What Is It And How Does It
Affect Your Business?
Katerina Marxtova

Psychology is a science about human minds, the way people think and how they make their decisions. For decades, understanding the customer’s psychology was crucial for the survival of businesses. Today, it still is. There is, however, one important difference when we compare past times with the situation nowadays and that is the accelerating shift from the physical market to the virtual one. Is there any difference in the way consumers operate on the online market from the material one? Moreover, what are the influences that impact their buying or business decisions online, and in which way do they make these online decisions anyway?

Cyberpsychology, sometimes also called “the new psychology”, is the science promising to provide answers to all of these questions. It is a newly evolved subject that focuses on the interaction between humans and computers and how this affects their decision-making processes and thinking. With the increasing importance of digital technology, this focus seems as an another logical step in the evolution of psychology as a science.

Technology is a best friend – or isn’t it?

Just think about how often you use technology. Phones, computers, internet – all of these became an inseparable part of our lives; without them, it is harder for us to find the product or service that is perfect for fulfilling our needs and wishes. The shopping process is already speeding up as the barriers between the wish or need of a consumer and the actual purchase are disappearing rapidly. This results in the growing reluctance of users to undertake extra steps to achieve their purchasing goals, even though they did them regularly in the past.  Since customers are increasingly used to the ease and speed of the online market, this has made them lazier than ever before.

Additionally, it is now easier to subtly implement a thought into the consumer’s mind. We are slowly moving into this strange Orwell-like society, where any information can be easily erased by the pressure of media and can be actually deleted or modified forever. On the other hand, people are now becoming more wary of such an influence and they are able to filter the media appropriately based on the level of bias of the messages presented. Given the rising plurality of the media, it is now much easier for the reader to actually choose the news outlets or information source fitted to his or hers beliefs, presenting the information neutrally.

How can we use cyberpsychology?

Cyberpsychology is a new and quickly evolving field and it might offer marketers valuable tools to predict customer behavior and, in general, understand customers’ way of thinking. We must recognize the differences between the real world and the virtual one, and not blindly translate methods that work in the real life to the online environment.

With using these cyberpsychology findings, we might be able to create friendships, adoration and loyalty in consumer bases. Business professionals should, therefore, not underestimate the virtual world and should not see it as inferior to the real world, as for some individuals, the online life could actually be a way of living.

Katerina Marxtova is a Contributing Editor for The Social Media Monthly.