Conversion Optimization

20 Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce (with real examples)

Many retailers talk about persuasion in marketing, but only a few use it effectively. In this post, learn the art and science of proven persuasion techniques from brands who nailed it.

20 Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce (with real examples)

Persuasion marketing is about fostering trust with your customers and inducing them to buy from you in the shortest time possible.

But effective persuasion techniques don’t come naturally to everyone—we learn it.

Nearly 72% of marketers agree that persuasion marketing is valuable for boosting sales.

Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

6 Key Elements of Persuasion Marketing

Persuasion marketing is not something you can pick up on the streets—it’s a science, it’s an art.

Robert Cialdini, the author of the bestselling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, believes 6 elements must be in play to persuade and influence consumers.

He identified the persuasion techniques as:

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Authority
  • Commitment and Consistency
  • Liking, and 
  • Consensus (social proof)

20 Unique Persuasive Selling Examples

Through the following tactics, learn how to level up your persuasive marketing techniques and get more conversions.

1. Persuade with pricing tactics

Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

Economists believe shoppers will buy more of a product if the price falls, while other factors like income and customer preference remain the same. 

Price anchoring is one of the most important parts of persuasive marketing techniques.

Price anchoring provides comparative price points to shoppers when making buying decisions.

For example, it could be as simple as putting a $200 watch next to a $1,000 timepiece to sell more of the lower-priced watch.

Apple used this practice to drive demand for the iPad:

Before launch, the company touted $999 as the product price, which registered in the customers’ minds.

Then, Apple revealed the price to be $499 during launch, making customers feel like they’ll be saving $500.

The company sold about 300,000 iPads at launch and over 15 million before the iPad 2 launch, more than all other tablet PCs combined. 

2. Guide shoppers with cues

The average human attention span is now about eight seconds—a second less than that of a typical goldfish. 

But you could maximize your eight seconds with visual cueing.

The practice uses web elements to narrow visitors’ attention to exactly what you want them to see, helping them grasp your message effortlessly.

In addition, the cues eliminate noise from the primary interest area so that eyeballs get drawn to it.

You could create visual cues on your eCommerce website using these persuasive marketing techniques:

  • Arrows
  • Color contrast 
  • White spaces 
  • Images of people looking at an area

See how Aesop has created an interactive gallery with it's product bundle:

Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

When a shopper removes a a product, the product image disappears, validating the choice:

Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

3. Show off your medals

Psychologists found that the more often people see someone, the more likely they will develop a favorable impression.

In short, familiarity breeds belonging.

Consumers prefer familiar brands as they don’t often want to risk the unfamiliar.

This affinity for familiar experiences explains why Amazon Prime members will convert at a staggering 74%, but less than 3% will checkout when shopping at other eCommerce websites.

Here's how to make your shoppers familiar with your brand:

  • Ensure consistency in your brand visuals, messaging, and tone across all touchpoints, including your website, social media, packaging, and advertising
  • Collaborate with influencers who align with your brand values and have a following that matches your target audience.
  • Reward repeat customers with a loyalty program that offers exclusive discounts, perks, or rewards. 
  • Get featured in relevant media outlets, blogs, or podcasts to increase brand visibility and credibility. Press coverage can introduce your brand to a wider audience and establish you as an authority in your industry.
Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

4. Offer them more than what they bargained for

About 45% of consumers said they’d dump brands that fail to anticipate their needs.

So eCommerce stores must learn to anticipate and exceed a shopper's expectations. 

Here's how to implement the reciprocity principle on your eCommerce stores:

  • Offer free samples of your products or trials of your services to potential customers.
  • Surprise customers with unexpected bonuses, upgrades, or additional features with their purchases. 
  • Offer exclusive discounts or special offers to both new and existing customers. This gesture of appreciation can strengthen customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases.
Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

5. Make shoppers put some effort

Customers love personalization.

Besides making customers and brands work as partners to deliver tailored offerings, enabling shopping experience customization makes them feel in control of their purchasing decisions and a part of your ecosystem.

