OpenCart – Psychological eCommerce

One area of eCommerce that many don’t ever think about when it comes to selling goods online are all of the little details on your website that will “play on the customers mind”. These items will play on the mind whether you like it or not and most of the time it goes unnoticed. This is why it is called Psychological eCommerce; we are dealing with particular aesthetics that “could”, depending upon what market you are in make you or completely destroy you.

1) Typography (FONT COLOR vs BACKGROUND COLOR)

Make no mistake, choosing the correct font as well as color is majorly important to your customers whether they know it or not. For example if you choose a very bright font on a very DARK background it will inevitably hurt the eyes. In fact, that person is more likely to leave your website because it becomes unsettling. This doesn’t go for all combinations of bright font on dark background…just some, for example check out the image below:

BAD

bad

Also, your font color could be too DARK on the background making it impossible to see. This causes the users’ eyes to squint….making it painful to even read. This will also lose your business:

Bad

bad2

The next example is an example of font color that actually is okay….and easy on the eyes:

good

Now let’s discuss the topic of colors in general. Did you know that certain colors evoke certain emotions?

Red is a very strong color. It is a noticeable color that is often used on caution and warning signs. It is often associated with stop or “beware”. It’s a hot color that evokes a powerful emotion of passion, lust, sex, energy, blood and war. Red is a good color to use for accents that need to take notice over other colors. Red is often used in flags for nations, as it is a symbol of pride and strength. It is also a sporty color that many car manufactures choose to showcase their signature vehicles.


Orange is a combination of Red and Yellow. It is also a bright and warm color. It represents fire, the sun, fun, warmth and tropical images. It is considered a fun light color that has appetizing qualities to it. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain and stimulates mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite. Any design relating to the tropics, something fun, easy going and youthful should incorporate some type of orange into the design. A darker, richer shade of orange can be associated with autumn.


Yellow is the brightest color to the human eye. It represents youth, fun, happiness, sunshine and other light playful feelings. It is a cheerful energetic color. Yellow is often used for children’s toys and clothes. Yellow is often hard to read when placed on a white background so designers must be careful when using yellow, that it isn’t too difficult to read or notice. Though yellow is a bright cheerful color, as it starts to darken it, however, quickly becomes a dirty and unpleasant color. Yellow can also be associated with being scared and, cowards. The term “yellow belly” is proof of that.


Green is the color of nature and health. It represents growth, nature, money, fertility and safety. Green is a relaxing color that is easy on the eye and has a healing power to it. It is often used to represent anything having to do with health. Many pharmaceutical and nutritional companies use green in their logos and material to advertise safe natural products. Dark green is commonly associated with the military, money, finance, and banking. However it can also be associated with being new or inexperienced as being green or a “green horn”. Green is becoming a very popular color in design for web sites.


Blue is a cool calming color that shows creativity and intelligence. It is a popular color among large corporations, hospitals and airlines. It is a color of loyalty, strength, wisdom and trust. Blue has a calming effect on the psyche. Blue is the color of the sky and the sea and is often used to represent those images. Blue is a color that generally looks good in almost any shade and is a popular color among males. Blue is not a good color when used for food as there are few blue foods found in nature and it suppresses the appetite.


Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Throughout history purple has been associated with royalty, nobility and prestige. It symbolizes mystery, magic, power and luxury. Purple is often used to portray rich powerful kings, leaders, wizards and magicians. Purple combined with gold can be flashy and portray wealth and extravagance. Light purple and pink is good for a feminine design and is a popular color among teenage girls. Bright purple along with yellow is commonly used in promoting children’s products. It gives the appearance of something that is fun and easy to do.


Black is often a color used to portray something evil, depressing, scary or even death in western civilization. It has negative imagery with it at times such as “black mail” “black list” “black hole” etc. Black is also a very powerful color that also portrays one of class elegance and wealth. Classy clothing is designed in black from the “power suit” to the “sexy black dress” to formal “black-tie attire”. Black combined with other colors can have a very strong statement. Black is a color that can fit into almost every design to add contrast, type, and make the other colors stand out more.


White is often associated with being pure, clean, fresh and good. The color of a fresh snowstorm brings up images of a peaceful and pure winter scene. White is a common background for Webster’s as it is easy to read black or dark text on it. When used with a design using lots of negative space it gives a very clean look to it. White is also used lots for charities and non-profit organizations to denote something good and positive. Hollywood often portrays their characters in white as being good; the white horse, the cowboy with the white hat, the white wizard etc. White usually is associated with being pure and almost heavenly, it is associated with hospitals, doctors, and heaven.

The above color definitions were taken from: http://www.digitalskratch.com/color-psychology.php (cited)
Point is, if you have a website that takes care of peoples TAXES then you want to consider using a color that depicts and evokes feelings of abundance, prosperity, and wealth such as GREEN. Don’t use RED (which could mean RED TAPE or being in the RED). Yes, some people do and wonder why they have no business.
Other ways to tick people off and make them leave your website:
1) Add a virtual video spokesperson that follows the user around no matter where they are on the page. Even worse…don’t provide a way to turn it off.
2) Add audio that is playing in the background with no way to control it.
3) Add tacky items such as HIT COUNTERS (that’s way 1999-2000).
4) Don’t install an SSL to protect your customers
5) Make the navigation so complicated and counter intuitive that customers get lost….inevitably leaving out of frustration.
6) Make users jump through hoops just to get to a simple task completed.
I hope this sheds a little light on some very important aspects of building a successful online business!
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Joe Stenhouse

Joe Stenhouse

I am a web application developer that specializes in PHP, JAVASCRIPT, MYSQL, HTML, and CSS. We manifest exciting potentials within the world wide web through means of innovation.

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