Let’s be rational, being ‘rational’ is not something that comes naturally to people. 

Simply put, humans are irrational beings, but the good thing is that they are also predictable! Behavioral Science helps you identify and understand why people do the things they do.

In the highly competitive world of eCommerce, understanding what motivates your potential customers and what drives their behaviour will help you optimise your products and experience for conversion rates.


What does this mean?

But first, what exactly is behavioural science? Simply put, it’s the scientific understanding of human behaviour. It helps understand the drivers and barriers of behaviour. Have you ever wondered why people do the things they do? Behavioural science is here to help you understand what motivates your potential customers, and how to use it to supercharge your eCommerce conversions.

While increasing the number of people landing on your website is a crucial factor to having success, this does not mean that the number of sales will increase exponentially. Instead, you need to optimise your site to do more with the traffic you have so that traffic increases, and so will sales. And the best way to ensure this is by implementing behavioural insights in your eCommerce website. 

At Reflect Digital, we use insights from psychology, behavioural economics and nudge theory to inform our decision-making. Understanding and applying these insights enable us to apply effective marketing strategies that improve conversions.

To ensure that your eCommerce conversions are effective, firstly you need to understand how human behaviour can impact your website visitors' decisions. So how can you apply behavioural science to increase eCommerce conversions? 
Here, we outline four ways marketers can apply behavioural science to increase eCommerce conversions. 


#1 Prevent cognitive overload

Have you ever wondered what’s stopping someone from carrying out the purchase? When individuals are given too much information at once, it overwhelms their ability to think and decide clearly. This leaves them frustrated and in doubt, and most times they don’t end up buying the product.

A study in 2021 found that by reducing decision overload you can help your customers make quicker decisions, increase the chance of completing the purchase and reduce decision fatigue.

Less is more when it comes to the checkout process. It’s important to reduce friction or distractions. So make sure you provide a smooth and pleasant experience by reducing checkout steps.

Reducing friction is an important step in simplifying the purchase experience. This is simply ensuring your site is easy to use by removing elements that may prevent a user from completing the transaction. A 2023 study showed that 1 in 2 customers will switch to a frictionless website shopping experience. So, make sure to avoid friction costs such as asking site visitors to sign up before completing a purchase - this is a step in the customer journey that could be moved to later to reduce friction.

Remember! The easier the behaviour, the greater the chance that they will do it!


#2 Clear structure 

A simple, clear structure is the key to a positive website experience. A clear structure to your site with clear CTA’s and navigation menu ensures that users can effectively find what they need.

Intuitive Navigation Menu

Behavioural science shows that as humans we tend to favour simplicity and ease. A very clear navigation menu where people can see where to look for categories including new items, sale offers, etc. goes a long way in providing visitors with the guidance they need to find and purchase the products they want.

New research shows that 69 % of consumers go straight to the search bar, but 80% of visitors leave before completing the purchase because the search experience didn’t meet their expectations. To ensure this does not happen, make sure you have an easy and clear navigation process.

Clear CTAS

Call to action is a necessary way to increase user engagement. CTAs should resonate with users and prompt visitors to take a specific action, creating a sense of urgency as well as value.

Eye-tracking studies found that when people visit eCommerce websites they look from the right to the left and from up to down. So make sure that your most important CTA is placed on the right, at the beginning of your website. Including eye-catching buttons or graphics to draw attention towards the CTA can also help with ensuring visitors go through with their purchase. 



Use action-oriented language – this not only prompts users to take immediate action but also encourages engagement.  

Highlight value and benefits – communicate what benefits and value the user can gain by engaging with the CTA. Let them know how your product or service can solve their problem.

Create a clear Call to Action and create a sense of reinforcement – the visitor will know what they’ll get from completing the purchase and will have no doubts.

After all, one of the most attractive aspects of eCommerce, is that customers can purchase directly from you after looking up an item online, so ensure you make this process as simple and pleasant as possible. 


#3 Personalise the Purchasing Experience 

Customers love when they know that your brand cares about them! Personalisation is one of the most powerful human behaviour techniques and by personalising the purchasing experience, it can have a great impact on conversion rates. By directly speaking to your target market’s needs, you create a more engaging experience and show that you care.

Analysing consumer data and behavioural analysis can help offer personalised product recommendations and customised offers. This will not only help you get to your target market faster, but your visitors will feel a sense of being understood, so they are much more likely to make a purchase.


#4 - Social proof

People are more willing to buy a product if they know that others have bought and recommended it as well. A study on customer experience found that 81% of customers read online reviews before deciding to make a purchase to ensure they make the best decision. In the buying process, trust is one of the key ingredients, that’s why understanding your audience is essential.BS

Understanding your audience increases your engagement which will ultimately increase trust.

Social proof simply works because we see others doing something, and we think it is the right thing to do as well! Reviews, ratings or past customer testimonials will help visitors gain trust which will therefore improve your ecommerce conversions. Make sure to highlight the positive experiences of past customers to ensure you provide credibility. For example, Zara uses social proof to reassure customers that clothes will fit them. This puts them at an advantage as one of the main concerns which discourage individuals to do online clothes shopping is worries about the right fit. Take a look at how Zara used social proof to eliminate this problem:


Does using behavioural science get results?

To showcase the power behavioural science can have, we wanted to share a little example with you. In 2022 we applied behavioural science principles to our work with client, Complete Pilates. We added relevant social proof to the page banner on their Group Pilates page. This social proof took the form of a quote from a regular user of the brand, particularly chosen as it described the results and feelings she enjoyed as a result of taking the classes.

When the results came in we swiftly rolled the test out further across the website to gain more information and higher results. The results were replicable and quickly began pushing up conversion rates across the site.

Key Takeaways

Including Behavioural Science insights into your eCommerce website can be a game changer! 

By understanding human behaviour and your potential customers, you can optimise your business as well as the user experience, which will ultimately end in higher conversions. 

Every small improvement can have a great impact on your eCommerce conversions, so start implementing these behavioural science insights today and see the positive difference they can make to your business!

If you’re thinking about elevating your eCommerce business’ approach with behavioural science, please get in touch - we’d love to support you on your journey! 




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