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The Power of Goal Priming in Ecommerce

The E-commerce Psychology Series

Goal priming is a psychological concept that can influence behaviour. This theory suggests that when your goals are subtly reminded or ‘primed’, you’re more likely to act in ways that help achieve these goals. It’s therefore a powerful tool that businesses can use to influence consumer behaviour and increase the likelihood of a sale.

The Impact of Goal Priming on Sales

Research has shown that goal priming can have a substantial effect on purchasing behaviour.  One study, titled “Nonconscious goals and consumer choice” provides compelling evidence that goals activated early in the shopping process can significantly impact purchase decisions made later. When consumers are subtly reminded or nudged towards a particular goal during their shopping journey, it steers their decision-making process, even if they are not consciously aware of it.

Another study found that priming shoppers with goals via inspirational content could enhance sales. This approach goes beyond selling a product; it sells an experience, a lifestyle, or a desired outcome that resonates deeply with the customer – persuading them to make a purchase.

Goal Priming in Action

So how can ecommerce businesses harness this potent tool? The answer lies in personalisation and engagement. By understanding and aligning with customers’ goals, businesses can foster trust, increase engagement, and ultimately, drive conversions.

At 15gifts, we implement goal priming into our guided selling engines. From the moment a customer lands on a site, our engine starts tracking their behaviour, accumulating a set of behavioural traits unique to each individual. These traits are then used to craft a personalised engagement strategy. Rather than resorting to generic engagement prompts like “Hi, can I help?”, the engine is designed to start with a message that aligns with the customer’s goals and motivations, using messages like “I see you’re looking at…”.

The conversational journey then adapts to each customer. By asking the right questions, the engine uncovers the customer’s motivations and uses them to deliver a personalised experience. This includes presenting products that align directly with the user’s objectives and highlighting product specifications that specifically match an individual’s goals. Personalised descriptors help to create a strong link between your products and the desired outcomes, making the purchasing decision more appealing and significantly increasing the likelihood of a sale.

Practical tips for implementing goal priming in your ecommerce strategy 

Utilise customer data to narrow down choices and offer product recommendations that closely align with their goals. This approach primes customers by focusing their attention only on products that will help them achieve their objectives, thereby increasing their motivation to purchase. 

Integrate testimonials, reviews, or statistics into the product recommendation process. Showcase feedback from customers who have successfully achieved their goals using your products. This primes the customer’s purchasing decision by building trust and confidence in the product’s ability to meet their own goals.

Frame product information to highlight how they align with the customer’s goals. This primes customers to prioritise their goals and be more likely to make a purchase. For instance, if your customer values high-speed connectivity and seamless online experiences, highlight the superior speed and reliability of your broadband services

It’s important to note that the implementation of nonconscious goal priming should always align with consumers’ genuine needs and interests. Ultimately, this approach not only benefits businesses in terms of increased sales, but also contributes to a more personalised and satisfying shopping experience for consumers.  

Trudi Baker
Senior Marketing Manager
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