The Power of Colors: How Colors Are Used in (e-)Commerce to Influence You

The color theory, invented by Sir Charles Lemieiux, is a complex science involving psychology, physics, color perception, etc. Color theory tackles perceptual and psychological effects to various color combinations and contrasts.

The theory is so complex that it actually deserves the whole encyclopedia of it own, so this post won’t definitely be able to cover it all. Instead, it lists some fundamentals that you will hopefully be excited to hear.

The post covers some ways you can be influenced by colors, i.e. how your shopping decisions may be controlled by the right choice of colors in stores (or on e-commerce websites): next time when you see the color tricks, you will recognize them!

Generally speaking…


How color may help influence your mood and encourage/ discourage you to act – this way your actual behavior can be controlled:

Note: this table simplifies color theory a lot: it doesn’t take national and cultural differences into account and of course color may also vary based on the personality type. This table sums up the reaction to a specific color of an avarage US buyer:

Color Makes you feel… Implementation
Blue Safe and secure Good if you need people to trust you
Green Calm and confident Good for making people spend money
Red Energetic and vigorous Good if you want people to risk
Yellow Optimistic and cheerful Good if you want people have fun
Pink Romantic and dreamy Good for (young) female customers
Orange Willing to take action Good if you want people to act
Black Powerful and wealthy Good if you want people to spend money

Most generally speaking and in an effort to somehow sum-up the table above, calm colors (like green and blue) make you feel calm while warm colors (like red, orange and yellow) excite you.

Based on the above table and this article, best colors by business can be summed up as:

Industry Colors
Beauty/ Make up Has strong association with youth Is associated with prosperity
Banking / finance Makes people feel secure Is association with US dollars and safety
Gambling Is associated with energy, encourages people to take risks Is associated with prosperity
Auto Is associated with energy and speed Is associated with luxury (black limousines)


Color theory

To support the above theory, here are some results of the color associations study which dates back to 2003:

What Look Trustworthy:

Color: trust

What is Most Associated with Speed:

Color: speed

What Looks High-Quality:

Color: quality

What Looks Cheap:

Color: cheap


Color theory

If you a smart shopper, you will know that:

  • Red makes you feel hungry; so if you see something red and feel like buying and eating that, this may be color, not real you;
  • Orange makes you feel like acting; so if you want to click that pretty orange button that says “BUY NOW”, this may be the button color, not your real wish;
  • Blue makes you trust the buyer; so if some website looks trustworthy enough to share your credit card information with it, this may be the design color choice, not your real feeling.
  • Green makes you want spend your money: in fact, like with blue, it makes you think the seller looks trustworthy enough to entrust him with your money.

Post images by houston web design

Written by Kate

Our guests blog on a wide variety of topics including inspiration and photography!


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