How Good Web Design Influences Consumer Behavior

Posted March 20, 2015

By Owen Andrew

Good design is one of the most influential tools in a sales person's repertoire. You can see the effect of good design in supermarkets, where chains spend millions of dollars testing to find exactly the right place to arrange products. Why? Because good design influences shopper behavior, and placing products in the right location increases sales.

That logic translates to online shopping, too. Certain design decisions can encourage your visitors to spend more money, to buy more products or services, and to become a repeat customer. We examine some of the ways in which good website design can affect shopper psychology.

Elements of Influential Website Design

Theme Color

Though color psychology is not new to business, most small business website owners don’t think about it nearly enough. Blue seems to be the most popular color on the Internet, with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr all using a shade of blue. Standing out from the crowd might mean choosing a different color.

It can pay to think about what you want your site to accomplish—do you have a deals website, where customers can find great, time-limited deals? You can use color psychology to reinforce this impression: just look at the colors of brick-and-mortar discount stores. Orange, red, yellow—these stores use hot colors to convey a sense of urgency, and to push their customers to shop and decide faster. Take time to survey the visual look of your competitors' websites. What color themes do they use?

small business website design

Ease of Use

This is a no brainer. If your website's slow or confusing to navigate, you make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to buy anything. It’s extremely important to make sure the purchase funnel is as simple as possible, so that even the least computer-savvy visitors can find and buy a product on your website quickly and easily. Tools like image resizers can help work out the kinks in your design. You’ll find that with each simplification, your overall conversion numbers get better, and your dropout rate decreases.

Powerful Copywriting

Call to actions can make all the difference when it comes to converting visitors to customers, and good copywriting can create a sense of economy or security. Words like "guaranteed" and "security" and "experts" can create a sense of safety in a hesitant customer.

Creating urgency: many hotel and airline ticket websites use our inherent fear of missing out on a good deal to get people to book reservations. For instance, when you’re examining a certain flight or hotel room, you might notice a small bit of text with a message like "currently being browsed by 7 other travelers" or "only 2 rooms left at this price."

Messages like these are incredibly effective at creating a sense of urgency, pushing customers to make a booking they are not totally sure about in order to ensure they don’t spend more money on it later.

Web Design Affects Customer Action Online

By employing psychologically-conscious design in your website, you can increase the influence you have over your visitors’ mindset. By providing them with subtle cues through design and copywriting decisions, you can influence their behavior in measurable ways. Design psychology is an indispensable tool for small business etailers, and if you ignore it, you're likely to lose customers and sales.

Owen Andrew is a journalist and tech enthusiast who has written for numerous publications, both in print and on the Web. He enjoys researching and writing about ecommerce and entrepreneurship.

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