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The psychology of website presentation and online shopping

by Tim Rimington | November 4, 2010

It's no great secret that psychology plays an important part in the determination of how your customers react to your website content or its products. Considerations such as colour, imagery, pricing and so on, all need to be carefully planned if you want to capture and retain a buyer's attention.

The ways in which your customers perceive their online environment (i.e. the appearance of your website or online store) will of course dictate their overall response. Last week I spoke about the importance of "keeping up appearances". If you persist in providing your customers with an online store of poor imagery, boring textual information and so on, then you're probably not pushing the right buttons.

Studies have shown that product images set against green backgrounds or patterns trigger sensitivity to price, and products set against a blue background evoke a sense of "comfort". In plain terms, lower priced products generally fare better when set against green backgrounds; higher ticket items set against blue, while highlighting the product's benefits, better prepare customers for a larger ticket value.

What prompted this article was a visit to a new Westfield shopping centre in Sydney's Pitt Street Mall. I've visited some amazing shopping malls over the years but this is something else, at least by Australian standards! On the bottom level of this new centre is a collection of upmarket and "hip" retailers obviously geared towards younger people, but the impression it makes is almost breathtaking. Plenty of "eye candy" by way of extraordinary shop fittings and shop fronts to grab the attention of passers-by. Walking inside some of the stores I was greeted by enthusiastic staff who, regardless of true intention, appeared genuinely happy that I'd entered their store. That type of attitude rubs off on you! Not only did I spend longer inside the stores with the enthusiastic staff, but I walked away and told people about the experience. I was completely drawn in by the amazing visuals and suddenly price took a back seat!

The same applies to an online presence. You must evoke emotion, trigger a reaction and excite your visitors enough so that they not only return but they tell others about their experience in your store or website. So if your business isn't treating its online presence seriously, then you're sending the wrong message to your customers. As I said in this article, if you don't take your website or online store seriously then the day will come when another business operator will by setting up shop in competition to you and leaving you in their dust!

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