The Power of the Ritual – Turning Emotional Connections Into Buying Habits

Repeat sales are a strong indicator of successful marketing strategies in retail. While product categories such as food and cosmetics benefit from constant demand, other types of goods require a different approach to drive repeat sales.

Forward-thinking marketers inspire repeated purchases of everyday items by shifting the item’s role towards one that is more ritualistic and habitual. As habits are a large part of human behavior, leveraging an understanding of how people think and feel offers new insight into how to position new products in the market to drive repeat business.

When it comes to choosing a positioning strategy for consumer packaged goods, ritualizing products serves as a new tool in the arsenal that can be used to develop and grow brands. Rituals hinge on consistency, and there are often appreciable benefits to consistency for the consumer. 

In the past, marketers used to rely on a strict functional positioning matrix spanning price and quality, neglecting the emotional component tied to brands, products, and services.

Now, the intersection of behavioral economics and marketing has changed the perception that people make rational decisions based solely on price and quality. Instead, research has shown that consumers are choosing how they want to allocate their money based on unconscious factors that are deeper and more emotional. The long-lasting emotional relationships that customers form with brands and products are the key to increasing one’s desire to purchase a particular item more frequently over another comparable option.

Products that elicit high-level emotions such as happiness, calmness, and relaxation are desirable, as the level of comfort provided often far outweighs the selling price. Marketing towards these emotions further strengthens the perceived benefit that each product offers, making it all the more attractive to purchase regularly.    

Several brands in the market already understand the value of tying positive emotions to ritualistic buying behavior. The Art of Shaving, a retail grooming supplier, picked up on the tension between the “need to” and “want to” behavior in men’s grooming, and turned the tedious task of shaving into a positive ritual itself.

Creating a well-defined shaving routine with a four-step process that was unique to the brand allowed The Art of Shaving to associate their version of premium shaving experiences, reinforced by their quality products, into the brand’s representation of the modern man.

To the brand, the modern man is someone who appreciates the finest of experiences, regardless of the time or situation, at a ritualistic pace. Marketing communications further support the notion that such an individual should shave daily to obtain a deeper level of satisfaction and happiness every day of their life.

By creating an enjoyable experience, brands can highlight the product or service benefits that drive repeat engagement. There is no longer a need to increase the price or quality of an offering to drive sales; instead, brands are using existing marketing communications and messaging strategies to reinforce the positive emotions of happiness, joy, and relaxation that one can expect to experience when engaging with the brand at high frequencies.

Until recently, marketers were using outdated tactics to drive repeat sales. Now, ritualization serves to replace the old framework with one more in line with human behavior.


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