The Role Of Psychology In E-Commerce Web Design

You’ve heard it before, the psychology behind marketing, sales, influence – if not, keep reading to get an understanding of why it’s important in E-Commerce Web Design.

Psychology In E-Commerce Web Design

Each time you visit a website, in particular an e-commerce site, it will have been specifically designed to grab your attention and persuade you to make certain actions. Well, at least it should have been.


A website isn’t just pretty colors and pictures… 


No, certainly not. 


Every webpage (or at least those made by smart online retailers) is carefully thought out for maximum results. Whether we realize it or not, a huge number of psychological factors come into play every time we purchase something online.  


So by understanding how the brain works and how these psychological factors influence consumer buying decisions, you can better design your e-commerce website for success. 


That’s why we’re going to take a look at the role of psychology in e-commerce web design, so you can improve your e-commerce customer experience and boost your sales. 


People prefer images and visuals 


Images and visuals are more than just nice to look at. These can be used to grab attention, quickly relay information and engage consumers. This is because our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text. This means they are usually the first thing that someone notices on a webpage. 


So as well as including images and infographics on a website, brands have increasingly begun adding videos to their pages. This is because these are both audio and visual and they require less work from the viewer. 


And the results speak for themselves! A study found that viewers remember 95% of a message if they’ve watched it in a video, compared with just 10% when reading it. This is because videos and images utilize mirror neurons in our brain and we put ourselves in the position of the people we’re looking at. 


This is exactly why you might find yourself sobbing at certain scenes in a rom-com or sad movie! And these rules can be applied to e-commerce web design too. 


Colors have certain connotations that can elicit feelings


When choosing a color scheme for a website or company branding, there needs to be some careful consideration. Colors have a number of connotations and they can affect the mood and behaviour of visitors. 


What do we mean by this? 


To explain this a little better, we’ve put together a few examples of some of the most common colors below. 


However, it’s worth noting that the way people react to color will also be based on their personal experience so there is no blanket approach. That said, here are a few words that are often used to describe feelings elicited by certain shades: 


  • Red – heat, power, energy, passion, anger 
  • Blue – cool, calm, trust, peace 
  • Green – nature, health, luck, jealousy
  • Yellow – happiness, positivity, joy, clarity 
  • Pink – sweet, playful, feminine, romantic 
  • Black – power, luxury, elegance, sadness, mystery 


So by knowing the role that color plays in behaviors and by understanding your target audience, you can more effectively choose your brand’s color scheme. 


Less Really is More


We are constantly bombarded with information in today’s always-on culture. This means that our brains are always taking in visuals, news and information. Eventually, this can be overwhelming, which is why people tend to prefer smaller, bitesize chunks of information as this is easier for them to absorb. 


After all, our brains can only process so much information at any one time, so it’s important not to overwhelm visitors. Headings, sub-headings, bullet points and visuals are all ways to break up text and information. 


In the case of an e-commerce site, less is more! Short snippets of content can help users quickly skim information to find exactly what they’re looking for, without being overwhelmed or leaving the page.  


Digital breadcrumbs can stop our brains from wandering 


Did you know, our minds are wandering at least 30% of the time?

This is because wandering helps our brains rest for a while. 


This explains why we get distracted so often online. You know what it’s like, you’re trying to read a helpful article or watch an educational video and suddenly 20 minutes have passed and you’ve wasted that time watching funny dog videos on YouTube. 


So when an e-commerce site is being designed, mind-wandering is factored in. This is often why sites will provide lots of easy ways to draw the visitor back in. For example, simple navigation bars, Calls to Action (CTAs) and images. These are like little breadcrumbs set out to grab your focus back to the e-commerce site. 


Categories help us make sense of information 


Our brains naturally like to put information into little boxes or categories. This makes it easier to understand and get at later should we need it. This is why categories and navigation bars on an e-commerce site do so much more than just alert you to what is being sold. 


Filtering options make it even easier for our brains to understand and quickly find what we’re looking for. This is why often e-commerce sites will group products by price, size, age range, colour and a number of other helpful categories. 


This saves the consumer time when finding items or content but also means their brain doesn’t have to put in the extra work trying to categorise content itself. It is also better for the overall user experience. 


People love stories


Last but not least, everyone loves a good story! 


A story can cause us to feel emotions such as empathy, happiness and trust. It can also be used to grab attention and help information to stick in your mind. 


This is often why brands will have an ‘about’ page on their e-commerce site. It gives authenticity and personality to the brand and can help to build customer relationships. 


Not only this but often testimonials or reviews from other customers are incorporated on the site. This is because we are more likely to trust something that has been reviewed by one of our peers. We can also relate to their needs or situation which can help to determine whether these goods or services will also be right for us. 


This is why e-commerce sites weave stories into their webpages and visuals in many different ways.