What is The Psychology of the Online Shopper?

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A customer comes in the online store, makes a purchase, but the purchase is not just a logical decision. It is influenced by many psychological factors that come into play. Do you know that understanding how the human brain works, and more specifically how people choose to buy, can contribute to the success of your online store? To find out all psychological factors that influence the sale, read carefully the article. 

Understanding the psychology of shoppers is more than just increasing sales. This knowledge will help you provide a better user experience, connect on a personal level with your customers and offer the best solution for each individual.

Let’s look at the various psychological factors that affect a purchase. We will give you information about them, and you try to add it to your store and develop it so that your customers never leave it empty-handed again. 

Web Design Psychology

People love smiley photos 

Smiley photo

When choosing product photos, try to include images with faces. Why? There is a part of our brain designed specifically to respond to faces, and our attention is automatically focused on looking for the face in the picture. 

The expressiveness of the face is generally universal. They are related to emotions and can be a great way to create a positive feeling about your product.

We feel better when we see other people smiling because the neurons in the brain help us experience emotions similar to those that are shown. So, if you add an image of a happy customer, smiling and using your product, it will help your customers to recognize the brand faster and trust it.

It’s even useful to show your team. Not only will your customers find out who is behind the products and who produces them, but they also tend to trust companies that show their teams more. Photos of your team, founders or customers can help a lot to increase sales.

Colors are associated with feelings and actions


Color can affect our mood and behavior. It’s a good idea to think about the ones you’ve chosen for your brand and website. It is important to understand your target audience, because the way we react to color largely depends on our personal experiences.

Here are a few words that are often associated with specific colors:

  • Red – strength, energy and love
  • Yellow – joy, happiness and inspiration
  • Green – nature, health and money
  • Blue – trust, peace and responsibility
  • Purple – greatness, wealth and spirituality
  • Pink – care , tenderness and love
  • Black – seriousness, mystery and sadness
  • White – peace, purity and simplicity

Take some time to understand how your customers feel about the colors of your brand. This is especially important if you have an international audience, because the meaning of color can change dramatically in different cultures. You don’t want a color that your potential users associate with death or danger, do you?

Also keep in mind that about 8% of men and 0.5% of women have some form of color blindness. Do not rely only on color to convey your message, bet on symbols and shapes. It is important to include enough contrast between the color and the background so that the colors of the brand can still stand out. 

Photos and videos convey messages better

Attention span

Good images have a lot more impact than just looking good on your site. They also attract attention, evoke emotion and make shoppers take action. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, so they are often the first things customers notice in an online store or website.

If possible, use your own, branded photos, not stock photos. Images from stock sites look fake and therefore reduce the trust in the eyes of customers. They’re also not unique to your brand – thousands of other companies are probably using the exact same photo right now. If you still need to use stock photos, choose ones that look natural and real, not posing.

And since you compete not only with other online stores, but also with many physical stores, don’t forget to show various photos of your products. Your potential customers can’t touch or feel the products, so include photos from as many different angles as possible. 

Videos are also a great way to connect with your customers. Viewers remember 95% of the message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when they read it.

Have you ever cried during a movie? This is because video uses the same neurons in our brain as images. We are able to put ourselves in the position of the people we observe. So add videos with satisfied shoppers or stories of people who are satisfied with their purchases. 

How psychology affects the user experience

People “scan” online pages based on experience


Eye tracking is the process of measuring where people look and in what order when they visit a website. Knowing how the average Internet user behaves can be incredibly valuable when making design decisions.

There are certain models that are relatively universal. For example, most people view a website in an F-pattern. If your customer base reads in a language that moves from left to right, they will usually browse a website from left to right, starting at the top. They then scan vertically down the left side of the page, looking for interesting information and visualizations.

So how do you do that on your website? Start by placing the most important information at the top of the page or “above fold”. Organize your content in an easy-to-scan hierarchy with clear titles and dots. This helps visitors quickly find what they want to read when they scan the website or store.

People also use models to navigate websites. Our brains are lazy and looking for the fastest way to complete a task to save energy. There are things that your visitors expect to find in specific places and if they don’t, they may leave the online store/site entirely.

For example, site visitors usually expect to find:

  • Navigation immediately, often at the top right of the website.
  • Search bar in a visible place, such as the header, sidebar, or footer.
  • Contact page and information page.
  • Logo that, when clicked, is directed back to the home page.
  • The purpose of your site immediately, with a tag, image or something similar.
  • Contact information in the footer.

This does not mean that your website should look like everyone else or that you should not try something new. However, deviating too far from the norm can be disorienting. Make sure your design is designed to meet the needs of your target audience.

People can’t process a lot of information


Our brains can only process a certain amount of information at a time, so it’s important to provide your visitors with only what they can understand, not to overwhelm them with facts and data.

However, some customers may want to read all possible information. One way to balance the information on the site is to provide short snippets of content with links to pages with more information.

Also on pages with a lot of text, such as “About Us” and blog posts, use titles to break down the content into smaller snippets. Bullet points also help users quickly transfer information to find exactly what they are looking for.

Our brains also naturally create categories. By organizing your website into logical groups, you can save your customers from having to categorize content themselves. Although the exact way content is categorized will vary depending on what you sell, you may want to group products by type, size, or age group. In addition to categories, you can also allow customers to filter your products by price, rating, color, size, and more.

