The difference is big. Only 1 to 3% of visitors to webshops will buy something. In comparison, some 25% of people walk out of the average shop in town with a parcel. In a supermarket this goes up to nearly 100%. So online marketers try anything to make their website visitors buy more. Making the ordering process easier can make a change. But different promotional text, different photos or a different look for the website can also stimulate sales. How is that possible?How do online stores entice you into buying something (Part 1) (2)

Direct attention

“The strangest, smallest changes on a website can have big results,” says Maud Ebbekink of marketing bureau ConsumPsy. The consumer psychologist advises shop owners on how they can adjust their site to generate more income. She realised that simply changing the colour of the order button can yield an increase in orders or requests. So, which colour should the order button be so we are enticed to click it? The colour itself does not make much difference, explains Ebbekink. “More important is that it should have a contrasting colour in lient of mine initially had a red button that one could make an appointment with. But red was also their company colour. I then suggested changing this to green so it would stand out better on their red page. This led to 30% more requests.”How do online stores entice you into buying something (Part 1) (3)

People usually don’t read a website from A to Z, but glance over it quickly. “You scan the titles, list of advantages, and maybe an image gets your attention.” So it is the online marketer’s job to ensure that this attention goes to the right places.

What is generated?

So-called heat maps are used to determine which parts of a site are seen by the visitor and which are not. These are images of internet pages where the mouse behaviour of the visitor is displayed in different colours. A computer program registers where the visitor’s mouse has been and translates the total of all those moments into a colour chart. The mouse is found most often in the red areas, a little less in the yellow. How do online stores entice you into buying something (Part 1) (6)

There are green and blue, and non-coloured areas where the mouse never goes. Such a heat map gives an indication of what people do and don’t see, because the spot where the mouse is, is usually also the place the visitor’s eyes focus on. What should you do when an important part of your website is not seen? Changing the colour, so that a button or text gets more attention, is one of the possibilities. You could try to change the design of the website and move items around so that they are on the line that people’s eyes travel across the site. The attention of the visitors usually follows the letter F. The first piece of text is read and then the eyes quickly go to the next paragraph. How do online stores entice you into buying something (Part 1) (1)

The left side of the page is looked at. The right side is only quickly scanned. If you don’t want certain information to be missed, then put it in an ‘F’ shape. Or if you would rather not change anything about the text, you can try to get the attention of the visitor in another way: perhaps an arrow pointing to the most important text, or a photo of a face that is looking at the text.

Do this as well

The secret of a successful website lays hidden in the workings of the brain, according to Ebbekink. If you know how the human brain reacts to text, a price, an image or a product presentation, then you can react to that with marketing. Online stores make use of influential techniques that are well known in psychology. For example, they use ‘social proof’. How do online stores entice you into buying something (Part 1) (4)

This is the principle that people tend to do what others do. When you know many people buy a certain product, then you are more likely to buy it as well. And that is why online stores state alongside a product ‘10,000 copies sold’ or ‘bestseller’. References from other buyers or a star rating as judgement of the product are also examples of probative value, just like the heading ‘others also bought’ with a series of articles that you can get in the online shop. Ebbekink: “Such a title will make you think: ‘If others also bought it then maybe I also need it. Is it strange if I don’t?’”