What Makes a Customer Buy? The Psychology of Purchase Decisions

Posted: 2015.11.24

Although on the surface it might seem quite simple, the buying process is in fact extremely complex and involves a multitude of different factors. The psychology of purchase decisions go far beyond basic economics and desires.

Knowing what makes a customer buy is vital to understanding the buyer's journey from their point of view. That's why we help you get right into their minds during their journey. Here are a few factors that have been studied in depth:

Emotions plus logic

Have you ever looked at a price tag, looked at your bank balance, and then thought that it simply wasn't possible, only to look at the product again and decide that you had to have it? Our brains think in terms of both emotions and logic, and that affects our purchases as much as it does everything else. We don't know why we find certain people attractive, funny, or unbearable - we just do sometimes. Both sides of the brain work in unison to make decisions. So while the price (logic) certainly plays a role, so do the colors, placement, and mood of the shopper. It's important to note that these things all occur in the moment, or the 'point of experience.' We can help pinpoint exactly what makes your customers buy what they do when they do.


It is no surprise that many purchases are made to enhance our egos. We oftentimes put ourselves first when thinking about making one. While you might not be in the business of selling high-end cars, you still might want to stroke the ego of your customer a bit here and there. It might not always be possible, but we can help you determine what you are doing right or wrong by meeting the customer right in the middle of their journey.

Buyers respond to visual stimuli

Perhaps just as important as the quality of the product is the visual stimulation that it gives to the buyer's psyche. You might be surprised to know that 85% of customers chose color as a primary reason that they bought a product. While price, placement, and specifications of certain products will certainly play a part, the look, feel, and artwork on a package could be the real deal breaker. That's why it is vital to get the customer right on the front lines when their eyes are drawn to a certain product. They might not even realize they are doing it.

Buyers want to think they are winning

Buyers crave the feeling that they are winning the battle against you. They want to feel like they are getting some real value above the price tag. Value is not fixed, either. It is completely relative to the buyer themselves. Being able to understand the intangibles that go into what buyers perceive to be of value is critical to understanding the purchase decision making process.

Sellers need to understand the purchasing process from the point of view of the buyer, and this means dispensing with the old-fashioned retrospective analysis that used to dominate the industry. What makes customers buy is so complex that they sometimes don't even know they are doing it. Real-time, on-site custom intercept studies are the only way to catch the buyer in the process and see the journey from their point of view.