Psychology of E-Commerce: How to Sell Online

100% booked

How this course will help your career

What you will learn

  • How decisions are made, and which part of the brain is really the web designer’s customer
  • How to create an online environment in which people feel part of a larger group, where they are grateful for your service, and show that through purchasing your products and services
  • How to know where someone's attention will be focused on your site, and how to make use of even the shortest attention span to generate sales
  • What the psychology of choice is, and how you can harness it
  • How to use storytelling for content that focuses on the clients and builds their commitment
  • How to tap into the subconscious drivers that underlie many purchasing decisions
  • How a coherent narrative can make it easier for your customers to engage with you and stay engaged
  • How to keep your customers coming back in an ethical manner, thus generating repeat sales
  • How to design for sharing, the next big thing in online selling
“Customer engagement is the direct route to every important business objective. It’s the pathway to everything good that a business could want.”

— Customer Experience expert Micah Solomon in Forbes

Online competition is fiercer than ever—and if you want to create a website that outperforms industry benchmarks in a big way, it’s vital that you know how to utilize your design skills to keep users engaged. The more engaged users are, the more likely they are to turn into paying customers—people who will buy your products and services time and time again, remain loyal, and ultimately become ambassadors for your brand both on- and offline.

Executing e-commerce successfully isn't easy: 69% of users abandon their shopping carts before checking out, according to Baymard Institute, a UK-based web usability research organization.(1) That’s quite scary; what about the good news? Well, Baymard also found that many of the problems with e-commerce are solvable with changes to design.

There are many factors in designing great e-commerce experiences. You must know how to capture someone’s attention and present your goods and services in the optimal way. If you want customers who are committed, you’ll have to tell engaging stories and know how to build a long-term relationship.

In order to do all that, you will need to acquire and apply knowledge in human psychology. If you understand how your customers think, you can design for their needs. This course is based on tried and tested psychological techniques that bring together content and design so as to deliver hands-on advice for how to improve your web design and increase your customer engagement.

Gain an industry-trusted UX Course Certificate

You earn a verifiable and industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course. You can highlight them on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or your website.

Course Certificate

Our courses and Course Certificates are trusted by these industry leaders, who have taken up company memberships with the IDF:

Centure, Adobe, GE, IBM, Philips and SAP

Who should take this course

This is a beginner-level course, suitable for anyone wanting to take an online business to the next level:

  • UX designers looking to design persuasive experiences to improve the conversion rate of e-commerce sites
  • Project managers interested in building online businesses that engage shoppers
  • Software engineers seeking to gain an understanding of psychology, sociability, and design
  • Entrepreneurs who want their online shops to take off and perform better than the competition
  • Marketers looking to improve the entire sales funnel by adopting a user-centric approach
  • Newcomers to design who are considering making a switch to UX or web design

Courses in the Interaction Design Foundation are designed to contain comprehensive, evidence-based content, while ensuring that the learning curve is never too steep. All participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests, and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Learn and work with a global team of designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multidisciplinary team working on the course and the exercises at the same time as you. You will work together to improve your skills and understanding. Your course group will be made up of an incredibly diverse group of professionals, all of whom have the same objective—to become successful designers. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

37 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics Baymard Institute

Lessons in this course

  • Lessons become available at a schedule of one lesson per week.
  • Lessons remain open for you forever and have no deadlines.
  • There is no time limit to finish a course.
  • You have permanent access to your course material, answers, and classmates for the entire duration of your membership.
  • Estimated time to complete: 18 hours 12 mins spread over 10 weeks.

Lesson 0: Welcome and Introduction

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 47 mins.

  • 0.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 0.2: An introduction to IDF courses (14 mins)
  • 0.3: Let our community help you (1 min)
  • 0.4: How to earn your Course Certificate (4 mins)
  • 0.5: Meet your peers online in our discussion forums (6 mins)
  • 0.6: Meet and learn from design professionals in your area (1 min)
  • 0.7: Gain Timeless Knowledge Through IDF Courses (11 mins)
  • 0.8: Mandatory lessons vs. Optional lessons (2 mins)
  • 0.9: A mix between video-based and text-based lesson content (2 mins)
  • 0.10: Lesson 0 Discussion (5 mins)

Lesson 1: The Subconscious Mind – The Customer of Design

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 2 hours 55 mins.