Here's how to implement personalisation tactics on your store:

  • Create customized product bundles or kits tailored to customers' specific interests, preferences, or purchase history.
  • Provide personalized gift recommendations for special occasions, holidays, or recipients based on customers' relationships, interests, or past purchase history.
  • Use predictive analytics to anticipate when customers are likely to run out of consumable products and proactively suggest reordering options. 
  • Integrate virtual try-on or fit tools that allow customers to visualize how products will look or fit on themselves. Use augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) technology to create immersive and personalized shopping experiences.

See how Crate & Barrel does it:

Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

6. Repetition is key

According to three German psychologists,

"Selectively repeating information in favor of a particular decision alternative changes preference ratings in favor of this alternative and makes a decision for this alternative more likely."

Here's how you can leverage the repetition principle in ecommerce:

  • Ensure that your brand elements, such as logo, colors, typography, and messaging, are consistently displayed across all touchpoints, including your website, social media, email communications, and advertising campaigns. 
  • Implement retargeting or remarketing campaigns to re-engage website visitors who have previously interacted with your brand but did not make a purchase.
  • Offer subscription-based services or memberships that provide recurring value to customers on a regular basis.
Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

7. Woo shoppers with persuasive words and phrases

Make your website copy the strenght of your persuasive marketing strategy.

Connecting web visitors to your brand goes beyond repeating words or designs. It also requires you to be a bit creative with your choice of words.

All words are equal, but some words are more equal than others.

Gregory Ciotti of Copyblogger believes that certain words can influence buying decisions more than others. So leveraging these power words in your website or sales copies to promote your offers makes them more persuasive and compelling.

You might want to begin with these:

  • Free
  • Because
  • Instantly
  • New
  • You

Consumers love to maximize value. They also crave instant gratification, personalized experience, and exclusivity. But customers also need reasons to buy from you. So, using words that appeal to these primitive desires wins you their sales.

The Stitch Fix website uses the persuasive word “you” to personalize its brand message.

Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

Perhaps, it understands generalizing or speaking to everyone at once creates unnecessary noise that waters down the value propositions. So instead, using the power word adds a personal touch to their messages, letting them talk directly to their customers.

8. Offer shoppers more control  

Giving your customers more autonomy helps them make decisions faster. 

Customers crave immediacy—they want it now. Nobody wants to spend the whole day shopping online. So streamlining the process makes it easier to convert them. 

You can offer buyers instant gratification and more control over their shopping experiences with simple things like:

  • Shorter form fields
  • Guest checkout
  • Fast loading web pages 
  • Live chat feature
  • Same-day delivery or fast shipping 
Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

9. Connect with shoppers through emotive storytelling

We all love good stories, and your customers are no exception. 

Here are some tips on how to create an effective persuasive marketing technique:

  • Craft a compelling brand story that communicates the origins, values, and mission of your ecommerce store.
  • Instead of merely listing features, use product descriptions to tell a story about how the product solves a problem or enhances the customer's life.
  • Share behind-the-scenes stories, such as the product development process, manufacturing journey, or team members' stories. This humanizes your brand, builds trust, and provides transparency, which resonates with customers.

10. Make your shoppers 'belong' 

Offering customers the opportunity to belong is often overlooked part of persuasive techniques.

Belongingness creates a sense of community.

It makes customers involved enough to take action.

Social psychologists found that humans have an emotional need to affiliate with a group. 

Here are several ways ecommerce stores can foster a feeling of belonging:

  • Create dedicated online communities or forums where customers can connect, interact, and share experiences related to your products or industry. Provide a platform for discussions, Q&A sessions, and user-generated content, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among community members.
  • Highlight UGC on your website, social media channels, and marketing materials to recognize and celebrate your customers, reinforcing a sense of belonging and appreciation. See how Subtle Staks does it:
Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce
  • Create a sense of belonging by inviting customers to join a VIP club or inner circle, where they feel valued and part of an exclusive community.
  • Adopt a customer-centric approach to communication by actively listening to customer feedback, addressing their concerns, and incorporating their suggestions into your business decisions.

11. Don’t let your customers fail

Offering customers a seamless shopping experience makes them stick around - a fullproof persuasion technique.

The Baymard Institute found that 18% of US online consumers abandon carts due to a long or complicated checkout process. The study also revealed that 12% don’t check out due to a website error or crash.

Most consumers often don’t have the patience for slow-loading pages or complex checkout processes.

Failing to meet these expectations could spur them to abandon the cart for a more frictionless experience.

