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Improve your conversion rate: The Psychology of Online Shopping: Influencing Buyer Behaviour


Online Shopping Conversion Rate

Online shopping has become an integral part of our daily lives, offering convenience, a wide range of choices, and the ability to shop from the comfort of our homes. But have you ever wondered what influences our buying decisions when we browse those virtual aisles? The answer lies in the fascinating realm of psychology. Understanding buyer behaviour is crucial for online retailers, and Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO) experiments play a pivotal role in this process.

Understanding the Psychology of Online Shopping

  1. Visual Appeal and First Impressions: When shoppers land on a website, their first impression is crucial. A visually appealing website with an intuitive layout is more likely to keep customers engaged. High-quality images and clear product descriptions can create a positive initial impression, influencing users to explore further.

  2. Social Proof: People often rely on the experiences and opinions of others to make decisions. Incorporating elements like customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials can build trust and reassure potential buyers that they are making the right choice.

  3. Scarcity and Urgency: Limited-time offers and messages like "only a few items left" tap into the fear of missing out (FOMO). This psychological tactic encourages impulse buying and quicker decision-making.

  4. Personalisation: Online retailers can use data to provide tailored recommendations and personalised shopping experiences. By showing products that align with a customer's previous browsing and purchase history, the chances of making a sale increase significantly.

  5. Ease of Checkout: A complicated checkout process can lead to cart abandonment. Streamlining the process, offering multiple payment options, and ensuring security can reduce friction and improve conversion rates.

Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO) Experiments CRO experiments involve systematic testing and refinement of various elements on a website to improve conversion rates. These experiments can provide valuable insights into buyer behaviour and help online retailers maximise their sales potential. Here's how to build a hypothesis for testing in CRO experiments:

  1. Identify the Problem: Start by identifying a specific issue or opportunity on your website. For example, you may notice that a significant number of users abandon their carts during the checkout process. Utilise website analytics to identify blockers in conversion or where the user experience is causing a hindrance.

  2. Formulate a Hypothesis: Based on your observation, create a hypothesis that explains the problem and proposes a solution. For instance, your hypothesis might be: "Reducing the number of steps in the checkout process will decrease cart abandonment rates."

  3. Design the Experiment: Outline the details of your experiment, including the specific changes you will make to the website. In our example, you would plan to streamline the checkout process by reducing steps and simplifying the forms.

  4. Select Metrics: Define the key metrics you will use to measure the success of the experiment. In this case, you might track the cart abandonment rate before and after the changes.

  5. Run the Experiment: Implement the changes on your website and monitor the results. Ensure that you collect enough data to draw meaningful conclusions.

  6. Analyse the Data: Once you have sufficient data, analyse it to determine whether your hypothesis was correct and if the changes had a positive impact on conversion rates.

  7. Iterate and Refine: Based on your findings, refine your approach and continue testing to further optimise the conversion rate.

Choosing a CRO Platform When choosing a CRO platform, consider factors such as your specific experimentation needs, budget, ease of use, integration with your existing tools, and the level of support and reporting capabilities provided. It's also essential to align the chosen platform with your overall CRO strategy and goals. Here are some platforms that can assist with A/B testing, multivariate testing, and other experiments to optimise your website's performance.

  1. Google Optimize: Google Optimize is a user-friendly and free platform for A/B testing and personalisation. It seamlessly integrates with Google Analytics, making it a preferred choice for many businesses. It offers a visual editor for creating experiments without the need for coding skills.

  2. Optimizely: Optimizely is a powerful CRO platform known for its flexibility and scalability. It allows you to run A/B tests, multivariate tests, and server-side experiments. Optimizely also offers features for targeting specific audience segments and personalising user experiences.

  3. VWO (Visual Website Optimizer): VWO is a comprehensive CRO platform that offers A/B testing, split URL testing, and multivariate testing. It provides a visual editor, heatmaps, and session recordings to gain insights into user behaviour. VWO also allows for personalisation and targeting.

  4. Unbounce: Unbounce is primarily designed for creating and testing landing pages. It's an excellent choice if you want to focus on optimising specific landing pages for better conversion rates. It provides a drag-and-drop builder and A/B testing capabilities.

  5. Crazy Egg: Crazy Egg offers heatmaps, scroll maps, and user session recordings to visualise user behaviour on your website. While it doesn't offer traditional A/B testing, it's valuable for gaining insights into how users interact with your site and identifying areas for improvement.

  6. AB Tasty: AB Tasty is a CRO platform that emphasises personalisation and experimentation. It offers A/B testing, split URL testing, and multivariate testing. AB Tasty also provides audience segmentation and targeting features.

  7. Convert Experiences: Convert Experiences is a versatile CRO platform that offers A/B, split URL, and multivariate testing. It has a user-friendly visual editor and integrates with various third-party tools and analytics platforms.

  8. Split.io: Split.io is a feature flagging and experimentation platform that is particularly suitable for running server-side experiments. It allows you to safely release features, conduct A/B tests, and manage feature flags.

  9. Heap Analytics: While not a traditional CRO platform, Heap Analytics provides in-depth insights into user behaviour. It allows you to track and analyse user interactions on your website, which can be invaluable for identifying optimisation opportunities.

  10. Adobe Target: Adobe Target is part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud and offers advanced personalisation and targeting capabilities. It allows for A/B testing, multivariate testing, and experience targeting.

The psychology of online shopping is a complex interplay of visual appeal, social proof, scarcity, personalisation, and ease of checkout. To effectively influence buyer behaviour, online retailers must understand these psychological factors and conduct CRO experiments to continuously improve their websites. Building a hypothesis and systematically testing changes is a key strategy in this process.


By staying attuned to buyer psychology and using CRO experiments to refine their online shopping experiences, retailers can enhance their conversion rates and, ultimately, their bottom line.



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