  • 1.1: Welcome and Introduction (3 mins)
  • 1.2: Making a Decision – The Thought Process (14 mins)
  • 1.3: The Three Parts of Your Brain (12 mins)
  • 1.4: The Old brain (11 mins)
  • 1.5: The Midbrain (11 mins)
  • 1.6: The New Brain (11 mins)
  • 1.7: Emotional Perception (13 mins)
  • 1.8: Emotions Control How We Act (12 mins)
  • 1.9: The Subconscious Mind – Working While We Aren’t (11 mins)
  • 1.10: The Subconscious Mind – Speed and Accuracy (15 mins)
  • 1.11: Do We Really Know What We Like? (13 mins)
  • 1.12: Know Your Audience (11 mins)
  • 1.13: Cultural Differences and Their Impact on Web Design (16 mins)
  • 1.14: Gender Differences and Why They Matter In Web Design (14 mins)
  • 1.15: Practical Exercise (8 mins)
  • 1.16: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 2: Introducing Social Validation

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 2 hours 19 mins.

  • 2.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 2.2: The Bystander Effect (11 mins)
  • 2.3: Bringing the Bystander Effect Online for Help (13 mins)
  • 2.4: The Power of Strangers (10 mins)
  • 2.5: Reviews and Ratings (15 mins)
  • 2.6: Rational Resistance to Social Validation (11 mins)
  • 2.7: Social Networking is for Much More than just Sales (16 mins)
  • 2.8: Obligation, Obligation, Obligation (12 mins)
  • 2.9: Harness a Refusal to Drive Sales (11 mins)
  • 2.10: Harness a Concession for Commitment (13 mins)
  • 2.11: “No Strings Attached!” (19 mins)
  • 2.12: Open Discussion (5 mins)
  • 2.13: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 3: Design to Grab Attention

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 18 mins.

  • 3.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 3.2: The Basics of Successful Online Marketing (11 mins)
  • 3.3: Key Components of a Website (13 mins)
  • 3.4: Images in Web Design (15 mins)
  • 3.5: Video and Web Design (13 mins)
  • 3.6: Colour Schemes and Web Design (17 mins)
  • 3.7: Discussion Question (6 mins)
  • 3.8: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 4: Choice is Not All That it Appears

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 2 hours 38 mins.

  • 4.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 4.2: Options and Selling Online (11 mins)
  • 4.3: Social Validation of Choice (13 mins)
  • 4.4: Taking a Choice Away – Introducing Scarcity (12 mins)
  • 4.5: Invoking Privileges to Make Sales (16 mins)
  • 4.6: Price and Quality Perception (11 mins)
  • 4.7: No, you’re not having this – Why Banned Products Sell (11 mins)
  • 4.8: Choice Overload – Overwhelming Your Customers (15 mins)
  • 4.9: Avoid Logic! Why Knowing Why You Want Something May be Harmful to the Outcome. (12 mins)
  • 4.10: Immediate Reward and Long-Term Payoffs through Choice (11 mins)
  • 4.11: Buy it now! The Instant Sales Technique (13 mins)
  • 4.12: Price Comparison for Bigger-Value Sales (11 mins)
  • 4.13: Product Placement – Premium Sales Slots (14 mins)
  • 4.14: Discussion Question (6 mins)
  • 4.15: Congratulations and Recap (1 min)

Lesson 5: It's all About Them, Gaining Commitment

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 55 mins.

  • 5.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 5.2: The Internal Dialogue and Why it Matters to Designers (11 mins)
  • 5.3: You and Your – The Most Powerful Words in Communication (16 mins)
  • 5.4: Keep the Audience Entertained and Boost Your Engagement (11 mins)
  • 5.5: The Inconsistency of Self and Why It Helps Designers (16 mins)
  • 5.6: Human Inconsistency – Changing Someone’s Self-Viewpoint Through Design (12 mins)
  • 5.7: The Power of Public Commitment (15 mins)
  • 5.8: Gaining Commitment – Using Reciprocity to Drive Sales (11 mins)
  • 5.9: Surveys and Reviews that Build Commitment (13 mins)
  • 5.10: Discussion Question (5 mins)
  • 5.11: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 6: Build Similarity and Then Make them Afraid to Lose

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 43 mins.

  • 6.1: Introduction – Build Similarity, and Then Make them Afraid to Lose (2 mins)
  • 6.2: We Buy From People Like Us (12 mins)
  • 6.3: Rapport – How to Create It and the Science of Attraction in Design (15 mins)
  • 6.4: The Power of Endorsements for Brands and Products (12 mins)
  • 6.5: Decision Fatigue and Why Less Choice is Better (14 mins)
  • 6.6: Fear of Loss Provides Motivation to Buy (11 mins)
  • 6.7: Taking Value Away from Your Customers can Enhance Your Sales (17 mins)
  • 6.8: Considerations of Privacy and Security in Online Products (12 mins)
  • 6.9: Discussion Question (5 mins)
  • 6.10: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 7: Learn to Tell a Story

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 38 mins.

