Stefaniy Martynenko

Psychology of choice: what factors influence the decision to buy on Amazon

I’d like to start by saying that the psychology of choice is a surprisingly complex process that involves many aspects of consumer behavior. However, understanding these aspects (at least at a basic level, without academic immersion in psychology) will help you create more effective marketing strategies and better understand your customers’ needs.

That is why we have made this article as simple and useful as possible: you will find a sufficient number of examples that you can immediately put into practice.

What are triggers and how do emotions affect sales?

It will come as no surprise that the task of any sales professional is to find a customer’s need and fill it (preferably through the benefits of the product). However, from the point of view of customer psychology, we need to dig deeper and find the “pains”.

For example, a woman is looking for hair dye. This is her request and need. The seller’s task is to help her choose the color, brand, and make the purchase. But the “pain” is what she really needs this dye for: gray hair greatly affects her self-esteem and makes her feel insecure.

In other words, “pain” is about emotions, which often influence sales much more than rational arguments. And to stir up emotions, we use triggers – actions, objects, events, colors, smells, words (anything) that can cause certain states and emotional experiences in a person.

For example, the advertisement of “the very grandmother’s pie” from a rational point of view hints at quality (who can make a pie tastier than your favorite grandmother? ), but from a psychological point of view (which is often unnoticed and happens subconsciously), it brings us back to the hot days of summer vacation, when after playing with friends, red-faced and out of breath, we ran home to drink water and felt IT: that same smell of sweet fruit, fragrant dough and powdered sugar.
Who doesn’t want to recreate this and return to their carefree childhood again, even for a moment?

That is, the pie ad triggers emotions associated with nostalgic memories. But not always, to increase conversion, these emotions can be positive and with a + sign: happiness, joy, euphoria, pleasure, passion, a sense of care, etc. You can sell through fear quite successfully: “Are you sure that burglars won’t break into your house?” is a great slogan for a company that deals with security systems.

Moreover, the psychology of choice tells us that a person is more afraid of losing than of finding. That is, according to this statement, “getting a discount” (finding) is a less influential factor in sales than “losing an opportunity”. Understanding this, and, most importantly, introducing emotions into content and advertising, you can increase conversion and overall sales figures many times over. It is not for nothing that they joke that “marketers around the world are powerless when a woman is looking for black sneakers but buys a red dress.” The seller of the red dress must have very skillfully selected the triggers or touched the right “white” to make an emotional purchase instead of the planned rational one.

The effect of the average price

Price is one of the main factors of successful sales. Our customers always face the problem of choice (psychology interprets this as the difficulty of making a decision due to many alternatives). And our task is to eliminate this problem, but to do so in a reasonable way so that it brings a positive effect to the business.

Yes, you shouldn’t set the cheapest price for your product, because the buyer will perceive it as a signal of poor quality. But it’s not a good idea to overcharge either – no one wants to overpay. The average price effect is explained in an interesting way by this experiment.

Customers are offered 2 packs of milk: $1.6 and $1.8. Most choose the more expensive product, probably considering it to be of higher quality or prestige. Then a third option appears: $1.4. No one buys the cheapest pack, and the $1.6 milk becomes the best-selling product.

This principle is widely used in marketing to develop pricing strategies and create offers for customers.

Therefore, when we see 3 tariffs (for example, for an online course), we can conclude that we are being sold the middle one, and the rest is often made as an “argument” in its favor. The same technique is used by movie theaters to sell popcorn and fast food chains (small/medium/large fries).

The principle of ownership or social arguments

People are social beings, so what the majority does subconsciously becomes the norm for us.

Let’s say you’re walking in the direction you want to go, say, to work. But suddenly a crowd appears from around the corner, running in the opposite direction. You will probably run after them, obeying your survival instinct (if they are running away, it is dangerous).

So does freedom of choice exist then? Marketing psychology proves that we buy not what we want, but what is sold to us. How can you use this principle in your online store?

It’s quite simple: the more reviews, ratings, stars, the higher the conversion. Various quantitative counters work well: “XXX people have already bought this product” or “3 out of 100 left” as a signal that there is a chance of not being in time (loss trigger) and “97 people have already bought this, so it must be a good product” (group involvement).

The effect of color

It’s also important to note the role of branding, which has a significant impact on decision-making. The problem of choice in psychology can be solved by simplifying the process, i.e. choosing products that are already familiar, tried and tested, or dictated by marketers.

Colors, logos, packaging – all of these aspects can influence a customer’s decision. For example, a study in the journal Public Psychology found that the color of a product’s packaging can influence the perception of its quality and taste.

Green is fresh, high-quality, natural. Yellow – sour, warm, attractive. Brown – sweet, traditional, durable.

Summary. Simplify the selection process for the consumer by offering a more limited but meaningful number of alternatives. Create recommendations, filters, or suggestions to reduce stress and improve satisfaction.

“Play” with prices to find the optimal balance of perceived value and quality. And, of course, implement triggers (in the form of text, buttons, colors, pop-up windows) to make your potential customers make emotional purchases.

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