How Color Choices in Stores Can Influence Your Shopping Decisions

How Color Choices in Stores Can Influence Your Shopping Decisions

Color shoppingIf you are a smart shopper, it is not that easy to persuade you to actually buy something. There is the science behind how the products are organized, labels are written and sections are ordered to guide you through to making a purchase. That’s a wealth of tricks based on psychological theories and practices that in the end “convert” you from a regular visitor into the buyer.

One of the most powerful methods to appeal to a potential buyer is applying color theory to (e)commerce. Has it ever occurred to you why you feel safer in one store and more energetic in another one? Have you ever noticed that landing on some web page you feel like clicking some button/link and keep browsing the site? While other pages prompt you to stay and keep reading? To some extent, this might be the choice of colors for the page elements.

Color is believed to be one of the most powerful elements of design for web sites, direct mail, ads, and other marketing materials. It carries meaning through associations and/or your body physical response. Color associates can vary from country to country but in Western culture they are basically the same.

So don’t let (online) sellers affect your decision by showing you what you want to see. Let’s see how color choice may affect your shopping behavior and habits – for you to be able to buy with a cool head.

Color Prompts You to Buy

A regular shopper in North America is likely to respond to color choice the following way:

warm (exciting) Red Energetic, hungry It activates your pituitary gland and increases your heart rate Logos and calls to action
Orange Enthusiastic, cheerful It is a combination of aggressive red and cheerful yellow Calls to action (subscribe, buy, etc)
cool (calming) Blue Secure and trustworthy It is associated with sky (therefore universally liked) Money and business related websites (banks, loans, etc)
Green Stable, wealthy (deep green) It is the easiest color for the eyes Testimonials, founder’s story, etc. Finance related websites (e.g. Forex related)
Calm (light green) It is associated with spring and nature Entertainment and leisure related websites

(based on my other table on color branding)

As can seen from the above table, red and orange colors are most often used to encourage your action, i.e. to prompt you to buy something or subscribe to the newsletter (and become the customer later on).

Green and blue, on the other hand, are “supporting colors” that make you feel secure and safe thus entrust the seller with your money.

See how much wants to talk you into buying something using dark and light orange color: color shopping

Color Affects Your Shopping Habits

It is also believed that color affects shopping habits. Look how different shoppers may respond to various colors:

Red Impulse shoppers
Blure Budget shoppers
Sky blue Traditionalists

Color Depends on the Season

Another way to appeal to your eye is to choose colors on occasion. Many e-shops change design from season to season to make you feel more at home. You’ll see more red/orange designs in autumn, blue/white – in winter and green websites in spring.

Besides, it is a frequently-used trick to change colors depending on the approaching holidays: green and red combination is associated with Christmas (as they symbolize Christmas tree and Santa Clause); red is often used on St Valentine’s day (as that’s the color of heart and love), orange is associated with Halloween because pumpkins are a big part of that holiday (of course, all the aforementioned associations may vary from country to country).

So on visiting a website or store on a holiday and seeing familiar colors, you are more likely to stay as you feel comfortable.

Image by Pink Sherbet Photography


  1. I am going to open fashion shoe store soon in the state of Nebraska in a small town with big college and I was wondering if I do black slatwall with red Orange walls if it will be to much ?
    308-293-6830 thanks allot

  2. Hello,
    I am working on a research that i am hoping to get published at a local university about how colors and customers behave together. It would be great if you can point me in the direction of where you go your data or any information about the topic.
    Thank you for your time,

  3. There is plenty of research to support the concept that color does indeed affect mood and behavior. Choosing the right colors for a site is a LOT more challenging than one would think. That is why there are many sites that share color palettes = colors that work well together. Trying to come up with those from scratch is really difficult.

    Good to know that my GrowMap site has the right color scheme – and that is because I had a very talented logo designer. I would have never suggested those colors or that image – but it immediately grabbed me and grew on me and I believe it has greatly benefitted my blog.

    Maybe one of these days I’ll actually figure out how to get it to make money since it has the right colors for “Calls to action (subscribe, buy, etc)”. :-)

Leave a Reply