Color Affects Buying Behaviour
It’s not ground-breaking news, right? It doesn’t take a genius to guess that the color Red may invoke feelings of anger, or Blue inspires calmness. Still, the well-documented relationship between how color affects consumers’ behaviour is not often interpreted and harnessed to improve sales. Color, used effectively in Web Design can be very influential on the user, making it possible to affect visitor behaviour and ultimately sway the way people buy things online.
How Does Color Affect Buying?
Colors can trigger various feelings and emotions, helping to build atmosphere and trust. Let’s take a closer look at some colors and what feelings they have been known to create…
Red, in the Western World, is generally known to reflect emotions such as anger and greed. However, when used in the correct style and quantity it’s commonly known internationally as an impulse buying color – Red sales are usually marketed more seriously than other sales, they make the consumer think that there are bigger discounts on offer and they will be over quicker. Red is often used in this way to excite and stimulate sales, and when used in particularly with a contrasting color (usually white) it’s a rock solid way of drawing the eye to a product on a shelf, or an area on a web page.
In Chinese culture, as well as being the color of Fire, Red symbolizes good fortune and joy; it’s a symbolic color of happiness.
Red Summary: Anger, Greed, Passion, Excitement, Impulse Buying, Happiness (in Chinese culture), Seasonal (Christmas)
Blue is the most commonly used color on the internet (Let’s exclude Black and White, I’m not going to enter this debate right now!). It’s excessive use is no doubt linked to it being most people’s favourite color, including all cultures across the world.
Online, Blue is known as the color of communication and opinion, as well as stirring up feelings of relaxation and fantasy. Light blue sways more to the fantasy side, and dark blue reflects a more serious atmosphere and emits a sense of authority, trust and professionalism. Blue is also used to convey cleanliness when used in moderation with white.
How does the color Blue affect sales? Apologies for the safe answer, but it depends on how it’s used. Blue may be used in a palette as the background/foundation color, such as on this website. In this case, it’s not indented to stimulate sales, rather to look nice and inspire trust. Blue is rarely used as an attention-grabber as it’s so commonly used across most web pages. It is used very effectively in the checkout process to inspire trust, for example, the important ‘Next’, ‘Buy’ and ‘Confirm Order’ buttons are commonly blue. Online, it’s likely you would be more wary to click a bold Red ‘Confirm Order’ button, as it might stir up feelings of danger!
Blue Summary: Favourite, Communication, Opinion, Fantasy (Light Blue), Trust, Authority and Power (Dark Blue), Relaxation
Green is strongly associated with the environment and health. Green is the most positive color in most cultures (excluding Chinese culture) and gives a strong indication of progress. Green is a passive color, it’s not naturally stimulating.
In terms of using the color to improve sales, Green can be the best color in the palette. Green, like blue, also inspires trust, and all the positivity associated with the color leads people to believe they are ‘doing the right thing’ when they are drawn to a Green button or sale sign. Green is very often used in the main ‘call to action’ button on web pagesas it draws the eye when the color is in abundance in the surrounding area.
Green Summary: New, Environment, Freshness, Positivity, Trust
Yellow is a tricky color to deal with. Yellow can be used to convey beauty when paired with neutral colours, but when used incorrectly it can often look cheap.
Yellow is commonly used to draw focus when used with a contrasting color – usually Black or Blue. Yellow is the first color to be seen by the human retina. If it’s being used to draw attention, it should be used in moderation as the color tends to annoy people when it’s hard to see past.
Primary goals on web pages, e.g. ‘buy’ buttons often use yellow when the color is not used heavily in the surrounding area.
Yellow Summary: Neutrality, Hope, Beauty, Attention-grabbing when used with Black, Cheap
Purples and Violets are subjective colors associated with fantasy, spiritual healing, and royalty (in Western culture). Because of the royalty connection, Purple is often used successfully in the marketing of luxury brands. Purple is also a color that some people hate, so care should be taken to make sure this color is a good fit for the design in question.
Purple Summary: Moody, Fantasy, Royalty, Lust
Orange unfortunately is most people’s least favourite color. It does successfully draw attention, but mainly because it’s irritating! Orange is frequently associated with creativity and affordability.
Orange Summary: Irritating, Attention-grabbing, Creativity, Affordability
Brown is a traditional and natural color; it’s very difficult to use Brown for anything unrelated to earth or wood. Light Brown is relaxing, casual and affordable. The color can also be used in darker hues to symbolize richness and luxury.
Brown Summary: Earthy, Natural, Relaxing (Light Brown), Casual, Affordable, Richness (Dark Brown)