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The Psychology Behind Online Purchases


Consumers have turned to e-commerce and online shopping for many reasons – convenience, shopping from home at any hour of the day, competitive prices, etc.


What stops consumers from making online purchases? The infographic below highlights some of the psychology behind e-commerce and purchase habits. Key takeaways include:


1. No attention span: if a site takes more than three seconds to load, they will abandon the site. 80% of those consumers will never return to the site. Three seconds? I know I’m not the most patient person, but that seems awfully short. It’s likely that they anticipate a slow shopping experience, if the home page is taking what they consider a long time to load.


2. Video enhances the experience: 31% of customers made purchases after watching a product related video on the company’s website, and 57% of respondents say they are less likely to return the items purchased after watching a video.


3. Pictures are great, but….: while pictures and images result in a 58% increase in purchases, 25% return the item because it wasn’t what they were expecting. Offering accurate pictures and multiple images, along with video where appropriate, may reduce this return rate based on this data.


4. Reviews are effective, to a point: while many consumers say they read and rely on information in consumer reviews, this study shows that 67% of respondents read six or less reviews before making a purchase decision. That begs the question of whether consumers read the first six reviews that are visible next to the product information, or if they look at the balance of positive and negative reviews, reading a few of each before making a decision. At any rate, it’s a good idea to monitor the reviews and be aware of what consumers are saying about your products, especially on your website.


As a consumer, I tend to first look at whether the mix of reviews is more negative or positive, and then I read a sampling of both. I know there are some people who are just generally unsatisfied all the time, and you can see through those reviews and take them with a grain of salt. If I see a trend with a particular problem or complaint about a product though, I tend to form my opinion on that coupled with the positive reviews, trying to determine what’s important to me as far as making that purchase. This way, I feel like I know what I’m getting into. This may not hold true for every customer though, so monitoring what is said about your products is paramount.


The infographic sheds some interesting light on the psychology behind making online purchases. What has your experience been? As a consumer, do you fall in line with the results, or do you see things differently? Please feel free to join in the conversation in the comments section below.


psychology ecommerce