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10 Psychological Triggers That Make People Buy


Psychological Triggers

Get ready to tap into some serious psychology, my friend. We’re going to explore 10 powerful psychological triggers that spark that primal instinct in all of us - the urge to buy.


You know what that means: more sales for your online store. Cha-ching!


These subtle psychological techniques have been used for ages by marketers, retailers, and salespeople to encourage people to take out their wallets.


Read on to learn how to implement them effectively.


Gift ecommerce


1. Reciprocation

We humans have an innate sense of obligation to return favors. If you give someone something, they’ll be more inclined to give you something back.


Reciprocity in action: when a car salesperson offers a test drive, you feel compelled to return the favor by hearing their sales pitch.


For your store, consider giving away a small freebie with purchases over a certain amount. It taps into a customer’s sense of reciprocity. They’ll be more likely to return the favor by providing a 5-star review or recommending your products to friends.


Social proof ecommerce


2. Social Proof

Herd mentality is real. We look to what others are doing to guide our behavior and decisions.


If your store has tons of 5-star reviews, new visitors will be more inclined to buy. They'll assume your products are high-quality since many others gave you glowing reviews.


Similarly, displaying how many people have bought a product triggers FOMO - fear of missing out. Shoppers will hurry to join the herd and buy it too before it's gone.



Authority ecommerce

3. Authority

We have a natural deference to authority figures and expertise. Displaying credentials like "As Seen In" media logos or expert endorsements establishes authority and trust.


Introducing yourself by name as the founder also works. It gives you a human face behind the brand.

Quotes from relevant industry experts can work magic too.


For example, if a dermatologist says a moisturizer is incredible, her authority gives the claim more credence.



Scarcity exmple

4. Scarcity

Scarcity triggers a primal survival instinct. We inherently crave things that are rare, unique, or dwindling in availability.


Countdown timers, limited-edition labels, and low stock warnings all capitalize on this trait.

They send the urgent message: "Buy now before it's gone forever!" FOMO strikes again.

Email campaigns advertising 24-hour flash sales also build excitement through imposed scarcity.


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The Decoy Effect

5. The Decoy Effect

Adding a third “decoy” option alters how people perceive the value of the original two options.

The decoy is priced to make one option seem like a better deal. This steers buyers towards the target option.

For example:

  • Product A: $50

  • Product B: $100

  • Product C (decoy): $75

The decoy C makes Product B seem like a better value than A, since you get twice as much for just $50 more. Pretty sneaky!



The Anchoring Effect

6. The Anchoring Effect

First impressions stick, even when it comes to numbers. The initial “anchor” price influences how all subsequent prices are evaluated.


For example, a $50 bottle of wine seems expensive. But it seems cheap compared to a $100 bottle you spot later.


On product pages, open with a high-level price to establish a high anchor. Later options will seem more reasonable in context.




7. The Endowed Progress Effect

We tend to value things more when we feel we’ve invested in them already.


Displaying progress bars, loyalty programs, and partially-completed bonus meters leverage this quirk.

Even free samples get us psychologically invested in potentially buying the full product. We don’t want to abandon our progress so far.


Gamification elements like filling progress bars and collecting badges tap into our completionist instincts too.


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Loss Aversion

8. Loss Aversion

We hate losses more than we enjoy equivalent gains. That's why limited-time discounts feel urgent - we want to avoid the "loss" of paying full price later.


Framing your pricing in terms of potential losses instead of gains puts this instinct to work for you.

For example: "Today only: Save 50% before your discount expires!"



The Bandwagon Effect

9. The Bandwagon Effect

We have a nearly irresistible urge to join and conform to the majority.

Showcasing your large (or growing) community of customers and followers encourages others to jump on the bandwagon too.


User-generated content like customer photos and reviews also establish you as the popular crowd-approved choice.



 Curiosity Gap Headlines

10. Curiosity Gap Headlines

Spark interest by hinting at information just out of reach. Arousing curiosity compels people to click or scroll further to sate their interest.


Vague headings like "Do This One Thing To Increase Sales" dangle the full information just out of grasp.

List headlines work too: "5 Psychological Hacks That Make People Spend More". We just have to know what they are!


Whew, that was a lot of psychology! See how implementing just a few of these powerful techniques could boost your online sales?


The human mind may be complex, but understanding some core buying triggers gives you an edge. With a bit of strategic planning, your product pages and campaigns will activate those "Buy Now" impulses.


Now get out there and move some product, my friend! Let me know if these psychological triggers start driving more of that sweet, sweet revenue for your store.

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