Six Laws of E-Commerce Consumer Psychology

Although marketing methods of e-commerce and physical stores are slightly different, several principles of consumer psychology are still the same-“change the soup, not the medicine.”

The well-known master Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the book “Influence”, put forward six principles to persuade people to say “Yes”:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Consistency & Commitment
  5. Liking
  6. Consensus & Social Proof

 Although this book was published before eBay and Amazon came out, but “Master leads the door, and practice is personal”, We will introduce you to the basic concepts of these six principles and how to apply them in e-commerce.

E-commerce consumer psychology statistics

Before detailing these six principles, MarketingSkull wants to tell you a few statistics about the psychology of e-commerce consumers.

  1. Reciprocity

The basic concept of the principle of reciprocity is: “Unleash a little kindness and create great rewards.”

Most restaurants in the United States have a tipping mechanism. In the case of physical storefronts, the principle of reciprocity is operated. Take the restaurant providing mints as an example. The study found that providing guests with 1 mint can increase the tip by 3%; 2 mints can increase the tip by 14%. But if the service of providing mints is delivered to the guests by the service staff, the effect is even more significant.

The principle of reciprocity is very important: how do you deliver this “discount”, whether this offer is a very “personalized service”, and at the same time create a sense of “unexpected” surprise for consumers.

In e-commerce applications, the most common is to buy beauty products and give away trial packages of other products; or to increase consumers’ desire to buy through free shipping discounts or use accumulated points to offset the consumption amount. Repurchase rate can be promoted by a multi-reward mechanism, discount coupons for full amount, and birthday gift rewards.

According to the survey, since 2013, more than 50% of American adults will use digital discount coupons whether they shop in physical stores or online, and the use rate is increasing year by year; and 57% of people said that if there is no discount on goods Discounts, they will not buy the product; discounts can increase consumer satisfaction by 4%.

However, due to Amazon’s rigorous regulations (see: Five Common Mistakes Made by Amazon Sellers You Should Avoid), sellers who use FBA logistics are not allowed to “give away” products for free, but they can still be obtained by letting consumers fill in reviews. Product discount codes and other methods make “small soldiers make great contributions.” (How to get real product reviews without violating Amazon management policies?)

The other is the content marketing (basic skills, actual combat) mentioned in the previous few weeks, which provides the information consumers need, such as “how to remove the smell of smoking after smoking” and “how to remove the peculiar smell after going to the toilet” And so on, let consumers find solutions to small life problems from your website, gain consumers’ trust and attention by creating practical information; use text to further pay attention to the information you publish, and then like your product, Even buying your product or service.

  1. Rarity (Scarcity)

Rarity locks in consumers’ values ​​of “scarceness as precious” and the feeling of hating loss because of fear of losing or missing something. People try to avoid the feeling of loss when making decisions, but this feeling is often a subconscious perception, so consumers are not easy to detect.

For example, now give each person 50 yuan, and then ask them to make the following two choices:
  1. Hold 30 USD
  2. Gambling: the chances of losing 50 yuan or keeping 50 yuan are equally divided

Most people will choose the first one without hesitation. But when the first option is now changed to “lost 20 yuan”, people will want to say, “I want to win some money back.” In the actual example, although the experiment is exactly the same, the result is completely different because of the change in the description.

In the first experiment, only 43% of people chose to take a gamble; in the second experiment, 61% of people chose to give it a go. People were more willing to take risks in order to avoid losses.

In response to the consumer’s “loss aversion” mental state, e-commerce can operate in several ways, mainly to make potential customers feel that they already own the product, but if they don’t buy it, there is no way to get the corresponding experience or service.

For example, post videos of actual users using the product, and add text and sound, so that people will have the illusion that “I seem to own this product too” while watching the video and invest in relevant situations.

In addition, like providing free trials such as 7 days and 30 days, there are different strategies according to the nature of the product.

The second is to cleverly use words to attract attention: when doing promotions, don’t just show the “30% off discount”, but remind consumers to “buy fast, otherwise you will miss out and save 30% Opportunities!”.

Or combined with “the rare thing is precious”, the creators do not have this product in their hands, or do not need this product, but hope that they can promote the desire to buy, slogan “limited time limit”, and this method It is very useful in physical stores or e-commerce markets.

For example, an e-commerce website can display the amount of inventory or the time when the discount counts down; in addition, such as seasonal restrictions, limited products can also trigger impulsive consumption.

  1. Authority

Follow the opinion leaders.

When people make decisions, based on the influence of “past experience”, it is easy to make the final judgment based on “professional or professional”.

For example, the general manager of a company is dressed very decent, feels very stance and momentum, and will improve your chances of working with this company. It is also like when we ask for information about medication, we always trust doctors or people with relevant background and experience, or friends who have used related products and trusted friends around us, as decision-making considerations, because we trust these people Perhaps more professional than ourselves, we know from our past learning experience who may be more researched in this area.

Therefore, it is very important for consumers to feel “professional”. The first step is to have a good user interface. Whether it is selling goods or services, the website design, photos, and product information must be “respectful”. Otherwise, no matter how good your products are, the website is very well done. It is also difficult to get consumers’ favor with “paint off”.

