How can you convert at higher rates and get clients to spend more money in your shop, rather than your competitors? Here are some simple yet efficient psychological methods to convince clients to buy from you, and to add more items in the shopping basket.
1. Foot-in-the-door technique – but in eCommerce
Imagine you’re strolling on the street and out of the blue a nice person comes with a radiant smile at you and offers, for free, a good smelling cookie. You take it and, before you know it, you’re in the cookie store looking to buy some more, even different ones. Heck, you’re staying in the shop, browsing around, for over ten minutes, even if you didn’t think you’re going to do that.
This is called the “foot-in-the-door” technique and it can be translated in eCommerce as well. What if, instead of bombarding your visitors with discounts, offers and what-not incentives you would try and get them to sign up to your newsletter by offering something valuable (a free ebook, tutorial, discount, etc.)?
The idea here is to think of your buyer journey in small steps: every action you get them to take on your site is leading to the ultimate goal – purchase. That’s why it’s important not to just focus on your short-term goals (maximum sales now), but to set up your funnel so that it pays off in the long run in a consistent way.
2. Play with percentages instead of numbers
So you’re having a sale for a product which is under $100. In this case, it is much better to present the sale as a percentage rather than a fixed value.
For example, your product is worth $50 and the sale is of $5, so the product would be priced to $45. Instead of showing a $5 discount in store, you should show a 10% discount. People will buy more simply because 10 is higher than 5.
This technique doesn’t apply to sales for items more expensive than $100, simply because if you give a discount of 20% on a $200 product it converts to $40, in which case obviously 40 is greater than 20.
3. Trigger the norm of reciprocity
If you give your customer something for free, for example a surprise coupon on the eMail after a sale, this may trigger what is called “the norm of reciprocity”.
The norm of reciprocity is quite simple to understand. When someone gives us something or does something nice for us, we warm ourselves toward that person and we feel inclined to return the favour. If, for example, one of your neighbours brings you some cookies one day, you will most likely feel obligated to return the favour one way or another. The principle applies in eCommerce as well – if a client gets an unexpected and pleasant surprise from you, he may feel the need to return the favour by encouraging your business.
Check out this business from UK that lets clients test a mattress for no less than 100 nights at home. For FREE! This creates a strong sense of obligation for the customer who now feels indepted to the company for letting him keep the mattress for so long, so more likely than not, he will buy it.
4. Limited time offers
I think you’ve heard of Cyber Monday. Or Black Friday. These are best examples of limited time offers that people are scrambling to take advantage off.
Limited time offers are great if you want to persuade people to impulse buy – admit it, happened to you as well. You’ve visited that store on Black Friday to buy an electric tooth brush and ended up buying a yoga mat, an external hard drive and a mouse.
These kind of limited time offers create a sense of urgency – if you do not take advantage NOW, the offer WILL expire. This is what drives most of eBay’s business for example – the auctions create a sense of urgency when they near the final minutes, people begin impulse bidding.
5. Play with words, use synonyms
What if instead of describing your product as “amazing” you would say “bad ass” or “epic”? Try to use words that create a relationship with the reader, words that are used in a day-to-day basis. Here is a comprehensive guide to using power words.
6. “Keeping up with the Joneses”
No, it’s not the (very) bad movie with the same name. Keeping up with the Joneses implies to always want the same expensive stuff your neighbour buys. So if “the Joneses”, your across the street neighbours, buy that awesome grill that cooks perfectly, you will want the same thing.
This applies in eCommerce through the reviews section. If an item has spectacular reviews, you will want the same item as “the Joneses”, the people who left them. This applies not only on the product reviews but on Facebook or Instagram as well.
7. Create curiosity
Curiosity killed the cat but it sure did die an adventurous death! Include elements that trigger curiosity about your product.The longer the stay time the better ranking you will receive.
Create curiosity in the reader’s mind about your product or what is special about it, constantly try to keep the reader engaged.
For example youre halfway through the article, at this point the reader might be losing interest so use phrases like, ‘here’s the best part, the lady got the dress but’ , ‘that’s not all, the doctors also said that’ , ‘keeping reading to find out what the judge had to say’ and so on.
Phrases like these stop the reader from going back and stopping to see what the article has to offer.
8. Sometimes less is more
One thing you really don’t want to trigger is the analysis paralysis.
When faced with too many options, consumers are known to struggle to make any decisions, so they end up not buying at all.
In his book The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less, Barry Schwartz explains that it’s always better to offer fewer, curated options.
This hypothesis is supported by a study that comes from Lyengar and Lepper.
Researchers showed one group of shoppers 24 different types of jam, while another group was shown only 6 jars. While the group that saw 24 jams was more interested, it only had a 3% purchase rate. The group that got to choose from 6 types of jam initially had lower interest, but ended up with a 30% purchase rate.
9. Include HUMAN faces in the product photos
Wherever possible, include human faces in product photos. Yes, humans are drawn to other humans, as we are very sociable beings. When a product is presented with a smile by a fellow human, people are much more inclined to press the buy button.
There has been significant scientific research on this topic particularly for eCommerce websites. When you are considering a purchase decision, the main issue online is of trust. How do you know if a particular website is trust worthy? Taking lessons from TV advertising and general marketing principles, people running eCommerce websites think that associating photos of people with products engenders trust.
Researches and A/B tests showed that:
- Human photos on a website definitely have positive impact on visitor’s first impression of trustworthiness
- Human photos with focus on face have much better impact (as emotional connect is stronger)
- Photos should be “real”. Visitors can tell when you are using stock photos A
- Most important conclusion: human photos are not panacea for all websites. Best is to A/B test photos v/s no photos on your website. Many research papers proved that in some cases, human photos may actually have a negative impact!
Read more on this subject on vwo.com.
10. Tell customers how buying will increase their social status
As quoted by Dave Ramsey “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” the point that we as buyers are irrational, and it is not a difficult task to convince an irrational person.
Tell people how your product will benefit them, where they will stand socially after buying the latest iPhone or an exotic car.
Read more on how you should write a product description in order to increase your sales.