How To Motivate Your E-commerce Customers To Purchase?

How can you increase the sales of your e-commerce? Well, it’s largely a matter of motivating customers to buy. That’s right: visitors who browse the pages of your online sales portal will decide whether or not to buy the products offered based on the good reasons that you will be able to provide them on those same pages.

But how can customers be motivated to purchase effectively and with concrete results? I’ll tell you right away: there are several techniques that can help you achieve this goal, but the fundamental assumption is always and only one, namely, to remember that, as ‘sellers’ (we e-commerce administrators, we web marketers, we digital strategists) don’t deal with ‘selling’ products, but rather with selling ‘ benefits. That’s right: when they buy a particular product, buyers don’t buy a mere object, but rather the advantages and benefits that that specific product can guarantee them.

Our job, in the creation and optimal management of e-commerce, is, therefore, to present in the best way those pluses to the customer, so that he can find the necessary motivation to continue with the purchase – without the right motivation, in fact, the visitor has no incentive to go ahead in the sales funnel.


What is motivation?

It is not at all easy to explain what motivation is, on the spot. But you understand that this is the core of our work, so something will have to be said, right?

Well, I’ll explain it to you through an equation, that is:

Motivation = perceived benefits – perceived costs

The more the benefits outweigh the costs, the higher the level of motivation of the users. The costs received can be the most varied: in fact, I speak of costs in terms of money, time and so on. To ensure that a potential customer has sufficient motivation to move forward, you must, therefore, be able to demonstrate that the benefits outweigh the costs.

The problem, however, is that it is not immediate to understand what can motivate customers to buy and what can leave them completely indifferent. And this also applies in cases where you have important information about your users: understanding who a potential customer is, in fact, is not enough to understand what their real needs are (yet it is precisely from these that you must start to increase their motivation!).


Motivate customers to purchase

To understand how to motivate customers to buy you must first understand that there are 2 main types of motivation: there is, in fact, intrinsic motivation, and there is the extrinsic motivation (yes, the distinction is actually not so clear, you don’t have to deal with two completely separate blocks, but to start it is better to delude oneself for a few moments that the contrast is clear).

The former is entirely internal and independent of the context while the latter depends on external factors and therefore can be easily influenced. Did I say it easily? Well, it all depends on your ability to use the tools available in the right way.

Did you ever hear of Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs?

Most likely yes, but I’m sure a sprinkle will be appreciated by most. This scheme was created decades ago by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow, who proposed it as a motivational model of human development based on his own needs.

The concept behind Maslow’s Pyramid is simple: higher order needs in humans only arise when the most basic needs are met. Think about it: maybe in the last few days, you have the fixed nail to buy that particular pair of shoes, those seat covers for your car, or that specific bottle of wine. A person who pours into absolute poverty, on the other hand, will have completely different, more basic, and immediate thoughts, with his mind concentrated on finding a hot meal and a place to sleep. Only when and if he can satisfy these essential needs will that person begin to have more superfluous and less urgent needs.

In the end, therefore, we find physiological needs (breathing, nutrition, etc…), and immediately above there are the needs for security (physical security, employment, ownership). From then on, the less burning needs begin, and therefore the social needs the esteem and therefore, at the top of the pyramid, the needs related to self-fulfillment.


What are the real reasons that push users to shop?

Identifying the reasons behind particular purchases is not as simple as it might seem to you at first glance. Basically, you can think that every purchase is made to have some kind of personal gain: it is not so much about buying things to have them, but rather about buying them to fill a deficiency. The difference is subtle, but it is at the same time evident and decisive.

Do you want some examples to understand what I’m talking about? Well, many purchases are made to meet our need for security. Basically, we buy shoes to protect our feet. But the same purchase can also be made to increase our level of esteem: a pair of branded shoes, in fact, can increase the level of confidence in ourselves, and even strengthen and improve our social ties with our fellow men

Do not be frightened: none of us, not even the most rational and meticulous people we know, at the end of the day starts thinking about what types of needs – whether physiological, safety, esteem, etc .. – met during the day. But if this type of schematization does not explicitly interest the consumer, well, it must absolutely interest the one who is responsible for selling their products, to understand how to motivate customers to buy!


The elements of your e-commerce that contribute to motivating your users

Well, look around: what are the fundamental elements to make sure that you are brought to make a purchase

That’s right, there are many, some explicit, others more unconscious: it is done from the images used to the background colors, passing through the arrangement of the elements on the page, the type of font used, and so on.

But let’s see two quick examples, to understand where I want to go.

The descriptive contents

Well, first of all, we need to make the user understand what is the product or service that is being offered for sale. Once they arrive on Zalando or on, visitors have no doubts about the type of portal they are on, nor about the benefits offered by those brands.

Here, you must aim to do the same. Once he arrives on the pages of your website, the user must immediately understand what is there for him on those pages. Do a little examination of your landing pages: do you immediately understand, at first glance, what your offer is and what are the benefits offered by your portal?

But what does it mean to create content capable of immediately giving the right motivation to the customer? It doesn’t mean telling them what you can sell, but how much they can earn by buying from you instead of the competition. And, that’s what you need to be able to do with your descriptive content!

The call to action for your e-commerce

If there is an element designed specifically to bring users into action, that is obviously the call to action. Its effectiveness, however, depends on the type of message it brings and, from this point of view, they can certainly help the reasons we have seen above. Your CTAs should not induce the user to think about what he is ‘leaving’ (money, time, personal data, etc.) as much as what he will receive (the benefits of that action) by clicking on that link.

The best call to action also plays on the user’s need for security. For this reason, these elements usually tend to reassure visitors by using words such as’ free ‘(and therefore without the risk of economic loss)’ low cost ‘(limited risk of economic loss)’ guaranteed ‘(zero risks) and’ offer limited ‘(the security of taking advantage of a great price).

Well, so far you have seen in general how you can increase the level of motivation of your users. Now, however, I want to focus on one particular detail. As already anticipated, consumers decide to make a purchase based on the desire for a reward, a benefit that, from a certain point of view, transcends the purchase itself. What if you decide to take advantage of this mechanism by creating real rewards aimed at ‘guiding’ the behavior and therefore the actions of users?


The reward mechanism

Eye: the following applies to both you and your puppy. Thinking that our behavior is as malleable as a dog is, however, uncomfortable. To make everything immediate and painless, therefore, let’s assume to speak only of a four-legged friend of ours.

An example? Assuming the fact that dogs tend to respond with intense salivation as soon as the food is offered to them, associating the arrival of the croquettes with the sound of a bell – in the long run – we will be able to make the dog salivate even without bringing food, with just shake a bell. This simple example tells us that we can influence desire in a dog not only with a predictable biscuit but also with an anonymous bell.



Here we are, at the bottom of a journey among the factors that can motivate customers to purchase. From tomorrow, therefore, you can start optimizing your e-commerce from this point of view, highlighting the benefits perceived at the expense of costs, identifying the needs of your users, writing encouraging CTAs and, above all, rewarding your users at the right moment!

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