How using psychology can drastically improve your ecommerce designs (part 1 of 3)

How using psychology can drastically improve your ecommerce designs (part 1 of 3)

Ever wonder what makes one online store more successful than another selling the same exact products or service?

We all feel like we have complete control over the buying decisions we make. However we are all prone to follow similar patterns, more than we like to admit. The reason for this is due human hard-wiring in our DNA that can go back thousands of years. We have all evolved from primitives that had in built instincts that helped them survive. It’s these instincts that can drive us and affect us in the levels of our brain more than we are consciously aware. This is why designs can require considerable thought, work and ongoing effort that can interest the user and the way their brain works even if they don’t know how they are being effected themselves.


The levels of our Brain

Every moment you are awake you walk around with a human, a monkey and a lizard. No I’m not saying your Dr. Dolittle. Nor am I insulting your partner. These are basically analogies of the different levels of our brain giving us three different ways to have to give the user what they need in order to make a decision.

A useful rule of thumb goes:


 Limbic system = monkey brain     Neo-cortex = human brain     Cerebellum = lizard brain

Each of these levels handle different jobs.


The Neo-cortex (human brain)…

…controls rational thought, speaking and other higher brain functions. It makes rational decisions such as I won’t buy that one it’s out of the budget range I set last week for myself. The neo-cortex (human brain) seldom totally abandons us. This is why even someone who is exceedingly drunk can still talk. But that doesn’t mean we are functioning in that part of our brain. Or that our behaviors are rational, logical or even under our conscious control.

Tips you can use in your designs to help the human brain make a decision

Show The Advantages Of Your Products – A list of product categories or a grid of them can be the perfect thing to help your online store.Special deals and new arrivals are also good to coax the common web surfers to buy. You probably know that there is a huge chunk of online surfers who don’t know what they want exactly; they just want to hang around. Your goal as an online seller is to tap into that market and show them what they are missing out on.



A mock showing off the benefits of the new Azera by



Product size copy – Below the benefit copy make a statement explaining the sizing of the model wearing the garment (assuming it is an apparel site using a model): height, chest size, waist size, and the size of the garment he/she is wearing.

Size guide – Have the size guide as a link directly above the size options. As the eye of the consumer fixes on the buying area it begins to work down from top to bottom.  If a consumer is unsure of their size it is best to educate them on the sizing before they are asked to select a size.

Specification – In most cases users will have set themselves specifics they want a product to have/achieve before they have start shopping. If it’s a washing machine or a stereo the user will have set features they are looking for to meet their requirements. Therefore it’s important we make these things easy for them to find. No easy feat considering we might not know what specific feature the user is after.

Clear Pricing and highlight any savings – A user will have a set budget in mind when shopping for an item. This is by no means set in stone and can be swayed either way depending on how passionate the customer reacts to your product but they do need to be able to clearly see what the cost of the item is and also any savings available to help them bend logic and  justify what their Lizard and monkey brain is telling them to do. Ie.” I know these shoes are £3000 pounds and that’s ridiculous but they are so pretty I have to have them, and I’m saving £500 with this offer and that’s good right?”

View Part 2

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