The Buy Button

Dr Jenny Brockis Explains how Neuroscience Can Help Boost Your Sales

Bad news first: When Dr Jenny Brockis, known as the Brain Fitness Doctor and the author of Future Brain, took the stage at Inside Retail Live 2017, she made it clear that there is no “buy button” in the brain. In other words, there is no secret switch that will magically convince customers to enter your store and buy your products. However, when it comes to understanding why customers make certain decisions, the Brain Doctor is here to help.

Don’t worry: Brockis breaks the neuroscientific essentials to understanding customers into three basic concepts everyone can understand and relate to. It all comes down to the three primary objectives in the brain: Keep safe, find the reward and always save energy. All of them should be reflected in how you design your shop and build up your brand.

Keep Safe

According to the Brain Doctor, the key to safety is building trust with brand equity. Think of how many times your decision to buy a certain product was consciously or subconsciously based on its brand, rather than the product itself. This is why people spend $50 on t-shirts from Superdry instead of settling for cheaper brands offering products of a similar quality and look at a lower price. Customers who are loyal to a certain brand appreciate the sense of familiarity they feel when they enter their favourite store, where the familiar environment creates an atmosphere that lets them feel confident in their purchasing decisions.

Find the Reward

Discovery is the key to this second objective, which is closely linked to the pleasure we feel on a shopping spree:

“We love that experience, we love that heady time when we go to the shops and make that decision.”

To convince your customers “to make that decision”, you need to provide an environment that allows for discovery. This is a massive advantage bricks and mortar shops have over online retailers such as Amazon, which was much-discussed at Inside Retail Live 2017. Many speakers, including Jim Fielding, stressed that B&M stores offer their customers a space that is perfect for browsing and finding new products, whereas online options are most relevant when customers already know which product they are looking for. However, there are certain elements that the online experience cannot offer, such as the staff’s recommendations you will find in bookstores, enabling customers to discover books they didn’t even know they were looking for. B&M shops have unique opportunities to showcase their products – thus ensuring even seasoned customers make new discoveries.

Save Energy

This third objective seems to favour online retailers, nonetheless, there are some important points to bear in mind when designing a B&M shop. On a day out shopping, customers want to have a good time – they don’t want to be frustrated by long lines, crowded spaces, unfriendly staff or sold out products. Anything your store can do to limit these frustrations will help in establishing and maintaining a comfortable environment customers like spending their money in. Convenience is the most important issue here, although it is a term that is subject to many different interpretations. For example, you could see convenience in big-box stores that offer anything you could ever look for, but can be frustrating because of the long distances to cover in the store itself and exhaustive searches. They also don’t seem to allow for discovery as much as specialist stores, which often come with expert staff guiding the customers on their treasure hunt. Even though these shops might lack the convenience of offering many product categories in one place, they can interpret the concept of convenience in a whole new way by establishing a group of loyal customers that will come back frequently because of the well-chosen products, pleasant environment and great staff that make them feel special.

In the end, there’s more to understanding customers than pushing a single button. However, the steps Brockis outlined at Inside Retail Live seem highly relatable and will continue to be relevant in the ever-changing retail landscape. If retailers can create a convenient and comfortable environment which promises the reward of discovery, their stores will be well equipped to deal with any future shifts in the industry.

We will be back with more inspiring presentations from the Festival of Retail of Ideas. If you missed Jim Fielding’s insightful talk at Inside Retail Live, catch up on his view on the future of the industry here. To make sure you don’t miss out on any new entries, follow Inside Retail Live on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Meanwhile, have a look at what went on at Inside Retail Live 2017 and be among the first to express your interest for 2018.
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