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Using psychology to increase conversions.

The author

Lorna Fraser

CRO Analyst

Understanding the psychology that governs users’ online shopping behaviour can help understand how websites can be optimised to increase the likelihood that a user will perform the action that we wish them to take. 

There have been studies that suggest the brain is divided into two systems:

Fast:  A subconscious, automatic and irrational system that acts with very little voluntary control.

Slow: A conscious, logical and rational part of the brain which controls the impulses of the fast system.

When we shop and browse online, we are exposed to items and products that the fast brain makes us think we need to purchase. Once the slow brain takes over, we begin to rationalise whether or not we need these items and this makes the conversion a little harder to get.

Here are a few things ecommerce brands can do to encourage users down the path to purchase:

1. Visualise the product

Content on site can be adapted to re-trigger the feelings of need, which encourage users to purchase. Nike uses high definition and extreme close-up images to make the images of their trainers look as realistic as possible.

The brand also uses copy to make the user imagine what it would be like to wear the trainers.  

“Midsole pattern that allows the shoe to expand, flex and contract with your foot during every step.”

“Foam carrier to deliver cushioned comfort and durability for a smooth, natural ride.”

This allows their users to visualise the product as much as possible and imagine themselves with this product, creating a sense of ownership and making it more difficult for users to not purchase the item.

A study by Forrester & UPS stated one of the top three reasons users don’t purchase online is that they want to see the product in person, so Nike’simages and copy feels like it almost allows the user to experience the product for themselves.

A good feature to use on-site for this can be a good zoom tool which allows the user to get up-close to the product they’re viewing.

2. Speak to the user

Giving users a unique experience on site and making them feel important can reach the self-esteem of the user, which is near the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Speaking directly to the user, giving the user recommendations based on what they have already viewed and personalised greeting messages can all help to create a unique online experience for the user.

3. Gain trust

Near the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy is the need to feel safe and secure. We can use content to ensure users trust the website, one way would be to place user reviews in a visible place on the site.

Although users may not actively scroll through and read the comments, just being able to see that they are available is reassuring for users.

Aside from user reviews, implementing recognisable icons such as credit/debit card logos, the Paypal icon and secure signs (such as McAfee and Norton) onto the site can help to get that trust from the user.

4. Know your audience

Above all, the most important aspect of CRO and increasing conversion is knowing your audience. This isn’t necessarily your target audience – we often find that after a bit of analysis and research, a client’s actual audience is different to who they think they are and who they want to target.

Without knowing your audience and their motivations, you can’t encourage them to convert. This is the first and most important aspect of increasing on-site conversion.

Using psychology to increase conversions on your site is more than just thinking about what colour to make your CTA button. At Epiphany, many of our CRO specialists have psychology qualifications that enable us to make CRO recommendations tailored for specific audiences with intended goals in mind.

If you’d like to chat about the changes you can make on your site to impact your conversion rate, please get in touch with us.