Psychology of Online Buyers – Web Design Tricks for an Online Store to Sell More

We are constantly manipulating human consciousness as everyday life as in business. Skilled craftsmen of a psychological impact turn us into docile audience, ready to purchase each advertised product. Online commerce thrives due to numerous methods of suggestion and direct persuasion.

First of all you need to study the ways of interaction between your website and visitors. Various surveys will be really helpful; by the way you can install heat-map plugins onto your website thus track most interesting content.

These observations will help you understand wishes of your customers and using engaging techniques given below you will increase their interaction thus you’ll enlarge your sales.

Further we’ve provided numerous psychological techniques that will stimuli your sales. For the sake of your shop learn to use these approaches and soon you’ll have a positive result of your work.

Use the knowledge of the general psychology of mass consumer

It’s known that standard selling methods, which work for supermarkets are the main strategies applied by online shops. Profit and number of visitors who make a purchase can be increased using uncomplicated marketing actions, such as:

  1. Place most profitable products to the best positions;
  2. Combine complementary product samples (wine and cheese, slippers and pajamas) in one category;
  3. Display them on a single page of search results.

And how close do complementary products coexist for you, – put them at least in a row to draw user’s attention to the fact that they may need one of those.

Start from small things

Analyze user reaction to each and every minor change in design:

  1. Changes in shape/color of buttons;
  2. Changes in color of content and background image in the header.

Free Google Website Optimizer is a great tool designed to help you ease website testing quality.

Promotion, variation of prices and interest rates

Have you read “Marketing Experiments” by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, he said that most consumers perceive the price stated first in a row, as average and standard. That is, when announcing the sale “with discounts from 15 to 30%,” you need to realize that people will expect 15% discount on larger amount of products, and 30% for just a few ones. That’s why it’s really important to state in the header the phrase: “discount up to X%” and in general use the phrase “up to” not to confuse people. By the way, did you notice that “to” sounds more convincing than “over”? If you specify prices in dollars, better inform your visitors of minimum values, like starts “from $15”, which looks much more attractive than “$15 – $40.” However, using such ambiguous wording, you probably should ensure the availability of footnotes, which set out the terms of discounts, and set them out very clearly. Otherwise, you may experience some fracas with those customers, who didn’t delve into the matter, and the page where they can be addressed, will be an excellent proof of your innocence.

Buyers are susceptible to offers of free shipping, and can even prefer $15 shipping to a $20 discount. Try to benefit from these oddities of human thinking. Skillfully manipulating the figures and percentages, you will attract people with enticing banner ads, themes, messages when sending newsletters, etc.

I guess you’ve seen following price tags: $99.95 or $49.95. The trick is in subconscious perception of these numbers, they are closer to $90 or $40 thus against all logic, they do not distort the real value of this amount. A series of experiments showed that the goods price at $9.99, were sold twice as much as $10.00 ones! Incredible, isn’t it? This method is more suitable for consumer-Americans. Moreover, it works much better with certain product groups.

Use the principle of reciprocity

This principle is clearly described in Robert Cialdini’s “Psychology of Persuasion. In short, you wish to provide a service in respond to any courtesy. This behavioral norm has been instilled to all of us since early childhood. Our parents teach us to be polite and show appreciation for any favor, thus making us susceptible to psychological influence. They make us believe that people will not like us if we deny giving a back favor. Sale – is an analogue of the favor, to some extent it requires you reciprocal actions. Online stores offer additional bonuses, discount coupons, more expensive analogues of an exact product, in order for the customers to answer with a courtesy and buy those products. The principle is simple, as breath-in breath-out. And it’s not even the price: if raise it before Sale, anyway visitors will not come and buy.

Beautiful design web store

It’s been proved that nice-looking shop assistants sell more, and the court is more favorable to attractive people. Online store visitors are driven with same approach as judges with lacking opportunity to meet you closer, they rely on the first impression. Human subconscious ingrained an idea that beautifully decorated shops are much better that all other ones.

Use pictures that “have a character”.

Use photos that appeal to your senses, don’t forget that users “find interesting” photos with attractive individuals of both sexes. Allow your viewer to “smell the smoke”, “feel the sweat”, taste the wine and experience the embrace simply looking at those photos.

instantShift -

To make pictures come alive look for moments with beautiful light, pleasing back-round and most importantly, make sure that your pictures convey some kind of emotion: be it sadness, fear or happiness. It is said that eyes are the mirror of the soul so capture what you see in your subject’s eyes. Keep in mind, hands are also very expressive.

First person information presentation

According to the statistics, people are attracted to texts bearing personality imprint.

Imagine this: you open the page of a computer store, you see a bunch of products offered to you in an indifferent and detached manner, it makes you feel isolated all those buttons, images, and registry items. Wouldn’t it be more pleasant to interact with a “cart” that addresses you personally as if it’s human. You need to make your customers feel as if you want to get to know them, or show the human-like face of your brand. Positive feedback scores and chat with the audience in first person adds credibility to you as a professional, outlining your brand identity.

Simplicity and accessibility of “shorthands”

People trust only those things and notions they understand. That’s why; try to present instructions and call-to-actions clearly. Visual clues and pointers to the page of your store should be clearly visible and understandable so that users could easily find what they came for. “Interconnections” between navigation symbols of your website should give a convincing image of your company.