  • 7.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 7.2: Everyone Loves a Story, and We are All Natural Storytellers (12 mins)
  • 7.3: Chunking Information – How do you eat an elephant? (14 mins)
  • 7.4: Sympathetic Bonding and Why It’s Useful in Design (12 mins)
  • 7.5: Pictorial Superiority – A Picture May be Worth More than 1,000 Words (14 mins)
  • 7.6: Words are Pictures (12 mins)
  • 7.7: Bringing Your Story Together (12 mins)
  • 7.8: Don’t Tell People Something; Show Them (13 mins)
  • 7.9: Discussion Exercise (5 mins)
  • 7.10: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 8: Integrity Matters, Long-term Relationship Building

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 34 mins.

  • 8.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 8.2: The Sales Ladder – The Start of Something Bigger for Your Business (12 mins)
  • 8.3: Acquisition vs. Retention and What It Means for Your Online Business (16 mins)
  • 8.4: Reputational Capital - Why it Matters (12 mins)
  • 8.5: Increasing sales through reputation (15 mins)
  • 8.6: How to Deliver Value to Increase Online Sales (18 mins)
  • 8.7: Trust and the Issues that Customers Face when Making Purchasing Decisions Online (12 mins)
  • 8.8: Discussion Exercise (5 mins)
  • 8.9: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 9: Sociability and Going Viral

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 38 mins.

  • 9.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 9.2: Assumption: A Recipe for Disaster (17 mins)
  • 9.3: Social Evolution and Why We Need to Communicate (11 mins)
  • 9.4: Why the Internet Exists (15 mins)
  • 9.5: Introducing Viral Marketing (22 mins)
  • 9.6: Membership Sites – Persuading the Masses (12 mins)
  • 9.7: What is The Next Big Thing? (11 mins)
  • 9.8: Discussion Exercise (6 mins)
  • 9.9: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 10: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

To be scheduled.

  • 10.1: Course Evaluation (1 min)

Learning paths

This course is part of 2 learning paths:

  • Product Manager
    Product Manager
  • Marketer
  • How others have benefited

    Hsin-Jou Lin

    Hsin-Jou Lin, United States

    “My major is Psychology and I'm now working in e-commerce. I've learned about from college, but don't have a chance to apply on real world. This course provides a step-by-step lesson for me to apply Psychology to my work.”

    Fernando Martinez Carreon

    Fernando Martinez Carreon, Mexico

    “Well, I've started with one of the courses and felt it was fair to write once again just to say you that you are a great team of human, cognitive and pedagogy centered professionals. I'm really glad that I've become a member and have all of these tons of information for self-paced learning, the content I read it's great so far!”

    Natalie Verdon

    Natalie Verdon, Australia

    “How wonderful.......I am looking forward to all I can learn and share with the community. You have a brilliant site and wonderful offerings.”

    How to advance your career with IDF courses

    1. Attend lessons at your own pace

      Each week throughout the course, you get access to a new lesson, but you can move through the lessons at your own pace. This means you can learn before you leave for work, or in between breaks — in as little as 15 minutes per day.

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      Network with your fellow course-takers online, through discussion forums inside lessons. You can also connect with your peers offline via IDF’s Local Groups. Local Groups connect you with other designers around your city who share the same passion in UX design as you.

    3. Advance your career

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    Start advancing your career now

    Become a member to take “Psychology of E-Commerce: How to Sell Online”. Take any other IDF UX courses at no additional cost. Take a concrete step forward in your career path today.



    Can I take more than one course at a time?

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    There are no further charges once you’ve paid for your membership.

    Please note: If you have a student membership, you can take a maximum of three courses at the same time. As a student, you can thus still take all the courses you would like – free of extra charges – just as long as you finish them (or drop them) so that you don’t have more than three ongoing courses at the same time.

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    I missed the enrollment date and now the course is closed. Will I have any opportunity to take the course in the future?

    Don't worry if you missed the course. We will re-run it shortly. One of the reasons we continually open and close courses is to be able to control the classroom size.

    Networking is a large part of our value proposition, so we want just the right number of people inside the courses. That is also why we display the "XX % percent booked" on our course icons.

    We’ll re-schedule the course and make it available for sign-up on in only about a week (or perhaps a little bit longer). The actual start date of the course will be a few weeks after sign-ups begin too. We’ve found that this is the best way to maximize flexibility and convenience for everyone, especially you as you put your course program together.

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    You can see an example of a Course Certificate at the bottom of the Course Catalogue.

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    All we recommend is that you try to stick to the same schedule as other participants. The reason is they may have moved on to other lessons, thereby meaning you could miss out on the social aspects of the course(s). However, we anticipate that there will be a constant flow of participants working through different lessons and courses, so overall you are unlikely to miss out. We will also be running all courses again — so there really is no rush.

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    3. In the following fields add:

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    4. Click on the save button.

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    Congratulate yourself!
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    2. Click on the plus button and choose “Certification”.
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    3. In the following fields add:
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    • Time period – Input the date when you joined our community (e.g., May 2017)
    • Check the button “This certification does not expire”
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    4. Click on the save button.
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