Buycology Blog

Consumer Psychology, Customer Experience, & Human-Centered Strategy

Updated: Sep 15, 2020


I had a fascinating conversation with Pamela Danziger, Senior Contributor for Forbes, about the deeper meaning of gift-giving in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.


Here's a clip from her article in Forbes:

Due to the radical adjustments people have made as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, [Dr. Gray] foresees gifting this year will take on even deeper meaning.
“The pandemic has created a lot of anxiety. We’re reminded the world is not permanent. By giving gifts and things that are enduring and are a lasting expression of care, it helps us soothe a bit of that anxiety.”

Shopping behavior is always a means to achieving emotion-based goals. Brands and retailers that understand the underlying goals motivating their target shoppers have a strong advantage. With this knowledge, they are better able to create messages and merchandising that are relevant. And relevance is the golden ticket that draws attention, drives interest and engagement, and opens opportunities to influence purchase decisions. If we know that consumers want to give meaningful gifts with lasting quality, that can help to inform everything from product mix to marketing messages and merchandising displays, making them more relevant and effective for meeting business objectives.

You can check out the full article here.

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

The Association for Business Psychology recently asked me to share insights and recommendations as retailers navigate the process of reopening in the face of fluctuating COVID-19 rates, safety concerns, and apprehensive customers.

Retailers can establish a stable business foundation by continuously focusing on the health of their customer relationships, especially in times of rapid change. As with any relationship, this means putting in the time and effort to understand needs, demonstrate empathy, and build trust with each engagement. When customers sense that a retailer "gets" them, respects them, and meets their needs, they reward them with their business.

Trust lies at the heart of healthy relationships, and consumer trust is the foundation for every brand, from Purell to Prada. As with any relationship, broken trust between brands (retailers) and their consumers must be repaired to keep the connection intact. Over several months, fears of contagion and extended closures have undermined consumers’ trust in retailers at a very basic level. Though not their fault, the burden of repairing this breach of trust lies with retailers. The actions they take now will impact customers’ perceptions for years to come. As shops and restaurants welcome customers back, here are a few suggestions for restoring trust and rebuilding customer relationships.

Reopening will likely be a challenging process that unfolds over the next several weeks or months. Check out the article to see practical ways retailers can successfully welcome customers back by showcasing their empathy and understanding as we all grapple with the new normal.

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Swedish retailer, IKEA, has provided many lessons in creative customer engagement and inspiration over the years, and 2020 is no exception. At a time when so many people are seeking ideas for keeping themselves or their families entertained while sheltering in place, IKEA hasn't let their customers down. In April, they released the recipe for their world-famous Swedish meatballs, and this month, they are sharing how-tos for building six different types of forts, using items you can find at home and, of course, in IKEA's online catalog.


This is a fantastic example of understanding customers' changing needs and providing ideas and solutions that are timely, useful, and fun. It's also an example of customer insight that can be derived from observation and empathy, rather than expensive research projects — people stuck at home for weeks need ideas for keeping busy and having fun.




To retailers and brands of all sizes, I hope it provides inspiration to identify opportunities to creatively engage your customers and deliver meaningful value in challenging times.




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Real-World Psychology for Game-Changing Retail

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