But making it easy for visitors to complete tasks drives them to perform actions.

You can support these visitors in at least nine ways:

  • Showing error messages in forms
  • Providing them with explainer videos
  • Using live chat support to provide real-time assistance
  • Introducing flexible payment options
  • Eliminating sales barriers with social proofs
  • Streamlining product discovery with recommendations
  • Enabling guest checkouts
  • Formulating a seamless return policy
  • Providing mobile apps to allow customers to shop on the go

12. Avoid ambiguity 

Customers want to know what they are paying for.

They want to see if they can trust you to meet their needs and expectations.

Here's how eCommerce stores can avoid ambiguity to win a shopper's trust and boost sales:

  • Provide detailed and accurate product descriptions that clearly explain features, specifications, dimensions, materials, and other relevant information.

Here’s a great example of how to inspire customer trust by Interior Define. They clearly mention their returns policy upfront and also highlight the product dimensions.

Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce
  • Clearly outline your store's policies and terms of service, including return and refund policies, privacy policies, and terms of use. Use plain language and avoid legalese to ensure that customers can easily understand.
  • Optimize your ecommerce website for mobile devices to ensure a seamless shopping experience for customers browsing on smartphones or tablets. Ensure that all website elements, including text, images, buttons, and forms, are fully functional and easy to navigate on mobile devices.
  • Clearly display product prices, including any applicable taxes, fees, or shipping costs, upfront on product pages. Avoid hidden charges or ambiguous pricing structures that could surprise customers at checkout.

13. Take them to the peak in steps

A study found that it takes an average of 8 touches to generate a conversion.

Using micro-conversions instead of selling to them on the go can lead them to macro conversions if you created a positive peak-end.

  • Encourage visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter by offering incentives such as discounts, exclusive content, or early access to sales. See how By Megan Crosby does it:
Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce
  • Prompt users to add products to their wishlist by highlighting the option and emphasizing the benefits, such as saving items for later or sharing with friends and family. 
  • Use exit-intent pop-ups to capture users' attention before they leave the website and encourage them to take a specific action, such as subscribing to the newsletter, unlocking a discount, or exploring related products.

14. Persuade with data 

Today, customers want brands to treat them as individuals.

Getting into the mind of your customers makes convincing them to buy more effortless.

We love the quiz Fabletics has implemented on it's store.

The quiz assures shoppers that it won’t take long to unlock their personalized offer.

fabletics - quiz funnel | what is a quiz funnel | quiz funnel questions | quiz funnel marketing | quiz funnel questions  quiz funnel examples

Once the offer is unlocked, the quiz redirects to a landing page with personalized product recommendations and a timer that counts down from 60 minutes.  

This way, shoppers are compelled to click the add to cart button and checkout faster.

fabletics - quiz funnel | what is a quiz funnel | quiz funnel questions | quiz funnel marketing | quiz funnel questions  quiz funnel examples

15. Avoid too many choice

Choice paralysis occurs when customers are presented with too many options, leading to indecision and reluctance to make a purchase.

Here's how to persuade shoppers on your eCommerce stores:

  • Instead of overwhelming customers with an extensive range of products, curate your product offerings to showcase a more manageable selection. Focus on highlighting your best-selling or most popular items, as well as products that align with your target audience's preferences and needs.
  • Enable customers to compare multiple products side by side using comparison tools or tables. 
  • Offer live chat support or virtual assistance to help customers in real-time as they browse your website or consider their options. 

16. Try the persuasion game as in poker

Basketball fans usually expect players who have made their three shots to make the next shot because they have “hot hands.”

The streak of success often prompts individuals to overestimate the probability of ongoing success.

This fallacy makes them believe an individual is “hot” or “cold” depending on past performance, even when the result has no direct influence on future outcomes.

Use the Hot Hand Fallacy to help customers win at an unexpected challenge on your site to make them take more action to continue the winning streak.

Several online forex trading platforms provide new members up to $10,000 to try their hands-on demo accounts.

Then, the algorithm allows them to enjoy a bull run which convinces them to fund their accounts for actual trade. 

Persuasion Techniques for eCommerce

17. Give an identity to your customers 

Customers would want to be consistent with other people’s views on them. 

So labeling them can help them take the desired action.

