FEATURE24 May 2017

What’s stopping people buying?

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Interruptions or interference with expected customer journeys result in tripping points that can lead to people pulling out of a planned purchase, as Tim Routledge explains.

Maze crop

The key to survival in an uncertain world is the ability to accurately predict what’s likely to happen next and ensure resources can help meet that prediction. In a survival situation, errors have the potential to be fatal, so – to be most effective – prediction mechanisms must have two central facets:

  1. The capacity to process sensory feedback constantly, and to respond immediately should any discrepancy between prediction and reality be detected.
  2. Having survived such a situation, to learn from the experience by committing the circumstances to memory, so that future predictions can be more accurate.

We no longer have to face sabre-toothed tigers, but human brains have not yet caught up with the subtle nuances of the modern world. Fundamentally, our brains are predicting machines that use a simple binary system to alert us to prediction/reality mismatches – which, in turn, helps learning and improves future predictions. 

In any new environment, for example, our brains will assess whether it is ‘safe’. This ...