Psychology behind Digital Commerce

The Psychology Behind Digital Commerce

Which emotional factors trigger the buying process

All consumer choices and behaviors can be traced back to human psychology. The relationship between a business and its customers is one of emotion, and purchase decisions are strongly influenced by psychological processes. In this piece, we will delve into the psychology behind the digital commerce industry and explore the role of consumer emotions.

The Transtheoretical Model as a Marketing Funnel

The Transtheoretical Model, or the Stages of Change, was developed by psychologists Prochaska and DiClemente in the 1970s as a way to analyze the cycle of smokers who were trying to quit. The model actually resembles that of a marketing funnel when considered in the realm of ecommerce.

The Stages of Change assumes that people do not quickly and confidently change their behaviors. Instead, people are expected to change behavior in a cyclical process. The stages are as follows: precontemplation, contemplation, determination, action, relapse and maintenance.

In the world of digital commerce this is comparable to unawareness, awareness, engagement, acquisition, loyalty and advocacy. For example, once a customer has become aware of your product and you have engaged with them enough for them to consider purchasing, offering an incentive such as a discount may propel them towards the acquisition stage. 

Engagement bridges the gap between these stages. If you can engage your customer in the digital commerce process and secure a purchase, you will most likely acquire their loyalty as long as your physical product meets their standards. So, how can you successfully engage with your customers to achieve this stage in the process? 

Engaging Customers

Let’s consider four important aspects of customer engagement: appearance, trust, ease and personalization


First impression matters

Firstly, the appearance of your ecommerce store forms the basis for customer’s interest in your products. Visual design must be of the highest quality in order to draw in customers. Simple photo and video content will not separate your store from competitors. Looking to new technologies and forms of digital design such as 3D configurators, augmented reality and turntable style imagery can elevate your online store’s appearance. More realistic images of your product will make your customer’s experience more authentic even on a digital platform, boosting engagement.


The Importance of Relationship

Next is trust, one of the most important parts of the business-consumer relationship. First impressions of your company and its products or services are crucial for engaging customers. Your website and ecommerce space must be well-designed and sophisticated to best represent your business. This will convey to customers that your products are of the best quality and will form the basis for a satisfying purchasing process. 


Easy navigation

You must also make iit easy for customers to browse your store and buy a product to secure sales. The psychological strain of making a purchase decision can tire customers, so companies must make it as easy as possible to purchase its products. Your digital store must be navigable. If your product has additional features or add-ons, you should make those easily available to bundle to increase sales. For example, a motorbike manufacturer may have a 3D image of its product and offer accessories like protection accessories or bags available to be overlaid over the product. This way, the customer can easily see how their product may be improved and your company can make additional sales.


Increases Engagement

Lastly, the level of personalization for your consumer’s shopping experience can increase engagement. Adding customization options will make your customer feel valued in the eyes of your company. Catering to their specific needs and wants will attract the attention of site visitors. Customers like to feel special and personalizing their shopping experience will make you more valuable to them in comparison to competitors. 

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The Final Stages: Loyalty and Advocacy

Once your customer has engaged with your store and made a purchase, the bulk of your marketing team’s work is done. After receiving the promised quality product, customers will naturally remain loyal to your company and in turn, advocate for your products to friends and family. The Transtheoretical Model then begins again, with new customers entering the cycle. If you can engage your customers in the purchasing process of your online store, you can maintain them and grow your consumer market easily through referrals. 

How Digital Technologies can Increase Engagement

Earlier we mentioned how 3D tools can improve your digital store’s appearance, simplify customer experience, form the foundation for consumer trust and allow for personalization. The most effective tool in today’s world is the 3D configurator, which gives companies the ability to showcase its product and services in a more realistic and customizable fashion. 

The configurator can be manipulated to display various colors, materials, sizes and styles and makes these changes to the product in real time. Rather than a customer having to swipe through static images to see different models of the same product, the configurator gives the customer the leisure of changing the same image to their liking. This makes the shopping process easier for customers and personalizes their experience, giving them the control.

Additionally, using advanced tools like the configurator gives your business a competitive edge that other companies in your industry may not be utilizing. This makes your digital store unique in comparison to competitors, improving your brand’s reputation and increasing consumer trust. This will convey to customers that your company is utilizing new technologies to improve their experience, building a stronger brand reputation. 

Nike’s 3D Configurator 

A strong sense of brand ownership

Nike utilizes the 3D configurator tool for its shoes. Customers have access to 10 different components of the shoe’s design and can make changes to the product as they see fit. This level of customization increases the value of the product for consumers and provides them with a sense of brand ownership. Customers feel more involved in the shopping experience and thus become more emotionally attached to the product.


Considering the psychology behind consumer decisions is important when creating your digital store. Understanding what emotions increase engagement and deciding what tools will incite these emotions is key to boosting your sales. With 2.77 billion people predicted to shop online in the year 2025, ecommerce is only growing in popularity by the day. Shopping online should be just as personal and authentic as being in stores, and using the latest technologies to accomplish this is how you will differentiate yourself from competitors in your industry.

If your business needs assistance creating quality imagery and refining the appearance of your online store, In2Real can help. Contact us today to learn how our advanced digital technologies can upgrade your digital store, increase customer engagement and ultimately boost sales.

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Francesca Dattilo

A designer by training, I have been working on communications and marketing for In2real since 2019. You can engage with me and my team to identify your company’s needs and define the right strategy.


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