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8 psychology tricks that eCommerce marketplaces use to raise conversions

According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of buying decisions are made subconsciously. Forget price comparisons, competitor research, and persuasive copy–online shoppers are triggered by unconscious urges and emotions when clicking the buy button. The secret to raising conversions to their full potential is in psychology and the unconscious mind.

Persuading online shoppers through the checkout is often described as an art, but what about a science? Known as psychological triggers, these following tactics can help you to bypass the rational mind and target the emotions of a buyer – persuading them through the checkout and increasing your conversion rates.

1. Make it easy to purchase

Humans are easily overwhelmed. Deep down, we like things simple, clear and ordered. Your eCommerce store is no different.

Fast checkout

Make purchasing your products simple by having a quick checkout option for existing customers and guests. This makes it easy for customers to buy and means that they’ve hit the buy button before the rational mind starts thinking of reasons to abandon their shopping cart.

Fast shipping

One of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment is slow shipping. Make it possible for impatient customers to receive their items quickly by offering fast shipping options through streamlined self fulfillment or by using an experienced outsourced fulfillment solution.

Cart abandonment emails

If someone abandons their shopping cart, send them a prompt and friendly email reminder of what they were looking at (using machine learning tools), making it easy for them to pick up where they left off.

2. Help them decide

Everyone says they like choice, but in reality, our subconscious struggles with it.

Choice paralysis

Faced with too much choice, buyers become overwhelmed and find it difficult to make a decision, causing abandoned sales. Overcome this by focusing on fewer products, making recommended suggestions based on browsing history, and making your most popular shipping option the default.

Framing

Faced with too little choice, buyers struggle to determine a product’s value, and instead head off to do their own competitor research. Avoid this by framing your products and comparing their features and costs against one another or itself.

A great tool to achieve this is Walmart Promotions. Products on promotion are highlighted with a prominent ‘was’ price and ‘amount saved,’ allowing buyers to see the value for themselves.

Trust

When deciding between who to buy from, the buyer’s subconscious prefers familiarity, choosing a brand they trust. This is one of the reasons why selling under marketplace fast shipping programs leads to increased conversions. eBay Guaranteed Delivery gives listings a branded seal of approval with fast shipping tags and a guarantee that buyers trust enough to convert.

3. Add scarcity

Fight or flight is a common phenomenon; When faced with urgency we are programmed to take action. Use wording such as “only two remaining” or “just 20 minutes to order in time for Saturday” to create a sense of urgency and to steer your online shoppers away from procrastination and through the checkout.

But, be careful. Ensure that your inventory is synced across all of your sales channels to avoid misleading customers on available stock, and ensure that you can deliver on time to align with your promises.

4. Utilize aversion

There are certain things that buyers don’t like, and the subconscious will drive action to avoid at all costs.

Loss aversion

No one likes to miss out on an offer. Make sure that your free shipping and discount coupons are time-limited, pushing buyers to use them by a certain date.

Risk aversion

Not many buyers like to take risks, especially when it involves money. Offering money-back guarantees, free returns, and fast shipping using programs such as Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping will all reduce the risk of buying from you and increase conversions.

5. Add value

Online shoppers like to feel special and valued. It’s why so many brands talk in terms of benefits (not features), and it’s why you should be offering…

Free shipping

Nine out of ten shoppers are encouraged through checkout because of free delivery, and 24% will spend more on items to receive it. Free shipping is valuable to online shoppers, and it doesn’t have to impact your profits. Use all-inclusive pricing, non-branded packaging, and preferable shipping rates to reduce your fulfillment costs.

Tip: See if you can reduce your shipping costs by using our fulfillment calculator.

Pop-up offers

Pop-ups disrupt a buyer’s thinking, distracting the rational mind with new information to process. Try including minimum spend discounts in your pop-ups to add value and encourage shoppers to spend more.

6. Offer social proof

When we’re unsure, we look to others and follow the crowd. It’s why 95% of online consumers are influenced by reviews. Buyers identify with reviewers, and positive reviews show that you’re trustable. Increase your reviews and ratings by providing outstanding customer service, high-quality products, and always delivering on time.

7. Be visually compelling

A good visual flow and well-designed UI shows buyers where to look, what to click, and how to buy. It makes finding and buying products easy and is achieved through:

  • Plenty of white space – giving the eyes a break;
  • A natural flow of content and images – making it clear where to look next;
  • A simple and smooth layout – less is more; and
  • Colors that match your brand – triggering the right emotions.

8. Keep it real

No one likes to be misled or manipulated. Appeal to the subconscious mind gently and honestly. Avoid using psychological manipulation to trick people into buying something they do not want – it’s unethical and will lead to negative reviews. Instead, protect and build your brand by adopting an ethical approach to selling using these top tips to appeal to the subconscious mind and emotions.

Psychology is a powerful science, backed by years of research, trials, and experiments. It has the power to boost your conversions and increase your profits. Speak to emotions, offer value in the form of discounts and fast shipping, and let others do the talking for you.

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