Ecommerce Growth

The Psychology of an Online Shopper (All Your Questions ANSWERED)

It is crucial for businesses to make sure they understand and appeal to their target audience when they communicate with consumers.

The Psychology of an Online Shopper (All Your Questions ANSWERED)

There are many factors that influence a consumer’s decision-making process.

eCommerce businesses that want to successfully market their products to consumers and improve their bottom line need to consider how consumers’ brain processes elements like the colors, sounds, business signage, logos, and smells.

It can, both directly and indirectly, shape the online shopper’s decision-making process.

Here are some key factors that businesses need to consider when they try to convince consumers to buy their products:

How the human brain works

It is important for marketers to have an understanding of how the human brain works to process information if they want to attract and maintain the attention of their target audience.

Research shows that people remember 10% of the things they hear, 80% of the things they see or do, and 20% of what they have read.

An eCommerce business that attempts to market its products using text-only ads or one that fills its website with endless blocks of text will not find as much success as one that incorporates videos, images, and interactive elements into its website and its marketing.

The human brain thrives on visuals. People are able to process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and 90% of information sent to the brain is visual.

As a result, businesses need to make sure that they include visual elements on their websites and in their marketing strategy.


Colors can also influence shopping decisions for different types of online shoppers. In fact, 93% of consumers value visual appearance and colors above other factors.

Colors can increase brand recognition by as much as 80%. eCommerce businesses need to be aware of what every color means and how different colors affect online shoppers.

Here are a few color psychology insights businesses should note when crafting their websites, logos, and advertisements:

Color psychology in eCommerce


While it might seem insignificant, the sounds and music associated with your brand or used on your website can also influence consumer shopping.

For example, playing classical music in a wine store encourages consumers to buy more expensive bottles of wine.

Music is especially important for online businesses to consider when they set up their customer service hotlines because consumers who hear music they enjoy tend to feel like they are waiting for shorter periods of time than people who do not hear music they like.

Sound psychology in eCommerce

When it comes to consumer music preferences, 17% of consumers like pop music, 10% like rock, 6% like R&B and hip-hop, and 9% like jazz and the blues.


While eCommerce businesses do not have the same signage as traditional businesses, their business logos and headings are just as important when it comes to influencing consumers to make a purchase.

Signage psychology in eCommerce

eCommerce businesses should also focus on the words they choose to use for any slogans or advertisements they will associate with their brand.

For instance, posting a sign that says “sale” will increase the likelihood of consumers visiting a store, and using the word “guaranteed” will make consumers 60% more likely to buy a product.

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What are the characteristics of online shoppers?

There are seven main types of online shoppers, and each one has different shopping habits.

The Bargain Shopper

Roughly 80% of consumers are considered “price-conscious''. These bargain shoppers are typically part of the millions of online shoppers who make plans to shop on Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday.

What is important to these online shoppers?

These shoppers have one mission: to get the best deal. They wait to buy products until they can find sales offering the best possible prices.

Why is buying online better for them?

Online shopping lets them quickly compare prices on various websites and offers them easy access to coupons & discounts.

Curious? Check out Limited Time Offer: 10 compelling examples + how to copy them

The Researcher

About 81% of shoppers fall into this category as they make sure to conduct research online before buying anything.

What is important to these online shoppers?

These shoppers do their due diligence before making a purchase, and they definitely do not buy impulsively. They want to be absolutely sure of the product they are buying.

Why is buying online better for them?

When shopping online, they can easily and conveniently compare the offerings on multiple websites before making a purchase. They can also access reviews and testimonials in real time.

The Man on a Mission

This type of online shopper is goal-oriented and shops online to buy a specific product to fulfill a specific need.

What is important to these online shoppers?

These shoppers want to be able to find exactly what they are looking for quickly and without any hassle.

Why is buying online better for them?

Convenience. For these shoppers, time is everything — and online shopping goes a long way, especially with quick browsing and convenient checkouts.

Curious? Check out 13 Brilliant Ways to Overcome Choice Paralysis in eCommerce (2022)

The Impulse Buyer

The complete opposite of The Researcher, these online shoppers allow emotions to dictate their purchasing habits. This type of shopper is very common with approximately 84% of all shoppers claiming to have made impulse purchases at some point in their lives.

