Click vs. Brick: How Technology has Transformed the Way We Shop

Shopping is often referred to as America’s favorite pastime. It’s an experience that satisfies on many levels – the hunt and physical acquisition of an item, the dopamine release that stems from instant gratification, a primal sense of providing for oneself, just to name a few. The psychology behind taking a want or a need and transitioning that into a point of purchase has been at the heart of how retailers target consumers for ages. But with the decline of brick and mortar stores and the surge of digital purchase power, technology transformed the way we shop. What can retailers do to capitalize on the power of digital purchase?

One of the greatest draws to point of sale is convenience and price, and the internet provides that in spades. From price comparison and bargain hunting to the availability of a 24-hour purchase cycle, online shopping has become a multi-billion dollar revenue generator. Market research from states that by 2017 online retail sales will reach $370 billion. The satisfaction rate of online shoppers remains remarkably high, a staggering 83%, compared to in-store satisfaction of 76%. Cyber Monday even overtook 2013’s ominous Black Friday with $2.20 billion in online sales, with more than 17% of those shoppers making purchases on their mobile phones (Yahoo Finance). Yet, nearly 68% of shoppers abandon their online carts. How can the strategic design of a retailer’s online presence, via the computer, tablet, and smartphone, help with the final point of sale?

Motivational design takes a three-screen approach to the habits and buying trends of consumers. Categorically speaking, trends emerge within the purchase habits of consumers via the three-screens of engagement – computer, tablet and smartphone. With purchase power remaining steady via the traditional computer, tablet and smartphone purchases are beginning to dominate the way we shop. In fact, tablet spending has nearly doubled from smartphone purchases in recent years.

However, one size does not fit all. A well-designed website does not necessarily translate into a smooth, straightforward tablet application, nor an easy-to-use mobile experience. With consumer attention spans hovering around the 10-second mark, retailers need to limit reasons for shoppers to abandon their site and jump to a competitor that offers a more pleasing, user-friendly experience. A fully responsive design build and motivational design thinking can help combat these potential engagement problems. As a shopper moves through a point of purchase, motivational design can apply a reward system that activates the pleasure centers of the brain, compelling shoppers to continue with their current activity, complete the purchase, and consequently increase the likelihood of returning at a later date.

Our strategists and user experience experts help to identify the various elements of motivation of consumers in an online sales environment, and then design motivational tactics that are appropriate for each identified target market. Following a consumer-first approach to your website and app will lead to higher levels of engagement and is done by clearly understanding what motivates people through a deeper insight of what they are thinking, feeling and doing while contemplating an acquisition. From there we build the framework to activate these moments of opportunity to increase their attention, retention and bring in that final sale.


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