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  • Writer's pictureMark A Preston

Psychology of Shopping: Understanding Informed Consumers

Updated: Mar 10

In an age where information is just a click away, the dynamics of customer behaviour are ever-evolving. Gone are the days when a flashy advertisement would suffice to entice an impromptu purchase. Today’s consumers are researchers, thinkers, and comparison experts. But does this mean that the age-old phenomenon of impulse buying is waning? Let's delve into this intriguing shift.

shopping psychology

The Renaissance of Consumer Research

As I reflect on the labyrinth of consumer behaviour, it’s evident that there's been a seismic shift towards in-depth research. Consumers have become more discerning, more knowledgeable about what they desire. This is not a mere hunch but something that is increasingly evident in the patterns emerging from various sectors.

Impulse Buying: A Persistent Habit

Yet, as my conversation with Rand Fishkin illuminated, impulse buying remains robust, particularly in the consumer space...

"Impulse buying, especially on the consumer side, is still very heavy."

Rand notes, pointing out that while informed purchasing is on the rise, spontaneity has not vanished.

A Crowded Marketplace: The Online Competition Explosion

Here’s a sobering thought: the competition that was a trickle in the early 2000s is a torrent today. Post-pandemic, every competitor is online, armed with digital marketing arsenals, vying for attention.

“Every single business...they’re all trying to do internet marketing of some kind.”

Says Rand.

A Hard-won Battle for SEO Recognition

Reflecting on the journey of SEO, it's striking how once, convincing stakeholders of its importance was a Herculean task. The scepticism was palpable. Yet, those of us entrenched in the field always knew its potential.

“I can't tell you how many smart, reasonable people...were very sceptical that SEO would ever become widespread.”

Rand recalls, echoing the battles fought and won.

What This Means for Your Brand

Understanding customer behaviour in this nuanced landscape is paramount. Here are key takeaways for brands:

  • Stay Informed: Recognize that your consumers are likely to research before they buy.

  • Impulse Appeal: Despite the rise in research, do not discount the power of impulse. Striking visual content and compelling CTAs still have a place.

  • Competitive Edge: With everyone online, differentiating your brand is more crucial than ever.

  • Embrace SEO: If there was ever a time to invest in SEO, it is now. It's not just about being seen; it's about being found.


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