What is important to these online shoppers?

Whether they are bored or upset or lonely, these shoppers buy before thinking. They need to be able to find products that suit their emotional state at the time of purchase.

Why is buying online better for them?

A fair bit of online shopping is triggered by emotional states or impulse buying. Online shopping is quick, convenient, and designed to create urgency thereby playing on the emotional state. This is perfect for such online shoppers who often complete checking out without even so much as a second thought.

The Loyalist

Several online shoppers fall into this category with 75% of shoppers belonging to up to 10 loyalty programs.

What is important to these online shoppers?

These shoppers like to buy from brands they know, love, and trust. It is imperative for eCommerce businesses to know the loyalists so that they can adjust their marketing strategy to appeal to this target audience.

Why is buying online better for them?

eCommerce brands are known for their stellar loyalty programs. The information is easily accessible, neatly broken down, and has rules mentioned upfront. These online shoppers love such clear-cut programs and they regularly partake in them.

Curious? Check out 14 eCommerce Loyalty Programs Backed By Science (Examples)

The Negotiator

Encompassing roughly 20% of all consumers, this type of online shopper is known for trying to get the best deal possible through negotiation.

What is important to these online shoppers?

Their main goal is to get a business to lower its price on a product so that they can “win” every time they make a purchase.

Why is buying online better for them?

These shoppers have one secret tactic under their wing: when they don’t like the price on a website, they fill in all the details, abandon their cart, and wait for an email with a promo code. That’s their win in the world of online shopping and it makes them feel like they’ve accessed an exclusive privilege.

What triggers people to shop online?

Just like traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, eCommerce businesses need to know how online shoppers tend to make their shopping decisions.

Here are a few of the key consumer decision-making triggers eCommerce  businesses should consider:


87% of consumers make purchasing decisions based on the price of a product. Businesses that want to increase their profitability need to make sure they offer competitive pricing.

Return policy

68% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if there is a free or flexible return policy, and 48% of shoppers say they would shop more with businesses that have simple return policies.


46% of consumers are more likely to buy products from businesses that have mobile-friendly web pages, and 40% of mobile users went to a competitor’s site after having a poor mobile shopping experience.


80% of consumers are more likely to buy products from businesses offering low shipping costs and fast shipping. In fact, 53% of consumers are willing to switch online retailers for low-cost shipping.

Brand reputation

A brand’s reputation and trustworthiness influence the shopping decisions of 67% of consumers. eCommerce businesses need to show online shoppers they are trustworthy by focusing on improving their brand reputation and adding verification tools and reviews to their site.

Sales and discounts

71% of consumers make purchases based on sales or discount offers. eCommerce businesses should make sure to advertise their sales effectively so that consumers will visit their site and make a purchase.

Website navigation

Consumers want to be able to find the products they need quickly. Simple site navigation influences 64% of consumers’ shopping decisions.

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 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from an eCommerce site with a variety of product options in stock.

Targeted products

53% of consumers look to buy from businesses that offer a tailored selection of products. Consumers want products that they will find relevant and useful, and they do not want to be inundated with products they cannot use.

Website design

92% of consumers are influenced by website design and visuals. Considering the fact that 90% of shoppers say that videos aid in their decision process, it is vital for eCommerce businesses to incorporate videos on their websites.

Trustworthy reviews

68% of consumers make purchases based on reviews they see on a website. eCommerce businesses should incorporate reviews and consumer feedback on their website.

Here’s how to fix low conversion rates wrt exit-intent popups: Make a contextual offer by making sure the popups are targeted to the right set of audiences. For instance, you run an eCommerce business that sells clothing for kids, men, and women. On the page where men’s products are listed, showing a sale on kids’ clothing is not going to be effective. ‍ Reducing popups, especially on mobile devices, can be extremely intrusive. Use it only if it’s absolutely necessary. If you have to have one, make sure it’s small and easy to close.  Use engaging images to increase interest. And then entice customers to stay on your website and convert by offering a discount code, coupon, free shipping, or a free download.‍ Fine-tune your CTAs to resonate with an audience who will instantly click on them. Employ psychological hacks such as FOMO or a sense of urgency to keep them engaged, drive more sales, and shoot up the conversion rates.‍ Address potential concerns by offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee or some other reassurance for your website visitors to increase trust.

