You design your e-commerce website based on your brand’s appearance, what your target audience wants and needs, and your desired user experience, in hopes that doing so will increase your conversions.
However, you might be able to better guide your customers towards your desired conversions by using basic principles of behavioral psychology and applying them to web design.
For example, anchoring is a principle that describes how people look for context clues to make decisions. Consumers don’t always know how much is reasonable to spend on a product; therefore, they look at other similar models to see how the price compares, often choosing the middle ground for their eventual purchase. You can leverage that tendency towards the middle ground by adding an extreme option at the high end of your products, encouraging people to choose the middle-priced product that you actually hope to sell.
Social herding is another behavioral psychology principle, and it states that people prefer to follow the tribe rather than strike out on their own, especially in regards to making decisions. Your audience wants to feel like they’re a part of a group composed of people similar to themselves, and you can make them feel that way by creating a sense of community on your e-commerce site. Even something as simple as adding a line on a product page that says “2,054 users have bought this product” could improve your conversions.
Having too many options may seem like a good thing, but in fact, too many choices can overwhelm consumers in a principle called “the tyranny of choice,” and may even lead to them not making a purchase. Instead, simplify the options that you offer your consumers so that they can focus on the conversion path you want them to take.
Finally, make it easy for your audience to make the choice you want them to. Pre-check optional boxes on your website and give them the option of opting out rather than opting in. Your customers are likely to take the path of least resistance and keep the default choice.