Using human psychology to influence peoples’ shopping habits

When it comes to shopping – whether online or in person – we all like think of ourselves as autonomous, rational individuals who make our own, fully-individualized purchasing decisions, completely un-swayed by outside factors. The truth is far less flattering to the human ego. The reality is that the design, layout and even the flow of traffic of a buying situation – physical store or website – all greatly influence the manner in which consumers behave in that setting, including ultimately whether they make the decision to proceed to the checkout. Indeed, the most successful businesses are those which carefully study those patterns and tailor the shopping experience that they provide accordingly. Read on as we explore how to use the principles of applied behavioral psychology to increase sales in your store.

Bricks and mortar stores

Did you know that when entering a retail store like Walmart, most people automatically proceed in a counterclockwise direction through the store. Taking advantage of this idiosyncrasy of our psychology, most physical stores array their most attractive merchandise to the right of the front door so it is the first thing consumers see when entering the store. It’s a simple example, but a telling one for our purposes. Think of your local supermarket: what are the first things you see when you go inside? Most likely the fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and the deli meats and cheeses. Boring staple foods are shunted right to the back of the shop. In a similar vein, the most heavily advertised brands are positioned directly at eye level on the shelves in the shops. The sugary treats beloved by children are positioned a bit lower, at their eye level. The eyes of the cartoon characters drawn onto the packaging are levelled downwards so that they will be looking straight into the eyes of the children at whom those products are directed.

Casinos also are notorious for designing layouts that make patrons more likely to shell out money. Modern day casino layouts consist of plush surroundings, and lots of open space (creating a feeling of freedom and camaraderie), that make people relaxed and comfortable aria calda.

Online platforms

Psychologically savvy website designers invest substantial time and resources looking into what website layouts, color combinations, wording, informational flow, and website navigation systems create the best results with their customer base. All of these factors plus others influence how successful an obline store or website will be. For example, website graphics should not be chosen or placed on one’s page willy nilly – instead they must be carefully selected to deliver maximum psychological impact, to make the reader relate to the pitch being made, and most importantly not to confuse or distract them from the purpose at hand. It’s a well-known fact that human eyes and attention are drawn in fairly predictable patterns (though not 100 per cent predictable – which is why user testing and knowing your particular customer base is key). Applying the principles of Gestalt Theory to web design can help to direct the reader’s eyes exactly to what you want them to see. It’s hard to believe from a common sense perspective, but simply repositioning things on your webpage can make a substantial difference in the number of sales you get.