How to Use Consumer Psychology at the Checkout
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There are many studies on consumer behaviour, but we found one particularly relevant to this topic and it’s the significance of emotions in influencing purchasing decisions. M.F. Luce is among the researchers who uncovered the link between the consumer's state of mind and the decision-making process. Writing in the Journal of Consumer Research, she concluded that information about car safety concerns triggered negative emotions in research participants and they were subsequently less likely to buy a car. In a broader study, "Beyond Valence: Toward a Model of Emotion-Specific Influences on Judgement and Choice," it was revealed that anger results in people making optimistic risk assessments, while fear leads to more pessimistic risk assessments.

So you see, price is not always the determining factor when it comes to purchasing decisions. To a certain extent, a successful sale can depend on how you interact with your consumers. But, eCommerce website owners must be aware of what goes on in the mind of consumers to create content that satisfies their emotional needs. This article will focus on the five emotions you can tap into to convert customers at the point of checkout.


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Online safety is a major concern for consumers. Many are aware that they take a huge risk when they provide their credit card details online. As such, they may reconsider their purchase at the last minute to either completely abandon it, or rather shop at a physical store.

When consumers are shopping online with a credit card, it's important to follow some guidelines to avoid credit card fraud and identity theft. If you have integrated a third-party payment gateway in South Africa, make sure that it is PCI Compliant and provides a secure online transaction experience. You can also help educate and reassure customers that your site and store is legitimate by displaying the logos of the major credit card companies and third party payment methods that you accept on the checkout page.


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With so many fraudulent eCommerce websites out there, it’s only natural that consumers will cautiously proceed with a purchase. If you are a new online store, shoppers will be especially cautious about your processes and quality of the products you sell.

There's a way you can show them you're the real deal. Free shipping is always a good incentive. Offer them a money back guarantee and highlight your refund policy at or in a follow up email confirmation checkout. Stipulate that if they are not satisfied with your product they can easily return it.

Instant gratification

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Online shoppers nowadays expect everything to be readily available, and this anticipation is something that could add to the quality of the shopping experience. Neil Patel writes that humans are hardwired to want things and this forces us to satisfy our needs and desires without delay. If customers are not instantly gratified, they will be less loyal toward a brand in the future.

Customers don't want product searches to take hours out of their day, sit around and wait for their order to be delivered or queries to be answered. When it comes to checkout, you need to make the process as convenient as possible. For example, you might want to consider a single-page checkout. You can also activate one-click payments, which require customers to only enter their details on their first purchase.


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In online shopping, the feeling of uncertainty can take many forms, but ultimately it comes down to unanswered questions and uncertainty. Customers may not have sufficient experience with your brand to know what to expect or there may not be a guarantee that your product will fulfil their desires.

Online merchants can implement a few strategies to remove doubt and uncertainty from the checkout flow. Display a progress bar at the top of the checkout page to show shoppers how long the process will take (this works if you have a multi-page checkout). What will happen if their credit card is declined? You can inform them that you accept alternative payment methods. Another effective method to keep customers informed is having top five FAQs on your checkout page. You can promote questions such as "how long will shipping take?" or "what is your return policy?"


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More than half the people visiting your eCommerce website are probably just browsing. They could be researching prices or just browsing leisurely, feeling that they don't need to purchase today. So, how can you convince reluctant shoppers that a product is time sensitive? Fostering a sense of urgency at the checkout can trigger a fear of missing out in the consumer. If a customer already has a few items in their shopping cart, the checkout is the last step where you can sell them additional products.

Next to their shopping cart, you can promote products that are available at a reduced price for a limited time only or is one of the last few left. Similar to how all the sweet treats line the aisles of supermarkets.

Checkout pages are vital when it comes to encouraging consumers to spend more or hesitant shoppers to proceed with the sale. Once you know how consumer psychology can be applied to the checkout process, you’ll be able to increase the amount of profits your South African online shopping site generates.