Much has been written about how AI and personalization are transforming the way that retailers operate. The ability to understand a customer’s interests and purchase history gives retailers the opportunity to deliver valuable information that helps customers make more informed purchasing decisions. However, providing recommendations based on customer data is only part of the story. For retailers, it’s all about finding ways to create a unique user experience that increases brand loyalty. The question is…how can retailers make that connection with customers? The answer lies in the concept of emotional engineering as a method to create customer loyalty.
The idea of incorporating emotional engineering into the design of mobile apps can help separate companies from their competitors. But first, let’s explain emotional engineering. The term was coined by professor emeritus Mitsuo Nagamachi of Hiroshima University, and it is defined as “the technology to design goods which appeal to emotion and sensibility by translating human sensibility and images into physical design factors.”
Tapping Into The Power Of Emotional Engineering
Retailers need to focus on designing mobile apps that elicit specific emotions from customers. For example, customers expect to see images that are sized correctly on their mobile device when they look at a company’s web site, regardless of whether its being viewed on a laptop or a smartphone. The experience should be identical. . Additionally, incorporating psychology is a core element of emotional engineering. For instance, adding an element of nostalgia to a mobile app is a great way to secure a customer’s interest, by tapping into their personal history and emotion related to that time in their life.
One of our clients is a major international fast-food chain that wanted to create a positive experience for customers using a mobile app to order food, which would end up being their preferred method for placing orders. With that specific goal in mind, we created a mobile app that emphasized producing a unique set of emotions from the customers — the feelings of joy and delight.
We spent quite a bit of time with the customer breaking down all elements of the ordering process and how it impacted customers. In addition, we visited many of their stores to watch how customers interacted in order to study behavior patterns. One thing we noticed was that customers often upgraded to a meal option at the counter, instead of their intended order of just a burger or sandwich. To us, that showed that there was a need to create a digital experience that allowed customers to easily convert items in their cart into a meal.
After identifying the main pain points, we focused on simplifying how customers placed orders, improving the navigation structure of the app, and made it easier to find different types of food on the menu. The result? The company saw a 103% increase in orders compared to the old app, which redirected traffic from web-based ordering.
The key lessons learned by the retailer included:
- Focus on the few features that truly create a superior customer experience, in this case allowing customers to add items to their favorites list and tailoring the delivery options.
- The ability to easily change orders from just a burger or sandwich to a value meal increased customer satisfaction and helped upsell other menu items.
- For the customer, it’s all about making things simple. For instance, reduce the time it takes to place an order or make it easy for customers to pay or redeem a coupon.
- The power of analytics cannot be understated since it helps retailers understand what is and isn’t working. In one case the data showed that customers were logging off of the mobile app at the beginning. Why? We analyzed the data and spoke with customers and realized that the login feature was not easy to use. By simplifying the login process and the location feature, we were able to make the entire ordering process much easier for the customer.
Incorporating Empathy Into Mobile Apps
In order to improve customer engagement, mobile app designers should incorporate an element of empathy into their design. Why? By acknowledging customer behavior and incorporating customer feedback, it makes it easier for retailers to create apps that are both visually pleasing to the eye and easy to use. This can’t be done by simply using test groups locked in a conference room. It must be done by visiting the retailer’s stores, watching and learning how customers interact and what their preferences are.
If you look closely at Spotify, you’ll see a great example of how a company tapped into the power of empathy. The online music provider examined customer usage data that focused on an outdoor campaign. This effort was about asking questions about a specific event, in this case Valentine’s Day. Instead of recommending love songs, however, Spotify asked users questions that elicited empathy by trying to connect with customers, showing that they understand what it’s like be alone on Valentine’s Day. By trying to understand the customer’s feelings, Spotify was able to create a stronger bond with its customers.
Designing mobile apps based on emotional engineering and psychology can help retailers create a better customer experience. Doing so will go a long way to strengthening the company’s brand and building customer loyalty.
Ravi Teja Bommireddipalli is the CEO of Robosoft Technologies, which has created 2,000 mobile and digital solutions for more than 300 clients over 10 years. In addition to being an electronics engineer, he is a student of Ontology (science of being) which is a driving force in how Robosoft develops mobile apps.