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The Psychology of

A checklist of tactics that will boost sales.

Before the Purchase

Light-colored browser tabs visually separated by a light-colored interface via a dark border in between them

Darken the Top Border of the Interface

A dark border separates the exit tabs in the browser from the main interface.

Three image links to shoes, pants, and shoes categories

Use Visuals in the Early Stages of Choice

Customers prefer visual options in early stages of choice.

Shows links to shoes, pants, and shoes. Shows them horizontal for someone browsing, yet vertical for someone searching for a specific item.

Arrange Products Horizontally for Browsing

Customers browse horizontally, but they search for specific products vertically.

Interface asking users to choose a preferred shoe style

Activate a Which-to-Choose Mindset

A single choice primes people to make more choices.

Photo of user next to "My Account" link in upper right corner of interface

Insert the User's Photo into the Interface

Bridge the intangible gap between the real and digital world.

Expensive watch that shows only 2 left in stock

Restrict the Quantity of Status Products

Scarcity intensifies the competition for status.

Pair of jeans with message that said they arrived 2 days ago

Reframe Products to Be Chronologically Newer

People like new stuff merely because it's new.

Customer Reviews

One 3-star review that says "pretty good"

Show Imperfect Reviews

Imperfect ratings are more persuasive.

Review with emphasis on "verified" status, uploaded image from user, and name of user

Insert Persuasive Content into Reviews

Reviews are more persuasive when they show the reviewer's name, verification status, and product imagery.

Negative review with reply from business owner

Respond to Negative Reviews

Only 4 percent of businesses respond to negative reviews, yet these responses boost sales.

Review that says "It's damn fun"

Reviews With Swears Are More Persuasive

Profanity communicates stronger feelings about products.


Blue purchase button on top of white background with shadow

Bring Buttons to the Foreground

Buttons feel more clickable when they appear physically closer.

Button for "View Product" appearing before button for "Buy Product"

Describe the Concrete Next Step

Choose concrete words that depict a vivid image of the next immediate action.

"Buy Now!" button with the exclamation point crossed out

Avoid Cutesy Text and Exclamation Points

Choose button text that people would normally say (and how they would say it).

Buy Now with "Later" option underneath, and this option looks visually ugly

Display Ugly Rejection Options

You could uglify rejection options with weird fonts, unbalanced positioning, or wide letter-spacing.

"Buy Now" with  the words "instant access" underneath

Show a Positive Statement Near Buttons

When users look at a button, they imagine taking this action. Nearby positive statements trigger a more pleasant simulation of the action.

"Add to Cart" button with the words "Tap to add" nearby

Mention the Word "Click" or "Tap" Near Buttons

While reading verbs, you simulate the depicted motor actions.


Vertical checklist that proceeds from "Ordered, shipped, and arriving." The progress bar is moving downward with the momentum of gravity.

Ease the Symbolic Motion of Progress

Downward motion seems stronger because of gravity. A downward progress bar feels more capable of reaching the end.

Menu links crossed out in checkout funnel

Hide Exit Links in the Checkout

Links in your navigation menu will dilute the purchase.

Coupon field of checkout in small font

Deemphasize Your Coupon Field

Seeing this field is painful for customers who don't possess a coupon.