Shopping secrets: Applying psychology for ecommerce wins

The ecommerce field never sleeps; it is constantly evolving to keep up with new trends and technologies in this ever-shifting consumer landscape. Yet, while the landscape may change, one fundamental truth remains constant: the complex workings of the human mind. We're wired a certain way, and those quirks of psychology have a big impact on how we shop online. In this dynamic realm where clicks translate to conversions and user behaviour dictates success, understanding the hidden drivers behind consumer decisions makes all the difference for a successful ecommerce business. 

While cognitive biases can, without a doubt, be powerful tools for enhancing the user experience and driving conversions in ecommerce, it's crucial to use them with care and integrity. Join us as we uncover the secrets of ecommerce success by tapping into the power of psychology, and learn how we at 30Acres have made use of these biases with our clients. 

Confirmation Bias

People have a tendency to seek out information that confirms their existing beliefs or preferences while ignoring contradictory evidence. As a UX designer, for example, I can utilise this bias to reinforce positive user experiences and align with users' preconceptions. At 30Acres, we have made use of the insights from this bias and implemented filtering/sorting functionalities with most of our clients. This opens up a way for the user to customise their browsing experience based on criteria they already value and prefer. 

Filter functionality implemented for Ezydog Australia

Anchoring Bias 

People tend to rely heavily on the first piece of information they encounter (“the anchor”) when making decisions, sometimes even too heavily. This is why the initial information you display to your users might be way more important than you think, so let’s make the most out of the opportunity. 

In ecommerce, this bias can influence pricing strategies, as customers may anchor their perception of value based on the initial price they see. An example of this is displaying a higher "anchor" together with the actual discounted price. This higher initial price sets a reference point for users, making the discounted price seem more appealing and encouraging them to make a purchase. This is a common approach which we have taken with many of our clients, Thrills Co to just name one. 

Pricing strategy implemented for Thrills Co

Choice overload 

Too many choices can, and most probably will, overwhelm users and lead to decision paralysis. Hence why we should carefully curate product options, provide clear navigation paths, and offer decision-making aids (e.g., filters, sorting options) to mitigate choice overload in ecommerce. 

I guess you have all heard about the saying “Less is more”, now is a good time. 

Loss Aversion & Scarcity effect

Individuals are more motivated to avoid losses than to acquire equivalent gains. In other words, the pain of losing something is typically felt more intensely than the pleasure of gaining something of equal value. In ecommerce, emphasising potential losses (e.g., missed discounts, limited availability) can spur action and encourage users to complete purchases. The Scarcity effect may result in the customer feeling the urgency to purchase, due to e.g. a limited offering or availability. For one of our clients we implemented a functionality revealing the availability of the products, e.g. “only 3 left”. The FOMO is getting real. 

Product availability implemented for Thrills Co

The Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect is a cognitive bias where individuals tend to adopt certain behaviours, beliefs, or trends simply because many others are doing so, regardless of their own personal beliefs or preferences. In other words, people may "jump on the bandwagon" and conform to a popular opinion or a behaviour in order to fit in or avoid social isolation. This is often also referred to as Social proof or Herding mentality. Simply put, you’ll do what others do. In ecommerce, user reviews, ratings, and testimonials are used to influence purchase decisions by providing reassurance and validation from peers.

Company testimonials implemented for Mukti Skincare
Customer reviews for Ezydog Australia


When people receive a favour or gift, they feel compelled to reciprocate in return. This bias stems from a social norm that encourages mutual exchange and cooperation within social interactions. When someone receives a favour, gift, or act of kindness, they often feel a sense of indebtedness and are inclined to reciprocate in return, even if the initial gesture was unsolicited.

Ecommerce platforms can leverage this bias by offering freebies, discounts, or personalised recommendations as incentives for users to engage or make purchases. For one of our clients, Émigré Travel, we worked together with our technical partner Rebuy to display gifts both on the Product Page as well as in the cart drawer. 

Gift with Purchase functionality implemented for Émigré Travel together with Rebuy

Framing Effect

The framing effect is a cognitive bias where people's decisions are influenced by how information is presented to them, or "framed." The same information presented in different ways can lead to different judgments or decisions. We can, for example, frame product descriptions, pricing, and promotional messages in ways that highlight benefits and minimise perceived risks to enhance user appeal. For one of our clients, Mukti Organics, we implemented a hover effect functionality, displaying the benefits for that particular product. 

Benefits highlighted on hover for Mukti Organics

The Endowment effect

The endowment effect is a cognitive bias where individuals tend to assign a higher value to items they own compared to identical items they do not own. This bias stems from a sense of ownership and attachment to possessions, leading people to overvalue them simply because they possess them. In ecommerce, allowing users to customise products can capitalise on this bias to increase perceived value. We made this possible with two of our clients, Fliteboard and Ezydog. For Fliteboard, the customer can build their very own board, choosing colour, wings, battery etc. With EzyDog, the customer can customise their dog harness or dog bed with a custom label of their choice.

Custom Label functionality implemented for Ezydog Australia
Custom Configurator implemented for Fliteboard

Our final words - Do it with grace 

The responsibility lies in your hands. Guiding users towards informed decisions should always be the goal, rather than resorting to manipulation or trickery. It's a delicate balance between making use of psychological insights to facilitate a smoother shopping journey and crossing the line into deceptive practices. Crossing that line not only risks backfiring in the short term but can also ruin trust and credibility in the long run. 

Ultimately, maintaining transparency, honesty, and respect for the user's autonomy should remain paramount in any ecommerce strategy, and that is how we do it at 30Acres. 

Are you interested in how we can help you win as well?


by Lisa

April 12, 2024

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