The Elements of Human Behavior that Influence Website Conversions

What do your customers want? What will make them buy from you?

Some of these questions can only be answered by studying the habits of your website visitors since one industry’s audience will certainly differ from another. However, other behaviors are witnessed in the majority of consumers and these tendencies can be studied to improve website conversions.

Fortunately, as human beings, all of us have certain psychological tendencies and behaviors. These nuances can help ecommerce website owners devise a higher converting website strategy with only a few tweaks and changes.

This article was inspired by the website Get Elastic. Get Elastic published an informative post discussing the key elements that influence a customer’s behavior as it relates to website conversions. I found the article helpful and wanted to summarize the main points below:

1. Add to Cart Button

Make your “Add to Cart” buttons stand out! This is not a new tip, but it seems as if many website owners do not feel a small change like this can make a difference. People are drawn to elements that seem different or odd. Factors such as color, shape and size can influence where users’ eyes land and what compels them to click. Test a few different colors and odd shapes to see if it makes a difference in your conversions.

2. Using the word “will” in your content

The word “will” strips a statement of its validity. Take a look at these two examples:

  • The Lawnmower2000 will save you hours of time by cutting your lawn mowing time in half!
  • The Lawnmower2000 saves you hours of time by cutting your lawn mowing time in half!

The first statement suggests to the consumer that the product may give the user the supposed benefit. If there is a “will”, there can also be a “will not”. The second statement strongly informs the reader of the benefit.

3. Free Shipping vs. Discounts

I have mentioned this in previous posts, but it is worth mentioning again. Many studies confirm that a free shipping discount wins over price discounts.

Wharton marketing professor David Bell discovered that customers were more interested in free shipping discounts worth $6.99 in savings rather than a $10 discount in product price.

This seems unlikely, but the psychology of the human brain plays a role in this dynamic. Many shoppers are trying to justify sitting home purchasing on their computers because of the associated disadvantages (no physical interaction with product, sizing issues, safety concerns, etc.). Shopping locally would eliminate the shipping charges so when a consumer sees the coveted “free shipping” it justifies their decision to stay home and point and click their way to a purchase.

4. Site Speed

In an age of high-speed broadband, fast food and microwave dinners, the general public is not exactly a model of patience. How many seconds do you wait before bailing on a site that isn’t loading? I usually give it 3 seconds.

According to reports by Forrester in 2007, a site loading speed of 4 seconds or more not only influences users’ current decisions to exit your site, but it also affects their desire to return to your site. According to the report, a percentage of consumers would perceive the slow loading website in a negative light and some would tell their friends not to visit the site again. Page load speed also affects search engine rankings.

I found these to be the top 4 behavior tendencies that can affect website conversions, but there are many others. Have you identified any that have increased or decreased your website conversions?

2 thoughts on “The Elements of Human Behavior that Influence Website Conversions

  1. Leaving aside what I understand about SEO,my own online purchases seem to be influenced by the number of times I visit a site.I will research a product/service and whichever site I visit the most through search engine results seems to be the one I buy from (especially if they rank for more than one keyword).I register design quality first,then concise messaging/pricing and as you mentioned, big buttons,and free shipping are a clear winner.


  2. The “add to cart” button starts the buying process and is definitely a required step in completing a conversion on a shopping cart website. Other buttons that need to stand out follow this same logic and are the buttons found throughout the checkout process. These include the “checkout” button on the shopping cart page, the “create account” button, and the “confirm order” button. You may have other buttons in your checkout process that I haven’t mentioned which will depend on your checkout process.

    Buttons like these should be a different color than your regular buttons. They are often bigger and bolder so that they stand out. Doing this can help you rule out the possibility the customer did not know where to go next in the process to buy on your website.


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