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5 Tricks of the mind to influence shoppers
and boost eCommerce sales

5 Tricks of the mind to influence shoppers and boost eCommerce sales

Having recently met with Dynamo and Derren Brown, we have discovered how simple it can be to manipulate the mind-sets of every day consumers like you or I. Although we’re disappointed that Paul Daniels and Mystic Meg weren’t’ available to share their wisdom, we did manage to compile a list of principles from Dynamo and Derren, should you want to attempt a little magic of your own. 

1. “Commit and make it legit!” exclaimed Dynam
What we think he meant by this is that once you commit a customer through reasonable incentives or actions it’s much easier to uphold your end of the deal. For instance, capturing an email address from a ‘sign-up’ tab on your ecommerce site means you can inundate them with news and offers. This, in turn, means that they are a hell of a lot more likely to eventually purchase from you.
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Additionally, an easy and efficient returns policy will create less friction for the customer as they are safe in the knowledge that the product can go back. However, once the product is in their grasp, will they actually return it? Probably not. The commitment has been made and it’s legitimate.
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2. “Reciprocate the actions” said Derre
Again, this isn’t always plausible, depending on your ecommerce business, but we would all love our actions to be reciprocated in some form or another wouldn’t we? It’s like when you snaffle a free sample of cheese in a supermarket, part of you feels obliged to purchase a whole pack as if you’re in debt to it. The same feelings can be replicated when a customer makes a request from your website. Despite not always being able to offer something in advance, you can offer something alongside purchases by slipping them free samples or other perks and gifts with their shipped item.
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Alternatively, cast them some content in the form of a fun quiz, an exclusive interview or a ‘how to guide’. This can imitate the feeling of receiving a reciprocal, personalised gift for their purchase which may earn you a second, third or even fourth transaction.
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3. “Create a connection”, Dynamo chirped
Just like the nice lady tempting you with cheddar in the supermarket with a smile, we are more likely to say ‘yes’ to a request or offer if we feel a connection. Connections can be made through simple strategies like celebrity endorsement but if you don’t have that sort of budget you could try one of these:

  • Brand connections are essential. Through your use of font, colour, images, copy and what not, your brand’s personality should be cohesive and likeable. Consider your target audience and adapt accordingly. ‘About us’ sections are often a strong way of making connections too.

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  • Social connections. You trust your friends more than the shop right? And so you should. That’s why you need to have social sharing options on your ecommerce store so that ‘friends’ can share, suggest and recommend amongst their ‘friends’. We are social creatures and tend to ‘like’ things just because our friends do. This can create a triggered response and add popularity to a product overnight.

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4. “Appear authoritative” whispered Mr.Brow
He said it quietly because it’s one of the best kept marketing secrets. It’s all about the expertise.

First is expert creation. A consumers mind can be abducted by credentials associated to, or with, a product. Is your product hand crafted by a Vietnamese hill-tribe or can it be stamped, earmarked or listed as Unilever approved? Find out because valid credentials can earn you the respect you desire.
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Second is expert curation. Instead of having to wade through the vast amount of products and pages on your ecommerce site, an easier solution is to provide an expert curator (or someone who can pass as an expert). Here, the expert delivers their top picks surrounding a chosen field of expertise, reducing the amount of products whilst highlighting their favourites. ‘If the experts are saying it, it must be true’ – is what you want your customers to think.
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5. “Scarcity” they both blurted in tande
There’s a principle which states that people are stimulated at the thought of missing out on something; it motivates them to take action – much like a bidding war on Ebay, I would imagine. I suppose it’s similar to how when a teenager is told ‘no’ it only makes them want it more. The best ecommerce marketers launch this assault with tactics such as these:

  • Sale Deadlines – If you can present this visibly on your site, it’s like a ticking time bomb awaiting an explosion of sales.
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  • Out of Stock Announcements – Only 2 left! A ‘crikey, that’s not many. I best act now’ kind of manipulation.
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  • Limited Edition If you limit when they can have it (seasonal, for example), it’ll motivate them to come and get it.
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Generally, scarcity tactics increase the risk of a ‘no’ – more people will want to say ‘yes’ to such offers so that they don’t miss out. In contrast, the use of authority means that you are decreasing the risk of a ‘yes’ because people can rationalise their purchase based on the credentials.

Ultimately, here you have lots of non-obvious ways to impact perceived risk. Sprinkle a little of this wizardry across your ecommerce marketing strategy and watch the magic happen.

If you’d like further guidance and assistance, please get in touch with Studioworx either via email ([email protected]), telephone (+44 (0)1482 659362) or the website (

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