Neuromarketing – 6 Principles to Boost Your Conversions

13.10.2017, 6m

blogTitle-neuromarketing.jpgNeuromarketing can help you improve your marketing campaigns, product information and – above all – positively influence your customer’s final decision to make a purchase. To help you better understand and leverage the power of neuromarketing, today we’re pulling pages from the rulebook of persuasion and presenting Robert Cialdini’s classic “6 Principles of Persuasion” and illustrating how these principles can be very easily applied in your online shop.

Psychologist and bestselling author Robert Cialdini has worked intensively with this subject and determined the following principles can be found at the core of all persuasion:

1. Authority

This is one of the oldest principles for simplifying the decision-making process. Customers tend to trust the opinion of authority in lieu of working out complex issues on their own. Since a person of authority could be an expert or a close friend, you have to consider the person who will be sending your message. On the receiving end, it’s equally important you understand your target group and their sociocultural background.

Some tips for showing social authority in your online shop:

  • Quality labels (i.e. Trusted Shops)

  • Neutral media coverage

  • Test winner labels

  • Hard facts: Age of the company, references, amount of sales

  • Best seller badge

  • Reviews (including number of stars, thumbs up/down, number of reviews, etc.)

Another tried & true method includes playing with the framing of your products. So for instance, to make an expensive product seem like a smashing deal, consider placing it between two pricier products.

2. Scarcity

The classic fear of missing out on a good deal. Scarcity is a typical sales-accelerator and one of the oldest motivational factors for making a purchase. You could use it in different forms throughout your online shop:

  • Display the number of products left in stock (i.e. “Act now: only a few products are left in stock”)

  • Even when a product is sold out, it’s recommended to keep the product page live. Simply mark the product as being “Sold out”, as this signifies items in your shop are in high demand. In the best case, allow customers to enter their email address so that they can be the first to know when the product is once again available for purchase.

  • Auction off products

  • Offer limited edition products

  • Flash sales: use a live countdown in your shop

  • Use shipping to create pressure (i.e. “If you place an order by 4pm, your package will be delivered tomorrow” / “If you place an order within the next 10 minutes, your delivery will be free of shipping costs”) is a model example of the first two principles. They make clever use of the search results page to create pressure to book immediately. Search results are enhanced with details including the number of people currently considering the same offer, how many times the offer was booked the same day, limited time offers, and more:booking.jpg

3. Sympathy 

Differentiate yourself from your competition by tapping into your customers’ emotions. A number of different facets could be used to make your case: your brand, company values, the shop design or even product communication.

The online shop from Imps&Elfs does an excellent job speaking to their target group. They create context for not only their products but also their unique brand lifestyle using engaging images and text.


Tap into sympathy with these tricks:

  • Charity – connect your product offer with an excellent cause

  • If it fits into your business model, add a human touch to your shop with images of people using your products (i.e. Imps&Elfs, Rösle, Orthovox)

  • Create exclusive offers for loyal customers

  • Find positive words to praise your customers

  • Always thank your customers for their purchase

  • Express gratitude through your newsletters (i.e. using vouchers or coupon codes)

  • Use personal signatures

 4. Reciprocity

Giving and taking – the ebb and flow of a consumer society. While there’s no hiding your commercial interests, your customers will both appreciate and respond to gestures of generosity.  

MONIQI shows how this principle could be used in their marketplace, where they offer an extensive range of exclusive products at “outlet prices”, but only for registered users.


This illustrates such an exchange: personal data for discounts. Another option is to offer an exclusive discount for signing up for your newsletter. Through sharing their email address, the customer receives, for instance, a special 15% discount for their first order placed in your shop.

You can also reward your customers for specific behaviour patterns by awarding bonus points for every order placed.

Further examples of reciprocity:

  • Coupons

  • Discount codes

  • Personal data in exchange for valuable content (i.e. your customers can download a whitepaper when they register for your newsletter)

  • Personal data in exchange for discounts (i.e. registering for your newsletter)

  • Voluntary marketing – user-generated content (viral marketing & competitions)

  • Typical sales promotions (i.e. “Tell a friend and get a 15% discount”)

Trusted Tips: Increase the conversion rates of your shop with our free  whitepaper!

 5. Consistency

This principle suggests that people are motivated to make decisions that align with their values or reflect decisions made in the past. But consistency is not a sure-fire success for your online shop, since this principle is often challenged by other motivators.

Some ways consistency could be implemented in your shop:

  • Make it easy for customers to repeat previous purchases. One way to do this is through offering subscriptions.

  • Add content to your shop that reflects certain values (i.e. a vegetarian shop that has images of people riding bicycles).

  • Create a category for specific collections and offer similar products as a bundle. This also works wonders for products that belong to a collection.

In the online shop from Bruno Banani, customers can easily order thematic collections of underwear. The shop also offers limited edition garments and teases which collections will be soon made available for purchase.


6. Social Proof / Liking

Customers are heavily influenced by what that they see other people doing and are more likely to rely on decisions already made by the community as reinforcement that their decision is correct.

To maximise on the human herd instinct, you can highlight how satisfied previous customers are with your products and services by means of reviews or testimonials. Perfectly suited for this purpose, you can place reviews or testimonials directly on your landing page, product detail pace, or in Google Ads.

Another element of social proof includes staging your products in an authentic environment. A social feed within your online shop is the best opportunity to do so. Take as a prime example, where they also share information about what size the model is wearing on the product detail page.


To connect the authority and social proof principle, look no further than influencer marketing. As one of the hottest marketing buzzwords these days, influencer marketing takes an independent expert that has the potential to impact a large community, or rather fan base in a certain sector (i.e. fashion, food, beauty, travelling, technology, etc.).

Working with influencers is most suitable for companies in the fashion or lifestyle industry– take big brands like Levis, Adidas or Puma for inspiration on how this works.

If you do decide to work with an influencer to push your products, above everything, consider working with an influencer who can clearly convey your corporate values. This person will only able to aptly represent your brand if they are completely behind your message. Your customers will quickly notice if you are using influencers to bluntly push advertisements, and they will quickly become annoyed. As you can see, this principle has very close ties with authority and sympathy – so please keep it real!

More elements for social proof in your online shop:

  • Best sellers

  • Blog articles

  • Case studies

  • References


You have a vast number of promotional elements available to help increase both your brand awareness and turnover. However, it’s important to always keep your target group at the centre. Considering Cialdini’s principles have a different impact on individual personas, you must first identify which personas you’d like to reach and determine if the elements align with your corporate communication. As you can see, the overall concept ought to be coherent across the board – and in our opinion, authenticity is a key factor for success.

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