At first glance, psychology and web design may not seem to have much in common. However, you can improve the conversions on your e-commerce site by incorporating a few basic principles of behavioral psychology, the branch of psychology that studies how we make choices. For example, the principle of anchoring describes how people judge how much time or money they should spend on something when they don’t have a foundation for that value. When that happens, consumers turn to context clues to make their decision, comparing the product in question to other comparable models. Most shoppers look for a middle ground. You can increase your profits by adding another option to the top end of your options so that customers are nudged towards the middle option.
Another principle of behavioral psychology, social herding, covers how humans typically follow the crowd in terms of decision-making, even though we may consider ourselves independent people. Instead, we find others with similar beliefs and values and assimilate ourselves into their group. On your e-commerce site, you can take advantage of this principle by giving your website a sense of community. For example, your product page could include information about how people have bought that product, or your newsletter sign-up could have a line that says “Join 3,000 others and subscribe to our newsletter today!”
You might think that offering your customers more choices is better, but in fact, a principle called “the tyranny of choice” has shown that when presented with too many options, consumers are likely to not make a purchase at all. Your e-commerce site might benefit from narrowing down the options you offer so that your customers can easily see the path you want them to take.
Finally, your customers appreciate default choices being made for them already. Pre-check the boxes on your website so that customers can opt-out rather than opt-in and take advantage of the extra brain space from not having to think over every small decision.