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Quashing Consumer Impatience

9 October 2018 by Jenn Granger

Whether it’s waiting for a page to load, going through checkout or choosing a shipping method, consumers expect retailers to provide a user journey that is quicker than ever.

Ecommerce Live 15

Our MD, Jonathan Bowers, giving his talk on the ‘Psychology of Speed’ at eCommerce Live 2018 .

But it turns out consumers aren’t the only demographic allergic to patience. In fact, a third of the entire UK population now describe themselves as ‘particularly impatient’. When was the last time you raged over a message that wasn’t replied to within 60 seconds?

And the reason why we’re an impatient nation? Drumroll please… we’re addicted to dopamine.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, dopa-what?

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter, which means it is a chemical transported in our central nervous system, and affects things like learning, attention, motivation and our emotions, to name a few.

The act of reaching a goal causes a hit of this ‘reward chemical’ to be released in our brains, making us feel accomplished and, ultimately, happy.

Why are we addicted?

One reason: technology.

Sure, it’s easy to blame everything on tech these days, and there are other factors that increase our dopamine levels, like intake of caffeine, reducing stress and getting enough sleep.

But while a good nap or less stress naturally increase dopamine in a normal way, the buzzes, beeps, swipes and scrolls we get from our devices are causing dopamine to be released constantly.

This means our natural levels of the chemical have been reset to higher than usual, and what happens when our brains can’t meet this new level? We get bored! And bored brains lead to impatience, a common consumer trait that retailers are battling day in, day out.

What can retailers do about it?

In terms of eCommerce, this little reward and motivation molecule is the key to keeping consumers focussed on your product, motivated to go through the buying process and essentially feel rewarded enough to return.

So, how do retailers ensure that dopamine is getting into their consumers’ brains from the minute they click onto the site, all the way to the final checkout button?

Creativity, simplicity and speed.

If you’ve ever been on a website so boring it looks like it was designed by a caveman, you’ll understand why creativity matters. Visually pleasing and interesting displays naturally entice us as human beings – they appeal to our instinctual brains. Great colour combos, contrasts, bespoke features and plug-ins that make your website unique are all ways to be creative. Your site should be as interesting and individual as your business!

Simplicity, routine and breaking big tasks into smaller ones are also great for opening the dopamine floodgates. Complicated things naturally stress us out – try saying the word otorhinolaryngology in a sentence. But break them down and simplify them (otorhinolaryngology just means eye-nose-throat-science) and the brain is happy. Life lacks simplicity at the best of times, so why would consumers want to shop on a site that isn’t easy to use?

Ease is quite often linked to our last factor; speed.

Ever wondered why Amazons One-Click button revolutionised the checkout process? Speed and simplicity are its middle names. And with the patent running out at the end of 2018, One-Click buying may be the new normal this time next year.

Speed is engrained in our society, and it’s not going anywhere, so it’s up to retailers to get their virtual running shoes on and keep up with consumer expectations.

When you are able to provide little bursts of dopamine through an easy shopping process, allowing the user journey to be as quick and interesting as possible, consumers don’t have the time or reason to be impatient.

Winning!

Top Tip: Work with your hosting provider to get the most out of your eCommerce site.

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