This is a guest article by Liam Abbott, the Web Designer from Calgary, Alberta.
Did you know that color affects our behaviors and feelings?
Believe it or not, you can use color to intentionally improve the performance of your eCommerce website. The study of color on our behaviors and emotions is called “Color Psychology”, and we’re going to discuss what color psychology is, and how you can utilize the study to generate more traffic and revenue online.
Table of Contents
- What Colors Encourage Customers to Buy?
- How Do Colors Attract Customers?
- Color’s Role in eCommerce & Branding
- Choosing the Right Colors for Your eCommerce Website
What Colors Encourage Customers to Buy?
Understanding what colors attract customers to buy can significantly impact the performance of your eCommerce website. Color theory is a complex subject, where science and art collide, and while there isn’t one magic color that can double your sales, you can choose colors that influence a customer’s purchase behavior in your favor.
That being said, there are colors you can use to communicate, or provoke, certain emotions in your visitors. Some examples include…
- Blue is associated with trustworthiness and loyalty. Brands that use the color blue include…
- Bank of America
- General Motors
- Red is associated with power and attention. Brands that use the color red include…
- White is associated with calm and cleanliness. Brands that use white include…
- Black is associated with authority and neutrality. Brands that use black include…
- Jack Daniels
- Yellow is associated with happiness and memory. Brands that use the color yellow include…
By understanding color psychology, you can create branding and marketing that encourages customers to buy based on their emotions and reactions to certain colors.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell spa packages. Marketing for a spa is aimed at making customers feel relaxed and rejuvenated, so you’d want to choose colors that reflect that feeling.
Ask yourself; “which of these two advertisements appeals to me more?”
The advertisement on the right is more appealing, but why? Studies show that color affects purchase behavior, and these ads are a great example.
The advertisement on the left is using primarily pink, which is associated with feelings of playfulness and love. While it isn’t the worst choice of color for a spa, we can see the advertisement on the right is much more attractive.
White, as we know, is associated with feelings of calmness and cleanliness, which are key selling features of a spa. This marketing team also used brown, which is associated with feelings of comfort and is used to communicate a more natural look in images.
By comparison, the advertisement on the right has a much more soothing effect and is likely to attract more customers.
Understanding color theory will allow you to dissect marketing materials at a deeper level and create advertisements that will resonate with your target audience.
How Do Colors Attract Customers?
Understanding Color Psychology
Color psychology is the study of colors as an influencing factor on human behavior and emotion. Quickly becoming one of the hottest topics in eCommerce marketing, we know that there are colors that make people act and react in certain ways.
HubSpot did a small A/B test on two call to action buttons, one button was green, and the other was red. The red button outperformed the green button by 21%, certainly not a small variance.
We can assume that the increased click rate correlates to the color of the button being red as red is an exciting and confident color.
Color theory is both the science and art of colors and examines how we perceive, mix, and apply color on a day-to-day basis. The goal of color theory is to create a logical structure regarding the use and application of color, and it all begins with the color wheel.
The color wheel is the visual representation of colors and their relationships. It allows us to easily understand the connection and links between colors, and how they are represented.
Traditionally, a color wheel displays 12 colors, including the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow and the secondary colors of orange, green, and violet. The traditional color wheel also includes tertiary colors of red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.
While the traditional color wheel is a fundamental part of understanding color psychology, there are over 10 million colors that human beings can perceive and therefore, the traditional color wheel alone is insufficient in understanding color theory fully.
Hues, Tints, Shades, & Tones
Hues, tints, shades, and tones are ways that pure colors can be changed. The traditional color wheel shows only pure colors, otherwise known as hues. But as you already know, there are a lot more colors out there to explore, and different versions of pure colors that we’ve already analyzed.
The human eye is usually seeing tints, shades, and tones as there are very few hues, or pure colors, in day-to-day life. Creating tints, shades, and tones don’t change the hue of a color, but rather makes a hue lighter, darker, or less vibrant. Subsequently, changes to a hue can drastically affect the message being conveyed.
For instance, tints are often linked to peace and tranquillity and are also referred to as pastels.
Conversely, shades are often associated with sophistication and luxury.
Understanding these nuances of color theory allows marketers to effectively choose a brand color, and inevitably a color scheme. Let’s look at color harmony to understand color schemes in eCommerce.
|Tint||Pure Color + White|
|Shade||Pure Color + Black|
|Tone||Pure Color + Gray|
Color harmony refers to the combination of colors in an appealing way. There are many ways to mix colors, and the techniques of color harmony are based on the color wheel. Let’s look at some examples…
- Monochromatic: various tints, shades, and tones of one color
- Analogous: directly beside each other on the color wheel
- Complementary: opposites on the color wheel
- Split-complementary: any hue and two that flank its complementary color
- Triadic: any three colors that are evenly spaced
Choosing a color scheme requires attention to detail about your marketing and audience. You want to choose colors that are balanced and reflect your messaging.
Utilizing specific colors, such as contrasting colors like green and red, alerts users on your eCommerce site that there is important information for customers present.
There are plenty of tools available to make choosing effective colors easy. Whether it’s calls-to-action, to encourage buying a product, or making your homepage pop, choosing the right colors is more than an artistic decision – it’s a business decision.
