor would do in store. Shoppers are better informed to make purchases that best align to their needs, goals, mindset and desired spend.

Through numerous implementations, intelligent guided selling has been seen to maximize customer engagement, increase conversion rates and boost sales. With greater reliance on online shopping, and the need for more support, particularly across some customer segments, implementing IGS humanizes the shopping experience.

“Invest in delivering a brilliant experience across every part of your customer’s journey at every touch point.” – Craig Inglis (Chair of Marketing Society), September 2020


So, how does Consumer Psychology in Retail impact IGS?

Consumer Psychology insight can be applied to the design of the IGS, ensuring the journey is shaped by a combination of customer mindset and product segmentation criteria.

As a Customer Journey Specialist at Conversity, it is vital to put myself in the shoes of the shopper to take into consideration their attitudes, goals, and psyche, all of which influence a successful purchase. Using psychological knowledge and empathy, the pain points of the consumer’s journey can be understood, enriching the dynamic questions of the IGS to maximize engagement and provide personalized real-time relevant recommendations that deliver ROI.

The consumer participates in an interactive experience, therefore bringing the human element of in-store shopping to the online environment. We call this Being Human online.


Make your customers feel special (and emotional), because they are!

When consumers feel a brand understands their needs, they are more likely to purchase. This is because being listened to and understood feeds into our emotional psyche.

Emotions are central to being human, and they are also central in decision making. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discovered that when the pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for processing our emotions) is damaged, there is difficulty in making even the simplest of decisions. Additionally, neuroimaging studies have shown stronger activation in the areas of the brain responsible for feelings and memory (the limbic system and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex) compared to the brain’s data processing centers when participants viewed brands and products.

It is therefore accepted that consumer’s purchasing decisions are primarily formed and determined by emotions. IGS engages these emotions to empower the consumer to have the confidence to purchase, bringing a new level of personalisation and conversion to online shopping.

Essentially, Consumer Psychology in retail explains why people act the way they do and for retailers and brands understanding ‘The Why behind The Buy’ has never been more important. Empower your customers to buy and get in touch with one of the team at Conversity about intelligent guided selling at