How many decisions do you think you make in a day 10, 50, 100 or more? Well, whatever you thought, its a lot more!
We make a massive 35,000 decisions per day, as adults, adding up to about 1 million decisions a month.
We make 226 decisions each day just about food, according to a Cornell study.
So why is it important to know how many decisions we make? Well, if you’re like me who vastly underestimated how many decisions I made a day. The ability to identify and understand the decisions users make on your eCommerce website is a potent tool.
The vast majority of these decisions are made by our unconscious brain very rarely tapping into our conscious (or rational brain) to make decisions. That’s why we underestimated how many decisions we made daily because we only counted the decisions made by our rational brain.
4 Factors that influence decision making
We choose what to wear, where to go for lunch or will we go for those after-work drinks. But how many of these decisions are rational and how many are by fueled by emotions? Behaviour science says it’s more emotionally driven than we think.
Psychologists understand that there are 4 main mental processes that influence decisions:
- Cognitive bias: Sometimes these biases are related to memory. Other times they are belief biases e.g. the over-dependence on prior knowledge to decide, omission biases (we tend to leave out information that’s risky), and confirmation bias (we only observe what we expect to see not looking for anything that could prove us wrong).
- Memories: Past decisions and they affect can influence future decions e.g. if you had decided not to read shipping FAQ and then had a terrible time returning an item next time you’ll decide to read the FAQ before purchasing to avoid repeating the past mistake.
- Reason: Using the best information we have available to us at the time of decision making, but it’s incomplete.
- Emotions: Decisions are emotional. Don’t believe me? Antonio Damasio, A Neuroscientist, made this discovery when he studied people who had damaged the part of their brain where emotions were made. They seemed normal, except they couldn’t feel emotions and they couldn’t make decisions. They could logically explain it but struggled to make even simple decisions, like what to eat… because decisions are based on emotion.
Persuasive journey mapping
Bart Schutz, consumer psychologist and co-founder and COI at OnlineDialogue, author of the Wheel-of-Persuasion.com and inventor of the ‘evidence everything’ based Persuasive Journey Mapping method spoke at CXL ConversionXL Live 2016 Conference on the importance of understanding of what drives your customers buying journeys and provide you with a psychology-based optimisation framework to help you.
5 Insights from his talk at CXL LIVE are:
- The brain is made up of two “systems”(Dual Process Theory).
- System 1 is fast, automatic, subconscious, and emotional.
- System 2 is deliberate, rational, and conscious.
- We rationalize after the fact (post-purchase rationalisation) so what we thought was a rational decision was really an emotional one.
- Humans do “mental accounting,” a subjective coding and categorization of economic outcomes. An example of this framing is “Do you know what a good night’s sleep costs you? The average person sleeps 8 hours a night and a minimum of 10 years on this bed. For a perfect night of sleep on this bed you only pay €0.82/month”.
- There 3 Levels of conversion rate optimisation(CRO):
- Customer Journey
- Ask people rationally and they say “hate popups”, but they increase conversions. Why? Perhaps because they require effort (to X). Effort tells your brain you like something because you’re willing to put it in.
Master the moment of decision making with neuroscience
At the end of the day, if a campaign, website or landing page is successful or not is down to one thing – A human making a decision. Using Applied Neuroscience methods to measure attention, emotion & memory to master the moment of decision. The science behind decision making has been researched by psychologists and neuroscientists for a decade but only now getting a practical application, Karsten Lund talk’s about this at Elite Camp 2016:
- The key factors in decision quality:
- Measure emotion with a combination of eye-tracking and brain tracking (EEG).
- Emotional impact + connection to brand = success ( Volkswagens’ The Force commercial worked better than Evians’ Baby and Me because they inserted the brand mid stream into the commercial not just dropped in at the end like Evian)
- Unconscious factors influence the way we pay attention to visual information e.g. colours, schemes and details.
For example, I bet you immediately your eyes went to the girl and not Godzilla. That because we unconsciously paid attention to the girl and only later consciously noticed Godzilla(if at all, until it was mentioned).
- Compared to 10 years ago when branding campaigns were only on TV, today memory allocation is scattered across multiple devices and activities at a time.
There you have it we are driven by our subconscious brain who automatically makes decisions for us and we rationalise afterwards. And these decisions are triggered by emotions. As above if we had damage to the part of our brain that makes decisions we’d be left unable to make, even the simplest decision, proving that decisions are tried to emotions (whether we like it or not).
So what does that mean for you as an eCommerce business owner? You need to make sure your marketing, advertising and website is laid out in such a way that it taps into emotions and therefore decisions to make sure that they click and purchase not just bounce off your website never to be seen again.
Your website needs to be evocative, so no bland text and images. The best way to achieve this is to spend time understanding you target market what are they interested in/what makes them tick then it will be easier for you to use words and images to trigger emotions as they view your market or website.
Whatever you use needs to mean something to them and make the user feel something e.g. desire for your product as if will fill a need for them.