Color’s Role in eCommerce & Branding
Did you know that color increases brand recognition by 80%? When you think of Mcdonald’s, the bright yellow arches immediately come to mind. Color directly links to consumer confidence, and with over 50% of users not returning to websites with poor aesthetics, it’s crucial for eCommerce success and development.
Utilizing color psychology in your marketing consistently and with intention can lead to increased sales and a stronger brand identity. There aren’t magic colors that make people buy, nor are there colors that make people want to spend money, but there are colors that influence human behavior to make people more likely to make purchases.
By putting color at the forefront of your marketing, you can begin to influence how customers behave and perceive your website. Choosing colors to use in marketing your eCommerce website plays a role in determining your brand identity.
Think about brands like Facebook, TD, and Walmart where they’ve centered their branding around highly recognizable colors. The same strategy can be applied to eCommerce.
Color & Web Design
There is nothing black and white about color in eCommerce web design. While you can choose black and white for your eCommerce website, the reasoning is grey because there aren’t exactly “better” colors, there is only the intention to influence.
For most people, visuals matter the most and customers are the same way. While they may not consciously notice the use of pure red on your call to action button, their subconscious is working all the time and playing a major role in their emotion towards your brand.
It only takes 50 milliseconds for a customer to form an impression about your website, which means you need to ensure visitors have an immediate and positive experience on your eCommerce website.
You can use color in large and small ways on your website. You want your website to align with your branding, but there are details you can experiment with. Let’s look at some examples…
- Make your call to action buttons red to grab attention and instill a sense of excitement and confidence in your customers
- Use blue throughout your website to communicate a sense of trustworthiness in your brand
- Yellow is a great option to accent products that are supposed to feel fun
Examples of Strong Color Branding
Strong color branding is like a stop sign. Regardless of where you are or what you’re doing, a stop sign grabs your attention and you immediately know what is being communicated. Let’s look at some great examples of strong color branding in eCommerce…
- Mageworx uses black and white on our website to emphasize the pops of color for green and red-orange that communicate stability, freshness, and excitement.
- Amazon uses a deep blue and rustic orange to instill a sense of trust and fun when you’re on their website.
- Ebay uses the bright, identifiable colors of red, blue, yellow, and green to tell a multifaceted story about their website and available products.
Choosing the Right Colors for Your eCommerce Website
Your Message: Commerce Colors, Buying Colors, & Shopping Colors
When choosing the right colors for your eCommerce website, you want to consider what message you are trying to communicate with visitors. Think about how you want them to feel and act when they first arrive on your website.
Identify your message clearly and concisely, and then begin matching colors to it. Let’s take the spa example again, and think about the message you’d want to send if you were a spa owner. It might sound something like…
“Purchase one of our spa packages to relax, destress, and treat yourself to some much-needed ‘you’ time.”
If you want customers to feel relaxed when they come to your website, you’d avoid colors like red and orange that are associated with joy and excitement, and rather choose colors like green, brown, and blue. Therefore, identifying your message is key to choosing the right colors for your website.
When designing your website, think about your audience and consider the following:
- What is my audience receptive to in terms of color?
- What do I want my audience to feel?
- What do I want my audience to do?
Everyone perceives color differently. If you are targeting a younger audience, you may want to choose more exciting and fun colors than if you were trying to appeal to a more senior audience.
There are many factors to consider when choosing colors for your eCommerce website, but these factors all work together to give you an idea of the optimal color scheme for your website
If you haven’t already, you need to choose colors for your brand that will translate to your website and appeal to your target audience. Take the above considerations into account, and then ask yourself what you want your brand to mean and reflect.
Your brand should reflect elements of you, along with your messaging and products, so choose colors you genuinely like or find attractive. You should love your brand the most, and your color choices are just as important as any other business decision for your brand.
Helpful Tips & Tricks
Now that you’ve got a firm grasp on color psychology and how to apply color theory and practices to your business, let’s note some final tips and tricks to give you an edge in designing your eCommerce website.
- Where do I start?
Designing an eCommerce website is a feat in and of itself, but particularly if you aren’t sure where to begin or what message to send to your audience. Explore design tools to give you a helping hand in designing your website, and to give you insights you may have otherwise missed. Click here to learn more about the design tools available to you, and click here to learn about tools to help you create a high-performing eCommerce website.
- What is the ugliest color?
Believe it or not, there is a universally accepted “ugliest” color. It is called Pantone 448 C and is used for tobacco product packaging to discourage buyers by the government.
- What is the most beautiful color?
While there isn’t one universally accepted “most beautiful color”, research indicates that blue is the most popular among brands and customers. It is known to soothe people and create a feeling of trust.
Choosing colors for your eCommerce website is just as important as any other business decision. Colors play a major role in influencing human behavior and emotions, and you can use color theory to encourage certain customer behavior on your website. Utilizing these strategies correctly is a guaranteed way to increase sales and improve your online performance. Choose carefully, and remember that your brand colors and eCommerce colors are a reflection of both you and what you want from your customers.
About the author:
Liam is an SEO/SEM Specialist & Web Designer from Calgary, Alberta. He maintains a passion for contemporary design and everything search engine related. He is an avid gamer and enjoys collecting entertainment memorabilia.