Understanding Your Customers on an Emotional Level for Retail Success

Jul 21, 2021

Hear what was discussed and more in our Naturally Good 2021 seminar discussion. If you missed the session or would like a recap, check out our key takeaways below!

Do you sometimes find yourself heading to the shops for one item and leaving with a carload full of shopping bags? Or have you ever stopped to ponder what it is that turns you off a particular brand that doesn’t seem to ‘get you’ whilst you’re magically and effortlessly drawn to another?

The world of human decision making and the emotional drivers behind it, is what actually influences many of our shopping behaviours, whether we realise it or not.

Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis, who gave a fascinating and insightful presentation on Understanding your customer on an emotional level for retail success at Naturally Good 2021, explained that 95 per cent of decisions are made below the radar of our conscious minds, in the limbic system of the brain.

“Better understanding your target consumers, what drives their behaviour and how to connect with them emotionally is the key to retail success,” said Ms Lloyd-Wallis who is the General Manager of Consumer Insights & Projects at Retail Doctor Group – a multi-channel retail consulting company specialising in the implementation of consumer insights led strategy.

Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis

Anastasia Lloyd Wallis, Retail Doctor Group

Why personality trumps demographics

Ms Lloyd-Wallis highlighted a Trendwatching report, which noted businesses attempting to navigate merely using demographic maps, with borders defined by age, gender, location, income will be ill-prepared for the speed, scale and direction of change.

To illustrate this, she contrasted royal Kate Middleton, aged 39, and pop star Katy Perry, aged 36, two women in the same age, wealth and family demographic who couldn’t be any more different in terms of personality and buying habits, given one favours classic, conservative outfits and the other favours sequins and leather!

“This is an example of why it’s so important to understand your customer’s personality, as it can have an impact on their retail habits. If retailers can understand this they can use it to build brand preference and customer pull.”

The Limbic Insights System: Determining personality and emotional drivers

Drawing on a colour-coded personality insights system, Ms Lloyd-Wallis identified seven personality types. “Whilst you can be a combination of various categories, we will always favour a dominant category more than others. We also know from research that your personality at age 18 is basically the same at age 80.”

  • Disciplined – blue

Personality traits – discipline, rationality, reason, diligence, precision

Buying behaviour – concentration on quality and functionality, love for justice and authenticity, classic style

  • Performer – red

Personality traits – performance, determination, success, efficiency, ambition

Buying behaviour – prestige and performance-orientated, proclivity for social distinction

  • Adventurer – orange

Personality traits – thirst for adventure, rebellion, authenticity, impulsiveness

Buying behaviour – loves challenges, attracted to risk and adventure, unconventional thinker

  • Hedonist – yellow

Personality traits – curiousity, spontaneity, variety, fun, creativity

Buying behaviour – happy to try out new things, early adopter, consumption-orientated

  • Open minded- light green

Personality traits – well-being, pleasure, fantasy, openness, sensuality

Buying behaviour – life affirming optimists, savouring and imaginative, easy-going

  • Harmoniser – dark green

Personality traits – harmony, family, home, trust, care

Buying behaviour – socially-orientated, family-minded creature of habit, lovers of nature, attached to their hometown

  • Traditionalist – khaki

Personality traits – tradition, safety, reliability, order, conservatism

Buying behaviour – risk conscious and security orientated, very brand loyal and attached to local retailers

Limbic Insights System

Source: Retail Doctor Group

Identifying the personality of your customers

Once you have identified your core customer’s personality, then your marketing, advertising and product should be skewed to this accordingly. That includes everything from the look of your website, to the feel and experience of your store.

However, if you are having trouble identifying the personality of your customer, Ms Lloyd-Wallis suggests asking these questions:

  • What is driving unhappy customers away?
  • Are traditional demographics telling you all you need to know or not?
  • Who are the early adopters in your customer base?
  • Who values your brand and who doesn’t?
  • Who is your real target market and who should you spend your marketing money talking to?
  • Who do you want to do business with?

Your action plan

From the chart above it’s easy to see that Kate Middleton would most likely fall into the disciplined category as opposed to Katy Perry who many would class as a hedonist.

“As a checklist, you really need to understand your customer’s touchpoints and listen to your consumers rather than just company concerns. Predicting your customers’ behaviour and acting upon it is important, as it identifying your brand’s strengths. Finally understand the desired in-store experience and build customer trust. Understanding what really matters to the consumer – including and beyond what words can express.”

A big thank you to our speakers for being apart of Naturally Good 2021. If you would like to hear more takeaways from our speaker series, subscribe here to get regular updates.

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