For example, if you sell fashion products, labeling your customers' fashionistas will make them want to stick to that role and buy your products. (A solid persuasion technique!)

Humans often have a sense of who they are.

This self-concept drives them to belong to several groups. But those group affiliations change with a change in their location and occupation at any time.

Harvard Business Review explained that business executives waiting in an airport’s executive lounge to board a plane might reach for a business magazine, not just for its content, but to reinforce their identities as successful business executives. 

It’s also no coincidence that people of the same profession love buying similar products.

So giving customers an identity that resonates with them could make convincing them to buy more straightforward.

18. Use the power of faces (but carefully) 

Like texts, human faces are also capable of passing a message.

Seeing a face immediately commands our attention and influences our feelings. It's so powerful and so pervasive, we see faces even when they’re not really there.

Using human faces in web design improves the user experience.

For instance, they can occasionally pull our attention away from boring texts, revitalizing our mental strength to keep us engaged with the message.

Furthermore, images are punchier than texts and can also tell instant stories.

They convey messages that are far stronger than those communicated through texts. So use them in your persuasion games.

According to James Coston, “when you include a picture of a face, you are sending implicit messages, fundamentally changing a page’s message and influencing readers.”

But too many faces can cause distraction. 

They constantly pull readers' attention in different directions, preventing them from focusing on the message and conversion goals. 

So, only use them in the right places to avoid facial distractions.

19. Make them fit a personality

People like identifying themselves with generic personalities due to the Barnum Effect.

This cognitive bias, also called Forer Effect, makes people believe that personality descriptions apply to them more than others.

As a result, it makes humans think information is about them despite being generic.

If you read any newspaper's daily horoscopes, you’ll notice the predictions appear pretty accurate.

But unfortunately, the Barnum Effect tricks people into believing that, making them vulnerable to any of the psychic’s persuasive games.

Using this effect can make your selling techniques more persuasive. It creates the illusion of a personalized experience that makes customers identify with a product. 

A straightforward way to leverage this cognitive bias is to create a generic personality that fits your customers.

For example, Swag.com makes its website copies appear to speak to visitors one-on-one, even though it's talking to everyone as a persuasion technique. 

People browsing the homepage will think the brand is speaking to them directly. 

copy that speaks to customers like a human - persuasion technique

20. Cut down objections with “even if” 

“Even if” is a powerful term to use in persuasive writing. 

Customers feel they are superior or above average, so they may have several reasons for not needing your product. Using the phrase can help you persuade them. 

It emphasizes that, albeit something may happen, another situation remains the same. 

Customers might be skeptical about trying a new product due to perceived risk or a lack of enough information to make informed decisions.

But using the phrase in the sales copy could reinforce their confidence.

For instance, preaching that a product gives glowing skin in four days might not be enough to sway buyers. Instead of boosting your sales, it might come off as a ploy to make them buy. 

Shoppers love buying with confidence.

Telling them what they stand to gain even if the product doesn’t meet their expectations can future-proof your offerings, cutting down objections.

FAQs:

1. What is persuasion marketing in eCommerce?

Persuasion marketing involves fostering trust with customers and encouraging them to make purchases quickly. It's crucial in eCommerce to drive sales and build long-term customer loyalty.

2. What are some persuasive words and phrases that can be used in eCommerce marketing?

Certain words like "free," "because," "instantly," and "you" can influence buying decisions more than others. Incorporating these power words into website copy and promotions can make offers more persuasive and compelling.

3. What are some common pitfalls to avoid in persuasive marketing for eCommerce?

Common pitfalls include overwhelming customers with too many options, failing to simplify messages, and neglecting to provide clear expectations. By avoiding these pitfalls and focusing on effective persuasion techniques, ecommerce businesses can optimize their marketing efforts for success.

Upgrade Your Persuasion Techniques Today

Getting customers to switch brands is more complicated than it sounds. But you can knock it out of the park with these 20 persuasion marketing methods.

Adding the tactics to your marketing toolkit lets you win more sales with less effort. 

Beginning with the more straightforward strategies ensures you don’t overwhelm yourself and run out of steam even before getting started. You can also design an implementation plan to streamline the process and have a timeline to work with. 

Furthermore, don’t forget to A/B-test the changes to eliminate guesswork.

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