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Customer Journey Psychology: More Rollercoaster Than Straight Line

A customer journey path to purchase is more like a series of loops than a straight line. Psychology plays a role in the path, as do values and emotions.

Alex Kennedy
Alex Kennedy

Dec 11, 2023

Customer Journey Psychology: More Rollercoaster Than Straight Line


Buckle up, folks, because we're about to take a wild rollercoaster ride through the twisty, turny world of the customer journey. Forget what you've been told about a linear path to purchase – that's nothing more than a fairy tale

In reality, consumers navigate a circuitous route that's more like a rollercoaster ride than a straight line. And let me tell you, it's a hilarious and unpredictable adventure. 

It also very rarely - if ever, fits into the traditional marketing funnel that was developed for above-the-line media in specific geolocations to drive footfall traffic and in-store purchases.

Traditional sales funnel vs. “something else”

Picture this: you're on a quest to buy something. You start off with awareness, sure, but then things take a turn. Suddenly, you're veering sideways, going back and forth, and even doing a few loop-de-loops. It's chaos, but it's also strangely exhilarating. 

And just when you think you're getting close to making a purchase, you find yourself right back where you started. Talk about a wild ride! Honestly, think about something you’re looking to buy online right now. When was the last time you saw a single ad, thought to yourself, “Hey, that looks cool,” clicked on the ad, and completed the purchase? 

Unless you go against the trend massively, you don’t really do that at all!

To make matters even more amusing, the rise of digital shopping has added a whole new layer of complexity to the mix. It's like trying to navigate a digital maze with roadblocks at every turn. You never know when you'll hit a dead end or end up in a virtual whirlpool. It's a digital thruway with more twists and turns than a pretzel. 

Sales is all about emotion

But fear not; there's a method to this madness. According to consumer psychologist Chris Gray, the key is to start at the end and work your way backward. It's like trying to solve a puzzle in reverse – a challenge worthy of a comedic movie plot. 

By understanding the emotional needs that drive consumers, brands can anticipate their behavior and guide them through the labyrinthine customer journey. (And how do we do that? Consumer Journey analytics. Data will tell you the story, both now and over time.)

You see, it turns out that humans are not just driven by material desires. No, no, no. Our emotional needs are the real MVPs here. We all want to maximize positive emotions, express our identities, nurture social relationships, and achieve our goals. It's a hilarious mix of emotional, chaotic paths and heartwarming sitcom moments. And guess what? Brands that tap into these emotional needs are the ones that win our hearts and our company’s P&Ls.

In the traditional model, brands would dangle functional benefits like carrots to entice customers along the path. But let's be real – emotions are the real showstoppers. We want the promise of emotional rewards, the warm fuzzy feelings that come from aligning with our values. 

So, brands, if you want to win our love and loyalty, you better start talking about values at every touchpoint. It's like a stand-up comedian delivering punchlines that resonate with our hearts. Starting with a clear creative strategy to engage with consumers, and then narrowing your audiences to the ones that you feel will resonate with the message you’re trying to get across.

Market values: emotion meets experience

Now, let's dive into the multidimensional world of market value. Market values aren’t just about the shopping experience or the product features. Rather, it's a four-headed beast that operates on different planes:

  1. First, there's the shopping experience itself. It's all about convenience, assortment, promotions, reviews, and customer service. It's like a game show where contestants compete for the ultimate shopping experience. Will they find what they want? Will they score a special offer? It's a nail-biting extravaganza.
  2. Then, we have product features. This is where brands show off their goods – the perfect fit, the flawless style, the easy-to-use functionality. It's a fashion show meets a magic show, where products dazzle and delight. 
  3. And let's not forget about quality – the holy grail of consumer satisfaction. We all want the best bang for our buck, and brands that deliver on that front earn our applause.
  4. Last but not least, we have corporate values. This is where things get a bit tricky. Brands must navigate the treacherous terrain of societal values without alienating half of their customers. It's like tightrope walking on a banana peel – one wrong move, and you're in hot water. 

Consumers expect brands to do the right thing, but they also want them to avoid diving headfirst into divisive issues. It's a delicate dance, my friends.

The Customer Journey summed up

So, there you have it – the comedy and chaos of the customer journey. It's a rollercoaster ride full of twists, turns, and unexpected surprises. 

Brands must tap into our emotional needs, speak our language, and navigate the rocky road of brand value. But fear not, brave marketers, for if you can make us laugh, touch our hearts, and keep us entertained along the way, you'll have our undying loyalty. 

Alex Kennedy

Alex, Finch’s Vice President of Services, is an eCommerce industry expert in business strategy, marketing, technology, and digital media. Always keeping a keen eye on industry trends and innovations, Alex’s mission is to help clients achieve their goals and optimize their digital performance through innovative and data-driven solutions.

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