Emotional Triggers Access Women's Sales Gateway

Black Friday Sale
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Women buyers stand at the gateway to sales for all those within their scope of influence.  To access the gate you need to tap into their emotional buying mindset. She needs to feel “this company gets me.”

When you use these 10 triggers, she is more likely to purchase for herself, those she buys for and tells those she influences. She opens the gate to children, siblings, cousins, spouse, parents, friends, co-workers, and the list goes on.

When it comes to holiday shopping season, marketers have those triggers layered out there six-feet thick. Think Black Friday… Let me tell you a quick story, and I’ll have a question for you later about Black Friday marketing.

Black Friday Sales

Last year, we spent the Sunday before Thanksgiving visiting with friends.  The football game echoed from the family room. Our husbands cheered, coached and disagreed with the referees.

Anne set down her glass of wine and peered at me over the top of her laptop. “Target has the laptop I want for Charlie and it’s only $95!” Her voice rose with excitement. “Of course they only have a few.”

She paused as she glanced down to her note pad as she tapped her pencil.  “I have got to decide on what to get the twins; those girls want everything alike but different. Maybe Christmas sweaters?”

She looked up and winked. “Come with me. It will be fun. I’ll pick you up at o’dark-hundred Friday morning.”

Caught up in the moment, I agreed.

3:30 AM is abnormally early, dark and cold...

By the time we pulled into the department store parking lot at 4 AM there was already a line. I was shocked to see people had folding chairs, blankets, and …sleeping bags? “Have they been here all night,” I asked Anne.

“Oh yes, they are the serious shoppers,” she giggled.

When the fellow came to unlock the doors, the crowd started to surge.  His flank of security officers nudged people to stay in their line.

“Let’s be orderly here,” one big guy bellowed, “It’s Christmas, let’s keep it fun.”

As we moved toward the open door, I felt like a lemming in the midst of a herd.  No turning back here.

Inside, people fanned out and Anne took off like a bullet toward the computer aisles.  Swamped, I followed as best I could.

Two women near the bicycles were arguing over a child’s bike. Each had a firm grip on a handlebar and their voices rose edged with frustration. A salesperson tried to step in to help and defuse the situation.

The two women turned toward her, trying to hear what she was saying. In that moment, another woman swooped in from behind and took off with the bike. I started to say something, but the woman and the bike disappeared into the crowd.

Beyond, I caught a glimpse of Anne, moving toward me. She smiled and waved something bright red over her head like a trophy.  “I got the twins Christmas sweaters!” she shouted, as she got close.

Already tired from the chaos, I tried to smile back. It was going to be a very long day.

10 Emotional buying triggers can access women buyers gateway

It’s important to understand that women are over-stressed multi-taskers. Coached from childhood they feel the need to be “perfect”. Perfect wives, perfect in career, perfect moms. 

Layer this on top of her role as caregiver and it gets more complex. Perfect caregiving is a tough if not impossible goal.

The other hard-wired component in the female brain is eons of genetics that made them the “gatherers” to their men being the hunter/conqueror.

Women found and collected two types of stuff.  Firewood and food were need-based, utilitarian.  But they also gathered things for the pleasure of it, hedonic.  Finding just the right present, outfit or shoes. 

Different approaches trigger different shopping patterns and emotional responses. Here’s an overview of 10 emotional triggers to get her to open her gateway to your business.

1. Time is a trigger

Ever been in a grocery or department store and heard the announcement, “Right now in the deli, "xxx" turkey is on sale $.49/pound, while supplies last.” 

Flash sales trigger urgency. There is scarcity in the limited supply. Seasonal desirability of the item means time is of the essence.  

Remember the Black Friday offering “XXX” computers for $95 between 4 AM and 5 AM while supplies last. Probably gone in minutes.

2. Fear of missing out

Tied closely to time, there was a fear of missing out on one of those computers.  A missed opportunity and lots of competition.

Marketers frequently use “missing out” as a trigger for sales. The fear might not just be of missing a great deal…it’s tied to the hunt for the perfect item.

3. Remorse/benevolence

Charities frequently use remorse to trigger donations. It taps into our need to be caregivers, to be benevolent and help others.

Subliminally, it can be associated with a bit of guilt.  The reader is better off than the "others" and needs to lend a hand, donate, help out.

4. Trust/safety triggers

Cybersecurity is a big concern for e-commerce buyers.  They want to see all the clues that your website is safe.  Many browsers now tell the user, “This website may not be safe.” It may be a “threat” website, or it may be one missing the https in its URL. 

When browsers see "http" rather than "https," it detects the website as unsecured.  Post those security certificate icons on your website.

Guarantees, warranties, easy returns or exchanges, and great customer service are also parts of the trust and safety trigger.

5. Sense of belonging

When we buy something we like, we tell others. It used to be word of mouth, now it’s social media.  We become brand advocates and when well-structured, become part of their tribe. 

In a world starving for connection, when we get a sense of being a member of something, it meets a strong emotional need.

Clubs, memberships, rewards programs…think the boarding protocols for most airlines.  Those in the most elite group get on and off the plane first. 

The value of membership is noted and wished for by those standing in long lines.

6. Social Values

When values mesh, purses open.  “Family-oriented,” “price matching,” and “everyday best prices,”  "your trusted source for." All of these promote social similarities.

Humanity is another social value that can be triggered tying back to both a sense of belonging and benevolence.

7. Empathy

A bit different from benevolence, positive feedback triggers an emotional empathy response. The giver shares the recipient's joy emotionally.

When Anne’s twins squeal for joy over their holiday sweaters, Anne gets positive emotional feedback.

Feeling good about solving a problem is another empathy trigger.

8. Greed

Greed sounds like a negative emotion. In some connotations it is. But do you know anyone that doesn’t like a good deal?  It’s a bonus to feel you got more than you paid for. Savings and value.

Think instant discount, get it now rewards, free shipping, or buy two and get one free.

9. Enthusiasm

When I agreed to go shopping with Anne, enthusiasm was at play. At the stores, buyers were awash in enthusiasm coupled with competition…a heady duo. 

People will do/buy things they normally might not in the heat of enthusiasm.

10. Personal gratification

Studies have shown that women get a dopamine rush from a good buying experience similar to the feeling men get from sporting events.

Marketers of the modern department store capitalized on personal gratification. Prior to these stores, choices were restricted to the elite. Women might get to the dry goods store but it was a utilitarian experience, need-based. By necessity, it was infrequent.

Enter the glamorous department store. Average women were invited. Come visit, socialize, have lunch and buy.  They were catered to and had choices unimaginable to their grandmothers. 

Because department stores marketed themselves as a social outlet, the frequency of visits was encouraged. 

The power to buy

It also put the purse directly in their hands. They had the power to spend.  That in itself is heady. Decades before they could vote, American women grabbed their purses and shopped their way to independence. 

Whether it’s the food court at the mall, the fast-food outlet at the discount store, or the lovely tea room or restaurant upstairs at Nordstrom, the entertainment value has become ingrained.

Add this to the opportunity to find the “perfect” item and you have shopping triggers.

How effectively are you using these triggers?

How many triggers did you find in the Black Friday story?  Which are your favorites to use?

When I work with clients, I review what triggers are currently being used. We evaluate effectiveness and alignment with the client’s mission, goals and target market. 

We tweak content and marketing messages to maximize our ability to let them know, “this business gets me,” and open their gateway.

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