Consumer Psychology:

How To Use Psychology to Sell Online

By James Atkinson, LLB

What is consumer psychology? Modern marketing and consumer research allow marketers to use selling theories that are tested and proven. Many veteran marketers also derive this knowledge from their own experience.

In this series on consumer psychology, I take you through a number of consumer buying behavior articles:

Why Buyers Buy: In this introduction article I look at the consumer decision making process via the theories of Drs Glenn and Sharon Livingston. They argue that all purchases are the result of an emotional need. Consumers meet their needs with action - by buying products. In addition they say buyers have to logically justify their buying decision.

The Buyer's Mind: From a marketer's perspective, I provide an image of the buyer's mind that maps all of the major topics related to the buyer's mind. The image shows that the GOAL of all marketing is to enhance the buyer's self esteem.

Buyer Emotions: According to Dr. Livingston there are only four core buying emotions: mad, glad, scared and sad. I look at each of these buyer emotions.

Emotional Benefits are an important element in consumer buying psychology. I look at emotional benefits and how they are related to the consumer buying decision process.

Emotional Benefits and Buying: There is a strong caveat in using emotional benefits: in marketing it's not a good idea to directly express emotional benefits or pure emotions.

Prospect Attitudes and Buying: When marketing, you will need to target the underlying beliefs and feelings that make up buyer attitudes, moving them from what they believe when you first make contact, to what they need to believe in order to buy.

Groups Influence Buying: Groups of people can exert powerful 'social influence' on prospects who will draw conclusions about the 'right' way to behave, or the persuasiveness of an idea, based on what other people are doing.

Buyer Perceptions and Self Concept: I explore the idea that people buy products and brands because it allows them to feel or say something positive about themselves.

Goal Of All Marketing: In this article I explore the idea that emotional benefits are simply positive statements customers can make about themselves because they use a product or brand (the process is usually unconscious).

Purchaser Reactions: After a buyer makes a buying decision, a process to justify the decision occurs. A buyer may also get buyer's remorse and try to return the product. Thus it's good business psychology to understand this process and deal with these two buyer reactions.

(Prior to this series of articles please see: Persuasion Psychology.)