What is a psychological trigger?

A psychological trigger is a term in consumer psychology used to describe anything that causes the brain to release adrenaline and produce an emotional response thereby impacting the buying decision.

Triggers play as cognitive shortcuts that bypass your conscious mind. It is similar to intuition, but more objective and less emotional.

In the eCommerce world, psychological triggers play a vital role in influencing buying decisions and bringing customers to finish checking out.

Think about their journey across the funnel.

Customer journey across eCommerce conversion funnel

Here are a few examples:

Bottom of the Funnel

Middle of the Funnel

  • Showcasing media features on the homepage
  • Building credibility with numbers or stats
  • Including CTAs that create urgency

Top of the Funnel

  • Using the ‘decoy effect’ as a pricing strategy
  • Using customer reviews on the product page
  • Showcasing trust badges on the checkout page
  • Using ‘low stock’ notifications to trigger purchases

What is online consumer behavior?

Online consumer behavior is a conceptualization of the relationship between consumer psychology and goods or services. This relationship is based on the shopper psychology of human decision-making, including behavior, motives, and perceptions.

It is the aggregate of all consumer actions taken while interacting with websites and services. This can be viewed as a combination of all consumer purchases, including brand research and seeding efforts but also non-purchase actions such as referrals and sharing through social media outlets.

Online consumer behaviors can be related to offline behavior (e.g., in marketing campaigns), or can also be directly measured using advanced technologies such as freely available web analytics tools.

The main concepts behind online consumer behavior often cover technology trends, online behavioral studies, and online behavioral research methods.

What are the factors influencing consumer behavior?

Consumer behavior is a term that's often used throughout marketing, advertising and other business sectors. It's at the heart of every industry and can be applied to virtually any kind of product.

Consumer behavior is the study of how humans behave in a given context. It includes the social and psychological contexts that influence consumer decision making, attitudes, and behaviors.

Consumer behavior can be divided into three categories:

Economic Factors

Economic factors have to do with income, expectations about future consumption, and societal expectations. Social class plays a big role in determining consumers’ purchasing behavior since they are more likely to purchase things that will make them comfortable or attractive.

Psychological Factors

Principally, these include external motivation, intrinsic motivation, and social influences. These factors generally influence consumer behavior including their socio-economic, demographic, and geographic backgrounds.

Sociological Factors

Sociological influences are derived from cultural contexts such as shared norms and beliefs about what makes good members of society. These also align with social pressures that are influenced by social reciprocity, symbolic signaling, and stakeholder relations.

Understanding consumer behavior can help you gain a better understanding of which products, services, and ideas are going to be most successful in influencing consumer preferences.

What is the psychology behind shopping?

When people decide whether or not to make a purchase, they follow the same decision-making process: the Nicosia Model.

Developed by professor Francesco M. Nicosia in 1966, this model outlines four key phases that consumers work through when making decisions:

Phase 1: The Process Attitude Formation

This phase encompasses the relationship between the information that a business communicates with its target audience and the actual attitudes of each individual shopper.

During this phase of the decision-making process, consumers are determining their attitudes toward a business and its products based on the information they receive from the business and from the market in general when shopping online.

How does psychology affect consumer behavior?

When a business markets a particular product, shoppers react positively or negatively to the marketing based on their own personal experiences and beliefs. This means it is crucial for businesses to make sure they understand and appeal to their target audience when they communicate with consumers.

Phase 2: Evaluation

The next phase in the Nicosia Model is when the consumer searches for information about a specific product. They do research, weigh their findings, and use that information to evaluate whether or not a specific product from a specific brand will be able to meet their needs.

What are retail tricks?

Retail tricks are a group of marketing tactics used by merchants for the purpose of driving traffic to their online stores. They are designed to increase sales, maximize profits and cover up inefficiencies in the physical store infrastructure.

Popular examples include showcasing trust badges on the checkout page, using ‘low stock’ notifications, highlighting discounts and sales in red, offering free shipping above a certain order value, enabling live-chat functionalities with automated pop-ups with inactivity, and offering promo codes on cart abandonment emails.

Phase 3: Customer behavior

If the consumer is satisfied with a particular product, he will be motivated to make a purchase and become a customer. Even though during this phase, the consumer actually buys a product from a business, it is still not the end of the decision-making process.

