How personal trait influence online consumer behaviour?

By Jaideep Bhattacharjee & Priya Chetty on February 26, 2019

Personal traits are defined as the pattern of feelings, thoughts and behaviour of an individual. This set of patterns helps to differentiate one individual from another (Parks-Leduc et al., 2015). Personal traits reflect some important characteristics of an online consumer like an attitude, self-image and perception. This article focuses on these characteristics and how they are being utilized by e-commerce companies in formulating their marketing strategies.

How attitudes shape up ecommerce companies’ marketing strategies

Attitude explains the way an online consumer thinks or feels while taking a purchase decision. It is also defined as the emotional and mental entity that characterizes an individual from others (Petty, 2018). This psychological construct is complex. Furthermore, experience plays a significant role in the development of attitude. It outlines the predisposed aspect of mind with respect to value and eventually impacts the actions and thoughts of an individual.

The attitude of an individual is evaluated by the psychological factors such as values, ideas, perception, self-image and beliefs (Vogel & Wanke, 2016). Furthermore, marketing strategies by e-commerce companies focus on aligning the attitude of online consumers towards the brand. The emphasis is on recognizing the perception of online consumers and then develop an action plan which caters to the changing attitude of online consumers. In order to change the consumer buying attitude of online consumers, businesses have started to focus on consumer needs. This is enabled through their feedbacks and opinions on the basis of surveys, ratings and reviews. Furthermore, these feedbacks are analyzed and interpreted to formulate an action plan. If this plan strikes the right chord with other buyers then it reflects through several aspects like increased sales, customer satisfaction rate, and customer loyalty.

For example, Amazon has increased its sales and profitability margin over the years drastically by focusing on the needs, attitudes and buying behaviour of the consumers. Amazon has facilitated a broad spectrum of products and facilities such as easy payment options, 1-month return policy and “try before you buy” to change the attitude of the consumer towards a brand.

Self-image plays an important role in online sales

Self-image outlines the mental picture that an individual possesses about one’s personality, abilities and appearance. It explains how and what online consumers feel and think about their performance, appearance and relationships which consistently influence their outlook towards life (Rosenberg, 2015). Self-image is basically how one:

  1. views oneself,
  2. is viewed by others and,
  3. perceives others to view them.

This is broadly described through six dimensions such as:

  1. physical dimension,
  2. intellectual dimension,
  3. psychological dimension,
  4. skills dimension,
  5. sexual dimensions and,
  6. moral dimension.

Consumer behaviour has been prioritized by the marketers to analyze which demographic section of online consumers would buy, and what critical factors are influencing their buying behaviour. Therefore, there is a need to evaluate the self-image of online consumers and how they perceive themselves (Grossman & Van der Weele, 2017). This is used by e-commerce businesses to design their products, services and marketing strategies.

For example, Walmart, one of the biggest retailers in the world, is aggressively expanding in the online retail space. In order to boost their clothing sales online, Walmart collaborated with international celebrity Sofia Vergara to appeal to the self-image of curvaceous women by releasing a range of size-inclusive denims. This range is today available exclusively on Walmart’s online store, It boosts the self-image of women of all shapes and sizes with different fits (Walmart, 2019).

Perception determines an online consumer’s likeliness to buy

Perception is defined as the quality of staying aware of a situation with the application of the ability to see, hear and feel. It involves the process of collecting information from senses. This information is then interpreted to interact with their surroundings (Jervis, 2017). This sensory information allows individuals to create it into something valuable.

For example, when an individual is being helped by someone, that individual creates a nice perception about the helper.

There are five stages of perception after which one comes to a crystal clear perception about a person or situation. The five stages are:

  1. interpretation and evaluation,
  2. organization,
  3. memory,
  4. stimulation and,
  5. recall (Pitcher, 2015).

E-commerce companies emphasis on the perception of their customers to develop marketing strategies and change the brand perception of customers. Consequently, if a business does not provide quality after-sales service the consumers are likely to suffer. Hence, this would lead to a change in their perception of the brand negatively. So, it is essential to introduce marketing strategies to develop after sales support and feedback mechanism. As a result, consumer perception towards the brand tends to change in favour.

For example, Airbnb, one of the biggest accommodation listing companies in the world, has today built its reputation on the trust and loyalty of people. In order to do so, the company researched extensively on consumer perception by studying their behaviour, likes and dislikes. They found that people tend to trust hosts who have a lot in common with themselves. Airbnb also found that people are not likely to go ahead with booking if they feel that the host’s nature does not match theirs. The most important finding of Airbnb was that people’s perception of a host or accommodation is built when they read reviews about other people’s experience (Bhagya, 2016).

Understanding personal traits is essential for building a strong online brand

It is important for online businesses to develop their marketing strategies based on the personal traits of the consumers. Marketing strategies are devised based on the traits of the consumers so that it would be cost effective and can cater to a certain demographic of potential buyers who fit their trait criteria. The online companies ensure quality products or services, offer discounts, promote their products or services, exploit low self-image and listen to consumers to influence their buying decision.