The psychology behind optimizing your online store

[Guest post by Proonto ]

Wouldn’t it be great to know what our customers think and feel while browsing our online store? Wouldn’t you pay good money to know and understand the decision making process of buyers? Having that kind of information allows retailers, online and not, to optimize their service according to their customer’s needs.

The amazing things is that today we don’t have to spend a fortune to get a hold of that kind of valuable insight because a lot of it is already accessible to anyone who seeks it. Understanding consumer psychology is crucial to anyone who is in the business of selling. B2C, B2B- it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day the people who buy from you are driven by emotions and instincts.

What is Consumer Psychology

The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society“.

Michael Fishman, an expert in consumer behavior and consumer psychology claims that “Consumer psychology is all about getting into that unconscious territory where people are being directed to make purchases for reasons they are not clear about”.

What affect consumers purchase decision?


1. Color

True, every customer is different and as Charles Dickens said “every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other”.

No doubt there isn’t one invariable truth regarding the meanings of colors because color is too dependent on personal experience, memories and preferences.

But psychologist and marketers have proven that certain colors trigger emotions that deeply affect our purchase decision.

Let me warn you- you will not find one definite answer, but what you can find are suggested patterns of colored affected behavior.

Furthermore, it’s important to remember that social conventions cultivated over the years regarding colors also affect a buyer’s decision.

This field of research is wide and fascinating and I encourage you to look more into it, but just in case I’ve listed the highlights for you.

  • Colors do not stand alone. They are dependent on context of the entire message.
  • It is believed that color preference is affected by gender
  • For example, women’s prefer the colors blue, purple and green and while their least favorites are orange, brown and gray.
  • Men on the other side prefer blue, green and black.
  • According to this research, blue is the most favored choice of the color (out of 8 colors available)
  • Color preference also differs according to age
  • Colors represent social conventions therefore change with time
  • Color is also associated with the quality of the product. For example, black often signifies luxury.
  • Naturally, color preference varies according to origin and culture. This following research shows an example of how.

The meanings of colors according to different cultures

2. Language


The copy we write and publish on our online store, blog or any other venue has one purpose- to persuade people.

We try to convince people that we have THE answer to a problem they may not even be aware of. Our aim is to make customers feel that having our product/ service will make their lives just a little bit easier and happier.

But unfortunately we sometimes take it too far and end up scaring customers away or giving them the feeling that we are only interested in selling and not in bettering their lives.

The best thing to do when writing copy for your site is to think what would You as a consumer would like to see and read. Be honest with yourself and think if you would spend time reading the content. If you don’t want to read it, then there’s no reason in the world others would want.

When writing make sure you answer these following questions:

  • Why would someone want to use your product
  • What benefit does he gain from using it
  • What added value does your product have– does it make the consumers life happier or easier?
  • Is the experience of using the product familiar or is it brand new. (I recommend going for the familiar)
  • Do other people use the product
  • Does your copy and product show that you care for each and every one of your customers.

3. Company


According to this recent research In the United States, people spend an average of 444 minutes every day looking at screens, or 7.4 hours. And most of the time we spend in front of the screen- we are alone.

So besides reducing the amount of hours we spend in front of screens, which I highly recommend, entrepreneurs over the world have found a way to bring the human element into the screen.

As Sarah Hill claims, live video chat enables “e-Commerce sites and online businesses to operate more like brick-and-mortar businesses, simulating a physical storefront.”

Even with all the technological advances of our time, nothing had yet (and I sure as hope never will) to replace human empathy.

That empathy is what enables service providers and online shop assistants to understand and help customers at a time of need.

Live video chat has many advantages– it increases customers trust, eliminates online hostility and eventually contributes to revenue growth.

The bottom line is that it gives people the feeling that they are not alone, even when they are.

4. Reviews and Social Impact


Online reviews are a type of conformation and a fascinating social and psychological phenomenon. It’s pretty amazing that even though we don’t know the people behind the reviews, we still trust and believe them.

Statistics even show that we trust them as much as personal recommendations. I think it’s quite remarkable that I trust the opinion of X from Y as much as my sister’s or best friend’s opinion. Sometimes, even more. Our social world has relocated itself to the internet and we want to know that we are not alone. That is why it’s important to show consumers that they are in good company and that your product is loved by many.

People don’t want to miss out on good things and you can take full advantage of that. Yes, this is blunt, but it is also the human nature- it is us.

The Moment of Truth

The moment of truth is the moment when a consumer decides whether to buy your product or not. And as you just read, up until that moment you can do so much to persuade consumers to make the decision in your favor.

But before you start changing things, remember that your first and most important step is to know who your customers are, the way they think and what they want.

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