How do shops use psychology to influence buying decisions?

When you browse the internet and see an advertisement for something, is your subconscious mind trying to convince you to buy it? What about when you're deciding between two products? There's been a lot of research into shopper psychology and its impact on consumer behavior.

One of the key secrets of success for online stores is how they use consumer psychology to influence buying decisions. A lot of it has to do with the way they use visual cues, color and product placement.

This involves using psychological concepts like anchoring, framing, the ‘decoy effect’, gestalt principles, and the adjustment method, or simply playing to the emotional state of a consumer when making a purchase.

The Ocean & Co uses ocean-themed images to inspire a lifestyle appeal for the brand, connecting emotion with purchases.

Free shipping threshold communication on homepage

Phase 4: Feedback

After a customer is able to use or interact with the product he purchased, he will have feedback that he will use to inform future purchasing decisions. For instance, he might decide that he would rather not make a purchase from a certain business again if his experience with a product is subpar.

How can consumer habits influence the market?

Consumers' habits run the market; they affect everything from personal finances to corporate profits. Consumer habits indicate the current trends in consumption, the requirements of consumers, and what the future likely holds.

Studying consumer habits can help you understand your customer base, raise awareness of potential issues with your products or services and ultimately drive revenue growth.

This is commonly implemented by companies all over the world and has been proven to be an important factor in the development of new products, improving existing ones and providing customers with quality service.

What are the types of online shopping?

There are two main types of shopping that businesses need to factor into their marketing strategies: conscious and unconscious shopping.

What types of people shop online?

Consumers who engage in conscious shopping:

  • Typically prefer to buy from sustainable brands
  • Buy less than other shoppers
  • Are more willing to buy second-hand products
  • Value quality over quantity
  • Shop with a list or a clear goal in mind
  • Set a budget when shopping

Consumers who engage in unconscious shopping:

  • Are easily influenced by sales
  • Shop when they feel bored, tired, hungry, lonely, or upset
  • Don’t set a time frame for shopping
  • Shop with family and friends influencing their purchasing decisions

What is the theory of online shopping?

The growth of the Internet and borderless transactions has transformed how consumers interact with businesses.

Companies are now able to reach out to their customers directly through social media and through mobile devices, making it easier for them to communicate and engage with their customers.

As a result, companies have started using different marketing strategies to get their products in front of their target audience.

This has triggered a rise in consumer behavior, thereby fueling both kinds of shopping. This creates a divide between businesses catering to each one.

Where businesses look into unconscious shopping, they’re offering more deals, better loyalty programs, and improved freebies.

On the other hand, brands catering to conscious shoppers are considering better ways to produce and distribute their products; in comes ethical shopping. Now more than ever, conscious consumers are considering ethics when they shop online.

Want an insider’s perspective? Check out this snippet from our conversation with Apliiq:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping?

The world of eCommerce presents a plethora of opportunities and comes with its own share of advantages and disadvantages.


  • Offers a more convenient approach to brick-and-mortar
  • Easy accessibility with more options and better prices
  • Can easily source all the information about a particular product
  • Reviews and testimonials available at a quick glance


  • Fraudulent websites and phishing attacks
  • Product quality cannot be tested beforehand
  • Returns can be a hassle without a proper system
  • Lack of transparency with delayed deliveries & hidden costs

Final words

There are many benefits of online shopping. The world of eCommerce offers an avenue for consumers to buy things they actually like, check out quickly, and conveniently buy products from the comfort of their homes. And yet, conversion rates are generally only about 2% to 5%.

What stops them from buying? What is the biggest problem with online shoppers? A lack of trust and genuineness. While the big players have set a name for themselves, the smaller D2C brands often fail to build a sense of trust before they ask for a purchase. That is why customers are often hesitant in online shopping.

That's one of the most common problems faced by a consumer and lays the path for more disadvantages of online shopping: fraudulent websites, phishing attacks, hidden costs, delayed deliveries, and lack of transparency.

When you cater to these concerns, relay consumer psychology strategies in your store, and position your brand as a trusted authority, you're far more likely to align with the retail consumer behavior and requirements. This would lay the path for more success down the road.

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