Emotional Design in SaaS for Growth

Prathima Inolu


Emotions are data.

They serve as indicators, offering insight into the thoughts, motivations, and concerns of individuals.

Through emotions, we glimpse what occupies their minds, where their energy is directed, and what truly matters to them.

For SaaS founders and product owners, harnessing this emotional intelligence is key to unlocking the full potential of our products. The deeper the comprehension of our products and the emotions of their users the stronger relationship we can build between the product and the user at each stage of the product journey.


As Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman notes, there’s often a disparity between what people say and what they truly feel. This contradiction arises from the influence of unconscious urges, with emotion being the most significant driver.

And while emotions influence decision-making, the emotional journey of a user is ever-evolving with intricate subtleties and different ranges of emotions a user can feel with every interaction. At the same time, human emotions are also multidimensional and hence – subjective.

Navigating this shifting emotional landscape requires us to build a journey that can evolve and adapt to the user’s changing emotions and expectations.

This is where UX UI Design steps in to evoke the right emotions in users at every stage of the product journey, fostering a deep connection between the user and the product.


The relationship between the user and the product should strengthen over time, eventually leading to transcendence—a state of fervent loyalty and advocacy.

This emotional resonance is not just about delighting users but also about driving tangible business outcomes, such as increased engagement, conversion rates, and customer lifetime value.

To achieve this, design plays a critical role to ensure that the user’s experience is consistently and deeply positive throughout their journey.

But how do we accomplish this? Let’s understand with an example.

Nurturing User-Platform Relationship For Growth

Designing for Enhanced User Adoption

A B2B SaaS platform functioning as a marketplace for the F&B industry, partnered with Divami to boost user adoption and user engagement through an enhanced platform experience.

Despite having a functional marketplace, the platform grappled with two critical issues – low user engagement and high support tickets. Out of 600 registered restaurants, under 100 actively used the platform for ordering. Users frequently contacted support for basic functions, indicating the platform’s low usability.

Let’s see how we transformed the user adoption for each stage of the platform journey for the ‘BUYER’:

1. Crafting the Buyer Onboarding Experience to Align with Their Business Goals

We identified that lengthy onboarding, long verification process for certification and license and lack of structure to collect information offline made the onboarding process tedious and took more than 6 hours to complete!

In addition to this, the onboarding lacked a clear connection to the buyer’s business priorities such as being able to explore products on the marketplace without external support.

As a result, the buyers experienced frustration and often needed to rely on the customer support team for product information.

We implemented the solutions in two phases:

In phase one, we focused on streamlining the onboarding:

  • Designed a structured onboarding process on the platform where the buyers could upload their licenses and certifications and get verified status on the platform itself
  • Identified the mandatory information required to sign up to explore the marketplace

This approach cut down the onboarding time by 50%.

In phase two, we improved the buyer’s experience to explore the marketplace by integrating the following solutions:

  • We introduced contextual guides with coach marks to enable buyers to explore the marketplace and understand various elements, their locations and their meanings across the platform
  • We enabled buyers to browse through the products without verifying their licenses, this gave them incentive to further explore the platform. However, to maintain the integrity and quality of the marketplace, buyers were restricted from placing an order without verifying their certification.

By enabling buyers to explore the marketplace on the platform without external support, we were able to cultivate the emotion of initial trust between the buyer and the platform.

2. Streamlining Product – Exploration and Deepen Buyer’s Relationship With The Platform

Empowering buyers to independently navigate the marketplace increased their interaction on the platform. However, the platform still lacked the functionality for buyers to easily find products according to their specific needs. As a result, they heavily relied on customer support to place orders, and their connection with the platform was still superficial.

To address this issue and deepen the relationship between the buyer and the platform, we leveraged design to make their exploration journey easy by:

  • Introducing Global Search to make it easier for buyers to explore the marketplace as per their requirements
  • Enabling buyers to filter products by brand, price per unit, quantity, country of origin and products verified by the platform itself
  • Ensuring that key product details were displayed for each product and it’s variables
  • Enabling buyers to select products and add to cart on the platform itself without customer support

These solutions worked together to empower the buyers to navigate the platform autonomously, fostering a sense of independence and enhanced confidence in the platform.

Next, we identified that to place orders buyers would drop off from the platform and were either relying on external support or contacting suppliers directly via phone or WhatsApp.

To further improve buyer’s confidence in the platform and maintain their trust, we designed a smooth checkout experience for the buyer by:

  • Displaying accurate product and supplier information on the product page
  • Enabling buyers to select multiple products from different suppliers to add them to the cart in one go
  • Placing orders for multiple products simultaneously

Being able to filter, select and add multiple products to the cart and make informed decisions before placing an order empowered the buyers to feel a sense of control and reduced the drop rate on the platform.

The result? The platform’s re-designed workflow enabled buyers to feel a sense of control and evoked emotions of freedom and joy as the platform helped them meet their goals independently.

3. Consistently Upgrading and Updating The Platform to Foster Loyalty

Once we enabled the buyer to experience a level of complete trust with the platform, the next stage was to ‘upgrade and update’ the platform and keep buyers consistently happy.

Here are key design-led innovations that enabled us to amplify the positive experience of the platform:

  • Enabled buyers to verify different suppliers located across the region before placing an order
  • Optimization of order placement and tracking workflows, empowering independent ordering without external assistance. Buyer could track the order status from ‘in-processing’ to ‘in-transit’ to ‘out for delivery’ to ‘delivered!’
  • The buyers could view the three different mediums [online, cash or either] the supplier had chosen as preferred modes of payment
  • Buyers could view ‘outstanding payments’ from the past year or on a particular day and plan their financials accordingly
  • Enhanced the buyer dashboard with key performance indicators
  • Established trust through product ratings and clear checkout details

Through strategic design solutions implemented by Divami, the onboarding process witnessed a transformation from initial hurdles to streamlined experiences, reducing onboarding time by 50% and fostering platform exploration. Retention efforts saw a shift from reliance on support to empowered navigation, deepening user trust, and leading to enhanced platform loyalty.

Thus, Design improved user adoption throughout the platform journey and established a deeply positive relationship between the user and the platform.

The Business Impact of Emotions

How do we translate emotional resonance into measurable business impact?

Understanding the financial implications of emotional engagement is crucial. By quantifying the value of emotional loyalty and its impact on key metrics such as customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value, we can make a compelling business case for investing in emotional design.

Through the lens of business growth, emotions are not just ephemeral feelings but strategic assets that drive tangible results. By embracing emotional intelligence and leveraging it to inform our product development and marketing strategies, we can unlock new opportunities for growth and differentiation in today’s competitive landscape.

By prioritizing the emotional needs and preferences of our users, we can build products and experiences that not only delight but also drive lasting business success.


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