A massive 90% of consumers make buying decisions in the subconscious based on their emotions. It is only after the purchase is made that we try to give justifications of rationality for them. Now marketing is a wide and complicated arena with unlimited options to choose and invest in. But the goal of every marketing tactic should be to take advantage of the innate biases of customers to drive conversion rates.

One fatal mistake many people make is to put more importance on bringing in more visitors rather than on converting more visitors to customers. The latter is called the ‘conversion rate’ and it is more important in driving business. Even a minor increase can increase your revenue by a lot.

Verified tactics of website optimization for increased conversion

Every tactic listed here has a psychological basis. No matter what the marketing platform, customer behaviour remains the same, so these tactics have universal significance. Knowing them will give you even more power and decision-making confidence when coupled with effective testing software. So, let’s start exploring them one by one.

#1 The Von Restorff Effect

The Von Restorff Effect, eponymously named after the scientist who studied it, describes how customers are more likely to remember unique, quirky products than the run-of-the-mill ones. This can work in numerous simple and ingenious ways in an online store.

Let’s discuss a few of them.

A prominent CTA

Make your call-to-action as conspicuous and distinct from other components as possible.

For example, you can use contrasting colours for the ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Cart’ button.

Subtle visual cues

Use shapes, arrows, and text layouts outs strategically to draw the eye towards the CTA.

#2 Create Cognitive Ease

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel-prize winning economist and writer of Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011), says our brain has two thinking systems:

  • System 1 is the immediate and involuntary, automatic impression and reaction to something
  • System 2 requires a conscious effort to figure out a complicated thing.

For example, a 10% discount is processed by the first mode while a 13% discount requires one to switch to the second mode.

People are more likely to react positively to something that does not require them to abandon their cognitive ease than one that puts any cognitive strain on them. A customer will either get suspicious or annoyed by that.

You can easily test this using an unbiased visitor or AB testing.

However, the below strategies would be quite effective in this direction.

Simplify prices

A price with fewer syllables will put customers more at ease.

Pricing by mental mode

The brain processes the necessity of essential goods with rationality and those of luxury goods with sentimentality.

Thus, decimal figures should be used for the former and easy numbers for the latter. Moreover, the visual effect of decimals also adds value to a necessary purchase.

For example, customers perceive $49.99 much smaller and closer to 49 than $50.

#3 The Anchoring Effect

By this effect, people are highly influenced by the first piece of information they consume in making all subsequent decisions. The marketer can influence the subconscious of the customer by strategic placement of numbers to give an impression and basis to judge quality.

Some ways this effect can be used to influence potential customers are:

Place the higher price first

This will make the higher price the anchor or basis for customers to decide the value of other products against. That way, even if a product is higher in price, as long as it is lower than the first one, customers will attach a better value to it.

Put large numbers on the top

When the first number a visitor encounters on your website is a large one, even if it is not a price, it will act as the anchor for that visitor. This can be anything like visitors per day, number of clients, customers satisfied, number of projects, etc.

Consequently, numbers appearing later, as in, the prices, will appear smaller and reasonable to the customer.

Make the default sorting option “high to low”

When people see the highest prices at the beginning, they will be continually met by more affordable options as they scroll.

Show the original price before discount

When giving a discount, if the original price is also shown somehow, like by crossing out or with “Then” and “Now” labels, it will become the anchor to highlight the better value after the discount.

#4 The Pain of Paying

Introduced in 1998 by Prelec & Loewenstein, the ‘Pain of Paying’ is the concept where the mind actually associates paying with pain, or at least the lack of pleasure thereof. Moreover, the more “visible” the payment method is, the more pain it will cause.

Thus, card payments and prepaid purchases are more pleasant than others.

The tricks mentioned below can be used to streamline the entire process from product selection to payment to ease the Pain of Paying.

 “Add to cart” with one click

The fewer the number of steps in completing the purchase, the less stark the reality of paying for it appears.

Defer payment details to the end

Studies show that providing payment details can cause so many negative feelings that a customer can even abandon the purchase. Asking for the mundane details first and keeping the payment details for later ensures that there is no chance of return after the details are provided.

This also applies the Foot-in-the-Door (FITD) technique whereby, asking for minor details first builds a bond that encourages the customer to give more important details, i.e., payment information, later.

Avoid showing currency symbols

When all your products are in the same currency, omitting the currency symbol can ease the negative reaction to purchasing significantly. If the products are provided in multiple currencies, making the currency symbol smaller or lighter to reduce its visibility serves the same function.

#5 The Split-Attention Effect

According to this, having information required to come to a single decision presented in separate locations can cause difficulty in processing the information and lead to abandonment.

The best example of this is when user manuals have instructions on one page and the diagram on the other. The same thing applies to website design.

The following strategies will help you avoid that:

No unnecessary elements on the checkout page

The checkout page should be devoid of all distractions that can take the customer away from the goal of the page: payment. Removing menus, back buttons, category displays, etc, will put the customer in a one-track mind for payment. Any essential elements like customer support or home buttons should be as minimal and non-interfering as possible.

No distraction from the product of interest

When you know what a customer wants, the website should show only that. Seeing more things can distract the customer away from the purchase.

For example, an ad for a product should lead to the landing page designed for that campaign only or to a quick-buy page for that product only.

The same applies to when a person searches for a product. Displaying “Similar products” or ads for other hot sellers can make a customer second-guess.

Stepwise form filling

Allowing a customer to fill out the payment form in steps, unlocking or showing one section at a time, like general information, contact details, delivery address, etc, has several pros. It eases out the Pain of Paying, makes the process seem less cumbersome and boring, removes distractions and also applies the Foot-in-the-Door Effect to give a sense of achievement or fulfilment as each step is completed.

#6 Using Social Proof

This draws somewhat from the pack effect, whereby a person is more likely to take an action if they know others have done it before them. It gives them reassurance (“Everyone is buying this so it must be good”) and justification (“Everyone is doing this so I should too”) to take an action, in this case, make a purchase.

Let’s go through some other popular ways.

Reviews by real people

Providing personal details like names, photos, profession, location, etc for those who gave reviews or testimonials humanizes them and allows visitors to relate to them more. This makes their purchase seem all the more justified.

Including engagement stats

When a product has been in a market for some time, a great way to reinforce social proof is by showing the sales or engagement statistics of the product.

Effects like “14 people bought this product since you last viewed it” or running a live sale or subscription meter for the product will hype the product by itself as time goes by.

The Scarcity Effect can also be coupled with this for even more effective influence.

Combining a “Hurry! Only a few pieces left” with “38 people viewed this today” will push people into quickly making a confident purchase without going into much thinking.

Do these and see results

These simple tricks can help you greatly increase traffic as well as successful conversions on your online store. Some do not even require too much effort or hefty changes. Yet, they can turn the tide and improve your numbers by leaps and bounds within a short time.