The idea is simple: If you can figure out what makes people tick, you can apply your findings to ecommerce and drive conversions in your store. The principles of psychology go hand in hand with website design, marketing and sales. Using human psychology to boost online sales means optimizing how you sell products by influencing the way shoppers buy goods from you. Tapping into these four areas will maximize the effectiveness of your website and bolster your bottom line. 

Fear of Missing Out

Fear of missing out (FOMO, for short) is part of the universal experience. As social animals, we want to be in on any given action—especially if we sense others are benefitting. That’s why using urgency as a psychological trigger helps online sellers clinch sales on the spot.

Let’s say a shopper is teetering on the edge of buying something on your site. If they get the sense there’s an unlimited stock available for the foreseeable future, they may decide to exit your site and revisit the purchasing decision another day. They may tell themselves they’re just waiting for their next paycheck, but forget to ever return and seal the deal.

However, something as simple as a banner proclaiming a limited time offer or an active countdown of remaining units will change this shopper’s relationship to the product. Suddenly, they feel as if they have something to lose. Failure to buy now means the product could sell out of stock, or they’ll miss out on the best delivery deal (like free/fast shipping). 


You know the saying “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”? It turns out there’s an application for it in ecommerce (though not literally, of course). Tapping into the power of reciprocity means if your company can provide a valuable service or offer for customers, you’ll increase the likelihood they will buy from you and continue to do so in the future. You can provide shoppers with any tantalizing reward from a surprise discount coupon in their email inbox to a surprise freebie included in a package. 

Product Page Design

Humans size up websites first and foremost with their eyes to make judgments about the quality, trustworthiness and appeal of what they see. In fact, over 92 percent of people say visuals are the most influential factor in making a purchasing decision. Further, they decide whether or not to buy a product from a site in 90 seconds or less. This clearly indicates how important the overall design of your website and product pages are.

The best ecommerce website builder like the ones provided by Shopify enables online brands to create high-quality, custom product pages complete with HD media and helpful descriptions. By providing enough information to assist a buyer in making a purchasing decision—like manufacturer specifications and photographs from every angle—you will encourage more conversions (and cut down on the number of costly returns). 

Social Proof

Humans have little inherent trust for brands, but they have immense trust for the word of others. In addition to your own marketing messages, your online store should contain plenty of social proof compelling shoppers to join the legions of previous customers who have patronized your store.

The best place to start is with a prominent, honest customer review section. According to Econsultancy, 61 percent of customers consult online reviews before making a buying decision. By featuring a combination of customer ratings and written testimonials, your store will establish credibility with visitors and have a better chance of convincing them to convert.

It’s time to start using human psychology to boost online sales by tapping into principles like social proof, reciprocity, urgency and user experience.