The mind always wanders 

We’ve all been there. We have found informational videos online, just to distract ourselves from a funny compilation of cats in the sidebar. Before we knew it, we looked at a few more similar compilations and even forgot what we were looking for in the beginning.

This is because our mind wanders at least 30% of the time. Wandering the mind helps our brain to rest and can even contribute to a higher level of creativity.

So, build your website knowing that visitors will be distracted. Provide them with easy ways to get back to where they started, such as effective navigation. Breadcrumbs can be extremely useful as they show the user’s location on the site and allow them to easily navigate to previous pages.

Language and psychology

Customers respond to urgency and guarantees

Do you feel fear when you hear the word “Urgent” or “Last”? You are not alone, studies show that we put a higher value on the last number of items. If customers are worried that they will forget to buy a high value item, they are more likely to buy it right away.

An idea to increase purchases is to add a banner at the top of your online store or payment page, using words like:

  • fast
  • limited
  • immediately
  • ends
  • now
  • last chance

You can say, “Quantities are limited! Buy one before they run out. “You can create such urgency also with coupons by offering only a discount for a certain period of time.

Guarantees are also an integral part of the buyer’s psychological incentives. Customers want to know that they can trust the company and buy a good, reliable product or service. If you have accreditation or certification, add them those at the bottom of your website. Also your feedback and the customers feedback can have a big influence. In fact, customers are willing to spend 31% more for goods with positive feedback!

Your website should contain words such as:

  • warranty
  • certified
  • money back 
  • genuine
  • proven
  • authentic

You can also offer a 30-day guarantee that allows you to return a month after purchase without any questions.This shows customers that you are confident in your products and your ready to comply with their claims

People love stories



Everyone loves a good story And including stories in your website adds authenticity and brand individuality. Stories not only attract attention, but also help consumers remember your products and make the purchase decision faster.

When we hear a good story, our levels of the hormone of happiness – Oxytocin, increase. This strengthens our sense of trust and empathy and has a positive effect on our attitude towards the product and brand.

Here are some ways to use storytelling:

  • Share customer success stories, especially those that are emotional or exciting. Airstream shares interesting stories about the adventures of its customers around the world.
  • Create a story around your brand. Pobeda presents the story of their company, a compelling family history that goes back generations.
  • Be transparent about practices and production. Resume sportswear is an environmentally friendly company that shares with consumers how they bring their T-shirts.
  • Give something back to the community * Socially engaged companies are becoming more profitable, but we will discuss this in another article. 
  • Focus on the benefits of your products and services.  benefits of their products.

The most important thing is to show your company as authentically as possible. Say what your passion is and why you love what you do, and if you truly share it, your customers will believe you. They will know if you are lying to them, but they will also fall in love if they see love in your words and actions.

Other psychological factors

Customers are more likely to start with a small purchase.


If you have a marketing strategy for your newest customers, start with something small. You will ask why? When buying something new, people are more likely to start with something small because it is less risky and it is often easier than saying no. At a later stage, when customers are asked for something bigger, they are more likely to agree.

This is called the foot-to-the-door technique. It goes back to the era of door-to-door salespeople, when if the salesperson literally has one foot in your home, you’re less likely to evict him.

Wondering how to apply this practice? Here are some ways:

  • Ask for an email address in exchange for a discount. One in three online newsletter subscribers buy something from the brand they are subscribing to.
  • Sell ​​with trial products. Customers will feel better given the opportunity to try your products at low risk.
  • Offer a free sample. Six out of ten tested products return as loyal customers.
  • If the company is non-profit, add a small percentage of the donation price. Customers will feel good about themselves and are more likely to make a second, larger donation.

Selling something small at the beginning allows you to connect with more customers and explain why your products or services are best suited to their needs.

Customers need education for new products


People have certain expectations about how things work based on their experience. If you are offering a brand new product that offers an alternative to what the audience is used to, it is important to provide them with a kind of training to get used to the product. In this case, there is a very strong quote

“It will be much easier to sell a product if you follow the established habits than to change the user’s habits on your product”

Here are some ways you can provide training to customers:

  • Offer a free library of lessons with videos on how to use your product.
  • Include links to documentation and manuals in your transaction emails.
  • Write posts on your blog in case of success stories.
  • Send emails between product purchase and delivery with additional information.
  • Provide an online support channel or phone for information.

This type of information helps customers fall in love with your products and trust you faster.

People love rewards programs


Many of us have a wallet full of loyalty cards that we use in our favorite stores. It is satisfying to get a card or discount points right! But why is that?

The awards offer positive reinforcement. Every time a customer makes a purchase, you give him a virtual pat on the back and the caption: “Good job!” They encourage them to take the same steps over and over again and form a relationship with the company during the process.

The rewards program also leads to a long-term commitment. If a customer is offered the opportunity to switch to another provider, he risks losing the accumulated points. This makes the idea of ​​buying elsewhere much less attractive.

The WooCommerce points and rewards plugin makes it easy to create a store loyalty program. You can choose how many points customers earn for each purchase they make, and then allow them to redeem those points for discounts. They can even log in to their account to see their points and know how close they are to a prize!