Emotional Buying Decisions – and What This Means for Your Site Content

Here’s a fact: When someone makes a decision to buy something that isn’t a necessity, they make that decision based on emotion rather than logic.

Things like food, mortgage payments and utility bills are necessities. The decision to pay for them is based on logic, to ensure that you and your family don’t end up starving, homeless or without water. Items such as a new sports car or a pair of expensive leather boots are luxury items. And when people decide to buy a luxury item, they justify it with emotions.

Take the sports car example. Yes, it’s functional in that it gets the driver from A to B. But if that was all someone wanted from a vehicle, they’d buy a reliable family car. The primary reasons for buying a sports car are always emotional ones: It’ll make me look younger/cooler/more attractive to the opposite sex.

The same is true of the leather boots. Their primary function is for walking – but cheap trainers do the job just as well. If you’re buying handmade leather boots, crafted from the softest leather, it’s because you want to look fashionable, affluent or professional.

So what does this mean for your site? Basically, if you’re selling anything other than necessary items, you need to tap into your customers’ emotions rather than just listing the properties of each product. Sure, that new TV is 42 inches wide, and the Blu-ray player that comes with it lets you watch films through the TV. But these are rational, logical facts that don’t belong at the top of a webpage. In order to make people really want this particular TV/Blu-ray combo, you need to paint a picture of how the product will improve their lives and make them happier, more relaxed, and enjoy their viewing experience more.

Here are two descriptions of the same product:

1: 42″ Plasma HD television with 3D. Access to subscription-free HD channels. Built in surround sound. Blu-ray player. HDMI cable not included.

2: Bring your favourite programmes to life with this amazing plasma HD TV. With 3D technology, you can really immerse yourself in the shows you love, from wildlife documentaries to high-speed car chases. This sleek 42″ TV comes with a Blu-ray player, so you can relax with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy new releases and old classic movies. You’ll also benefit from built-in surround sound for that extra special experience. And what’s more, you’ll have access to all the subscription-free HD channels. All you need to create this unique viewing experience is an HDMI lead.

Both descriptions convey the facts and figures. But the second one uses emotive language – “immerse yourself in the shows you love”, “relax with a bowl of popcorn”, “extra special experience” – to make the TV sound more appealing. Buying this TV, according to the second description, will make your viewing experience more enjoyable, more relaxing and more personal. And that’s the first thing people want to know when they’re making a luxury purchase. Once they’ve made the decision to buy based on their emotions, then they start to look at the basic facts and figures.

In short? People make decisions based on emotion, and then justify them with logic. So if you really want your products to appeal to your customers, make sure you emphasise the ways in which the item will make them feel successful, fashionable, sexy, relaxed, attractive – or whatever other emotion you want to evoke.