In addition, consumers will decide whether to buy based on expert endorsements, user reviews, or recommendations from influential people. (Amazon’s operation method can refer to: OZ Natural’s word-of-mouth marketing)

  1. Consistency & Commitment

Let consumers take the initiative to make voluntary behaviors and fulfill their promises.

The study found that asking patients to write down the date they will see a doctor in the future can reduce the absentee rate by 18%. If you say to him when interacting with consumers in a physical store, “You seem to be a person who loves the earth and is environmentally friendly,” then consumers are likely to buy environmentally friendly products. The aforementioned two examples are all because consumers want to maintain a consistent image in front of the public, and “pencil in” is also a way for consumers to remember to fulfill their promises.

 Therefore, when consumers announce or note related information about products or stores, they will invisibly increase their loyalty to the products. In e-commerce applications, consumers are asked to share information on their graffiti walls, recommend to friends, and register as members. However, corresponding incentives must be provided to make consumers promise.

  1. Liking

People are always unable to resist what they like.

We will like people who are very similar to ourselves, people who always fulfill the promises we have made with ourselves, and people who have the same goals as ourselves. Therefore, when selling in a physical store, such as a car salesman, he will often ask you some personal preferences, because he wants to understand you and find the common characteristics of each other, so that his statement is more convincing.

Although the characteristics of consumers in the e-commerce market are hidden, but from another perspective, you can clearly present your characteristics to potential consumers, so that potential consumers can more easily recognize your characteristics and find you What you have in common with them makes them like your products more, and they have a feeling of “seeking friends” when shopping.

For example, you can create consumer familiarity through advertising, or create an unforgettable customer experience, use “About Us” to tell the brand story and let consumers know you better. At the same time, returning to the website design, such as the use of colors, fonts, photo styles, and brand personality must be close to the preferences of potential consumers in order to capture their hearts. (Please refer to Poo-Pourri’s brand story)

  1. Consensus & Social Proof

People often see what other people make to decide their own choice; and when we know that others have done it, we are willing to do it.

A very common example in life is like when we go to a restaurant to eat, we are used to asking the clerk what kind of food to recommend, or ordering according to the “instructions” of food bloggers; for example, nightclubs or bars often deliberately Creating queues of people makes people feel like “If so many people want to go to that store, then this store must be very good” and be attracted to it.

Actual research examples are explained by the consumer behavior of the hotel industry’s slogan of “reusing towels”.

The most basic test is that the hotel operator posted a small notice in the bathroom, hoping that consumers can do their best to protect the environment by reusing towels, and this slogan allows the towel re-use rate to reach 35%.

An experiment in a hotel found that 75% of guests who stayed in the same room for more than four days would reuse towels. So, they rewritten the slogan as “More than 75% of our customers reuse towels, so do the same!” As a result, the reuse rate of towels increased by 26%.

The results of the experiment confirm that people will do the same thing after doing a certain behavior based on someone like themselves. How to operate in e-commerce: usually what other products the person who buys this product will match, or the people who browsed this product, also bought what, and can recommend joint sales. Let people generate a kind of “what did they buy by people who have similar ideas to me”, and try to make consumers have a sense of similarity, and this method is especially like lighting a lamp for consumers who don’t know the product. Generally, further instructions and reference are made to reduce consumer anxiety and anxiety.

85% of consumers said they would read product reviews before purchasing, and 79% believed that product reviews were as effective as personal recommendations. And 67% of consumers said that they usually read 6 or less evaluation information. Reading product evaluations can make them more confident in the product.

In addition, in terms of payment security that consumers care about, 80% of consumers think that seeing a credible credit card icon will feel that payment security is higher; and 40% think that providing multiple payment options, Will feel more confident about the website; and 59% of consumers choose not to buy in the end because they expect the payment method and the industry does not provide it. Therefore, it is very important to make consumers feel familiar, and of course the professions mentioned above are included.

In the same way, Poo-pourri is also implemented on its Amazon sales platform, and Amazon itself also provides the above-mentioned services, as well as presenting consumer reviews, best-selling rankings, and common consumer questions.

You may be wondering, what about the pricing? Doesn’t the pricing of goods affect consumers’ choices? Pricing is of course very important. The level of pricing also represents the risk that people can bear. Finally, risk perception is used to make a small summary of the above six principles.

  • Increase the possible risks when consumers say No: rarity, consistency, reciprocity principle
  • Reduce the risks that consumers can generate when they say Yes: to do what they like, social recognition, authority

I hope that after reading the six mental methods introduced in this report, you can better understand online consumer psychology and practice these practical tips without paying for them. Try to start with one or two principles and improve step by step. Ways of marketing to increase overall sales.


  • An MBA graduate specialized in Marketing, with proven abilities in digital Marketing, New product development, and advertisement. A professional Digital Marketer, blogger, web marketing services provider, Advertiser, Promotions, and Relationship Marketer. Highly motivated with a great degree of flexibility to adapt to changes, resourcefulness, and commitment to work; ambitious and capable of resolving multiple and complex issues.


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