Useful Psychology Concepts for E-Commerce Websites

psychology ecommerce web design

Useful Psychology Concepts for E-Commerce Websites

Did you know that psychology and web design go hand in hand surprisingly easily? After all, most of the marketing efforts leverage psychological concepts to help guide the viewer down the sales funnel and make sure your product looks as appealing as possible. Here are some psychological concepts perfect for e-commerce websites that marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners should know.

Psychology Concepts for E-Commerce Websites

1)  FOMO

Customers react to FOMO or Fear of Missing Out, then they do hearing the ‘brag’ about your product. It might not be the most exciting sentence in marketing, but ‘don’t miss out’ has immense power. Use it, and copy like it, smartly. Time limits, which fall in this category too, can be remarkably effective. Think limited edition, low stock, and an ever-ticking clock to encourage positive purchase decisions that work for your brand.

2)  Reciprocity

Another thing we don’t like is feeling ‘in debt’ to someone. Think about it. We’ve had that urge to ‘pay it back’ or ‘make it even’ over even the silliest of things at times. Perhaps a friend at work lent you their pen for a meeting, so now you need to buy them a coffee?

Offering a free promo here and there won’t make a customer indebted to buy something, of course, but it can help trigger this basic human psychological urge. So it makes sense to have any sort of promotions like this front and centre of your web design.

But free stuff isn’t the only way to lean into reciprocity. Loyalty programs capitalise on this too, yet can often be frustrating to enter into and added to sites as an afterthought. Smart web design can do a lot to avoid both.

3)  Representation

This one is going to sound like it goes against typical marketing tactics, but hear us out. Perfect isn’t always the best way to sell something. Especially as marketing tastes have changed from the ‘hard-sell’ of the 80s to the modern soft-sell. A modern British study has actually shown that using realistic models tends to be as effective as using ‘perfect’ models, plus it leaves a warmer sense with the client.

Why? People like to see aspirational stuff, yes, but they also like to see people who look like them enjoying things, so that the product feels real and necessary in their lives. They can use the model as a stand-in for themselves, making the product more real and visceral. And yes, this applies to both men and women.

4)  The Golden Ratio

Heading into strict design territory, are you using the Golden Ratio to its fullest? This is a ratio related to the famous Fibonacci Sequence, where you add the last two numbers in the sequence to get the next. When it’s planned out artistically, it creates a spiral of sorts and one that maps out where the most appealing focal points for the human eye lie in any space. The Golden Ratio is a fantastic way to lay out a webpage so that the human eye finds it comfortable and appealing.

5)  Colour Psychology

This one should be so ingrained into your web design. The human brain is hardwired to respond to colour, and you can use it in your website design to create any effect you want. There’s some science that suggests many people buy based on colour alone. So it’s not enough to use complimenting or contrasting colours. You also need to consider the deeper implications of what the colour palette of a website says to viewers.

On a deeper level, this even impacts product names. Do you want a grey kettle or a stormcloud one? Obviously, most brands have their own brand colours to consider too, but making sure the message you want to send is coded with colour will boost results every time. It’s worth experimenting, too. Sometimes something as simple as a change in button colour can positively impact conversions.

6)  Flock This Way

Social proof is vital. Despite the many ways in which we praise individuality, people don’t actually like being all on their own. We have something of a ‘herd instinct’. We trust people over faceless entities. We trust reviews over product descriptions.

You can leverage this by making it easy to see ratings and access reviews within the store. This boosts customer confidence. If you have social media integration (you do, don’t you?) then make sure likes and follows can be seen easily. Let the social proof phenomena work for, not against, you.

7)  Avoid Choice Paralysis

A flip side of the vast diversity that online shopping offers us is how easy it is to fall into ‘choice paralysis’. This is the last thing you want from your customers! Obviously, that doesn’t mean you should cut down your range, but design the site to streamline the process and do what you can to steer away from analysis paralysis on the customer side. Intuitive navigation helps, for one. So does showing personalised product recommendations.

Make sure product descriptions are clear and concise, and consider providing plain, straight-talking shopping guides as relevant. An online store needs to be visually appealing and user-friendly. Try to simplify this as much as possible to avoid sensory overload for the client.

8)  Have A Fitt

Fitts law, for all it predates the internet, is a very useful psychological factor to include in your web design. Fitts law tells us that the smaller the target and the bigger the distance, the harder it is to hit.

Consider this when designing how your ‘positive’ buttons are present on the page. They should always be a little more prominent, and easy to access, than any other button. It’s very simple in strategy, but can, nevertheless, affect conversion rate fairly highly.

And there you have it. These 8 key psychology concepts can be used in e-Commerce web design and copy to help you create more conversions, better click-throughs, and an altogether positive customer experience. Why not leverage them to your site’s benefit?

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