When you’re trying to work out what your customer wants, you have some options. The simplest is to ask them directly – which is of course easier offline. Problem is, people often won’t answer, and even if they do, they may not tell you the truth.
All other choices are implicit – you can look at them (offline), you can watch them doing things, you can track what type of products they seem to like, you could (in a parallel world) take them to a lab and insert electrodes into their brain to see what their thoughts were telling you.
What might you find, if you were able to do all these things? Well, you’d find key drivers that provide insight for marketing techniques and technologies everywhere: interests, needs, desires, historical patterns, and so on.
But you’d also find something very short term: mood. I’ll come back to this concept of mood often over time, as it’s missed out by most marketing efforts, on and offline.
The fact is, that (for instance) people in good moods evaluate positive things really well – and in bad moods will take negative things for a real problem. Selling to a person in a good mood? Keep feeding them cross and upsell messages, they’ll spend more than normal in an average shopping session. Someone in a bad mood might just be put off from shopping at all unless you clear the clutter and let them grab a bargain (see studies by Sheerman et al, etc). That’s potentially powerful stuff.
Of course, it’s easier in the offline world to work out someone’s mood (easier, for sure still not easy), in the online, it’s a scale harder. But the outcome could well be worth it.