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5 Ways You Can Use Psychology to Boost Ecommerce Sales

5 Ways You Can Use Psychology to Boost Ecommerce Sales

When you’re running an ecommerce shop, you’ve got to pull all the stops to make a sale. You’ve probably already incorporated some on-page best practices, like Magento search to help your visitors sort through product and content more intuitively, or maybe you’ve added a live chat support feature and are reaping the benefits. Like the aforementioned tactics, fortunately, there are plenty of tricks you can utilize without scamming and manipulating your customers.

These psychological tricks are tried and true. Most likely, you already know about scarcity and the power of discount codes, but some psychological principles are slightly less popular–yet all are very effective. These strategies are proven to increase sales, and studies from around the world show just how malleable the mind of a consumer is. Converting through psychology is rooted in one thing…content. And content can only truly be displayed on your site by blogging. Product descriptions won’t get you very far in today’s world of discerning product enthusiasts. They want to ‘LOVE’ your product, your company, and your corporate culture.

Here’s how you can use psychology to boost sales:

Show Your Social Proof

Social proof can come in the form of testimonials, ratings, and other types of reviews, and is big in the ecommerce world. When consumers look at a products and see that other consumers, with verified social profiles, are validating those items, they’re more likely to take action.

Research shows that roughly 30% of consumers will go to Amazon to look up product reviews before making a decision. At its core “social proof” is a psychological term that revolves around the principle that people will do what others are doing, before they make a lone decision that isn’t socially conclusive. Other terms, like herd behavior, and collective intelligence, are also synonyms for social proof. Companies rarely develop social proof by accident. Social proof is hard work that can only be obtained through blogger / influencer outreach (public relations) and sustained brilliance in product development and customer service.

The Bundle Blind

Another well-known psychological trick is bundling products. The Journal of Consumer Behavior published a study titled, “Utility Blindness: Why do we fall for deals?”, which found that subjects were twice as likely to purchase bundle deals than individually sold products, even if both choices were the same price. In this particular example, students were give two options: the first involved purchasing a printer valued at $72, and an additional $20 mouse bundle. The second option involved purchasing a $92 printer that came with a “free” mouse. This psychological effect is called utility blindness, which plays into the fact that consumers want to make less decisions, and bundle products make this possible.

Image Interaction Increases Visual Perception

Interactive imagery can have a powerful impact on the mind. And this isn’t just backed by on-page metrics–it’s backed by science. Research conducted at Texas Tech University used fMRI technology to see how the mind reacted to image zooming and image rotation. The results found that interactive image features resulted in a higher visual perception, while rotation videos helped evoke more mental imagery and ignited anticipation of a reward during the purchase decision process. This is a major reason why so many large retailers use image zooming and rotation images to help sell products. In fact, Zappos found that products they added video to increase from a 6% conversion rate to a 30% conversion rate.

Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is a classic in consumer buying behavior. Most people don’t even realize that loss aversion is the driving force behind many of their product buying decisions. The travel industry does a great job of leveraging loss aversion.

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For example, features an alert that warns consumers when hotels they’re interested in could see a price hike if they wait too long to book. And when you search for property on Airbnb, you can see how many people are looking at the same exact house during the same exact dates. For popular properties during high season, you could see upwards of 300 people interested in the same home. This could easily encourage a consumer to act fast. And lastly, when searching for a bed on HostelWorld, consumers will see alerts when there are only a handful of spots left.


Scarcity is one of the most popular methods of ecommerce conversion. It plays into the consumer fear of missing out by limiting the availability of certain products. This is a psychological principle that’s backed by decades of research, and it works so well because supply and demand has a major impact on buyer behavior. If a new sneaker release will manufacture thousands of a high-end pair of shoes, there’s no rush or need to line up during an official release date.

One of the most infamous examples of this is Stephen Worchel’s 1975 study on scarcity. In it, he offered several subjects cookies from two cookie jars. One was filled with cookies, while the other hand just a handful. Most people chose the jar with fewer cookies, even though the jars were identical.

There are a few ways you can use scarcity on your ecommerce site: you might show how many units of a product are left, or launch a marketing campaign or a limited edition product. Examine how other companies, like Amazon, Zappos, and are using scarcity to drive sales.

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