Upselling Offers

What’s an upselling offer? These products are usually placed on the checkout page or directly on the page with description of a goodie. You can offer additional services, facilities, advantages in terms of warranty or delivery to buyers of certain goods. What you need to do? Make an additional premium offers that will sound as real “baits”, in a good sense! For example, upselling products are usually the best choices to meet customer requirements.

Binding of prices

This technique gives you an possibility to vary various values. Prices and package are distributed the way that customers choose more expensive products, thus the difference between these products is not that high. For ex., offers a free “super-economy” delivery of any order worth over $25.

This is how this technique works.

If you offer a choice from three variants of designs: “web version”, “print version only” and “web + print” at prices $59, $125 and $135, respectively, you’ll notice that most customers prefer the third one. However, if you remove “print version only”, you’ll reduce your profits, since most people will choose cheaper “web version.”

Psychology of color perception as a marketing tool

Everyone knows that certain colors naturally affect emotions and human physiology, you always have to consider the characteristics of the environments that belong to your potential visitors. Colors are perceived differently on all continents and almost in all cultures. Therefore, it would be good to find out something about color theory, before you start building the layout of your future store. Competently composed color combinations will help you attract more loyal users.

Some more interesting stuff: Neuro-Marketing tips and tricks

Decision-making Process

Now let’s talk about one more interesting thing, i.e. the decision making. Do you know how humanz make decisions? If you’re not a psychologist-behaviorist, or if you are not studying psychology/behavior of primates, than this part of article will be very interesting for you.

How it works?

Human brain can be divided into numerous parts, ancient ones – that developed millions and millions of years ago and more recent ones – those we’ve obtained when got on two feet. If we did not evolve, we would still look like those proto-primates resembling squirrel from the “Ice-age”.

Decisions we make come from that ancient part of our brain, and it’s called – the Reptilian part. It responds for the basic necessities of survival: sleeping, breathing, reproduction, response to external stimuli and it controls decision-making action. That’s why it’s really important to make some actions that will appear to this part, and use the language that it understands the best. Two other brain sections, the “New Brain” and the “Middle Brain” have a supporting role.

  1. The New Brain is a pure logics, it makes deductions based on facts and data, later sharing it with other two parts.
  2. The Middle Brain produces emotions. It processes intuitions and feelings, and then shares its discoveries.
  3. The Reptilian part is a decision-maker.

Luckily you can always figure out some ways on how to influence even the most stubborn person.

Basically, there are four dead-simple tricks!

  • Diagnose the pain – reptilian part “wants” to avoid pain at any cost. Here you need to show how your product will “cure the pain” and “relieve the frustrations”;
  • Differentiate your claims – you need a hook that shows how your product stands apart from others, create a real contrast to help the Reptilian part see you as special and decide in your favor;
  • Show benefits – show it the gain it will get from choosing your product, you need to demonstrate concrete evidence of your benefits using simple and easy to understand messages;
  • Deliver your message – to complete your effective sales technique, your messages and presentations should be filled with visual stimuli and emotions that grab the attention of the Reptilian part and cause it make a buying decision in your favor.

Neuro-marketing Concept

Neuro-marketing is the latest form of marketing study aimed at studying brain’s responses to advertising including messages and images. It assumes that human brain has discrete functional areas that manage consumer behavior which is mostly driven by the subconscious. This advanced technique allows to influence our subconscious. With Neuro-marketing you can develop effective marketing mix that will satisfy consumers better (what is the main objective of marketing). Eventually Neuro-marketing study will be used to customize products and marketing communications according to the brain type of potential customers.

instantShift - Neuro-marketing Concept

Neuro-marketing study provided marketers with a secret weapon that is focused on making websites more engaging. Some of these tips can be familiar to most of us, but when used together, these tips will be your weapon of mass attraction.

  1. Too many choices – if people have too many choices they will not choose at all, that is strange but it’s the fact, the wider the range of products is, the more time user needs to choose the one (you can try to reduce the amount of similar products);
  2. Social validation – reviews and testimonials, users consider reviews of other customers more important than those submitted by the experts, or provided by the website specialists (try to engage your customers in submitting reviews considering the products they’ve acquired);
  3. Scarcity principle – if something is unavailable it is considered to be more valuable;
  4. Food, sex and danger – powerful triggers for action (feel free to use but not overuse);
  5. Power of faces – fusiform facial area, part of a brain that makes us focus on the faces of people, when using pictures of people make sure they look right;
  6. Story – information that is presented in a form of a story is processed better, you can personalize your fact presentation with your own thoughts if it is appropriate (this will be effective when presenting video reviews of the products you offer);
  7. Commitment – by asking small commitments you will get more loyal customers after some time, similar to social validation.


Tips provided in this article will help you increase website usability and user response, when used right they will help you achieve sky-high conversion rate and you’ll get a handle on the best way to present design and content that entices visitors and helps generate business to your company. One thing needs to be pointed out these tips won’t be helpful if you don’t have a solid product or service to begin with, so get that down first. The rest will only serve to deliver it to the consumers successfully.

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  1. This psychology-of-online-buyers-web-design-tricks-for-an-online-store-to-sell-more.

  2. Nice.
    I like your post.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the article. Always interesting to read how we humans perceive things.

  4. Great post! Maximizing the conversion rate of an eshop is just as important, as getting the user to actually visit your site. The Neuro-Marketing tips and tricks section of the post is extremely interesting

  5. yes well written and informative, its given me some good ideas for my new site, thanks Sratos

    • amended, it should read, thankyou Alex

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