Online retailers can influence consumer behavior using strategic micro persuasion that includes micro conversions, psychology and the latest tech.

Vivek Lakshman, co-founder and vice president of products at Reve Marketing,

Consumers today are overloaded with products, messages, visuals, and offers. Yet, somewhere in all that noise, there is a way for retailers to use strategic micro persuasion techniques to achieve online retail nirvana (a.k.a. conversions).

To give you an example, I was recently looking to buy a space heater to combat the unexpectedly severe California winters. I fell down the rabbit hole of research on Amazon, looking at the available types of heaters, brands, safety, performance, power consumption, price, and more.

I quickly realized there were too many manufacturers and models to choose from, but I shortlisted a few based on my priorities. I looked up both consumer and expert reviews to solidify my decision—although I was left to wonder how many of the reviews were fake and if the experts’ blogs and videos were unbiased.

The process was time-consuming and exhausting. I realized that I could not afford to go this deep in my selection process for every product that I buy.


It’s this kind of fatigue that causes most consumers to:

  • Act like robots and be in autopilot mode, making a lot of their decisions without much conscious effort. If they paused and revisited their actions or were forced to justify them, they would choose differently.
  • Seek tiny cues to aid their decision-making and give them affirmation that they chose right. For this reason, consumers tend to place trust in the opinions or actions of random strangers.
  • Be prone to succumbing to distractions and ultimately choosing the product that is most in their face. It’s no wonder we are inundated by UX effects, pop-ups, transitions, chatbots, and more trying to grab our attention on every site.

Micro persuasion: A game of behavioral psychology

Marketers are leveraging all of the aforementioned pop-up tactics and have upped their behavioral psychology game to nudge consumers in making spontaneous decisions. Marketers are now going micro, with strategies that are specific to the individual who’s seeing them, while actively incorporating various persuasion tactics. These are of two types:

  • Passive psychological nudges include prompts on the page to help in making a quick choice that will ultimately lead to conversion. Some examples of these are: “someone from Denver just registered,” “only 2 left,” “latest booking: 6 minutes ago,” “this product is likely to sell out soon,” etc. These tactics trigger scarcity, instill social validation, or create urgency in the minds of the consumer.
  • Action-based nudges are “micro conversions”—the small steps that consumers take in the buyer journey. They spur the user to take an action that gradually brings them closer to the final conversion.

Micro conversions are the key to success

Micro conversions are critical to understanding buyer behavior and intent. Combining this approach with the right timing and great user experience is the recipe for an effective micro persuasion tactic that increases the chances of conversion. Success lies in how smartly the three aspects of context, presentation, and available action are combined to nudge the consumer to act.

Here are some examples of how micro conversions can be a significant ingredient in a micro persuasion strategy:

  • A pop-up appears on a website the user is browsing and announces a new webinar that is happening soon. The user can click on the “Learn More” button and register for it. Getting the user to the webinar page and the registration are both micro conversions.
  • A user browses an e-commerce site and decides to exit it without purchasing. As she moves the mouse out of the browser area, a new page overlay appears and announces a special 10% discount. She clicks on it and receives a notification that it has been applied to her shopping cart.
  • A user is idling on a web page for over 20 seconds. He is asked if he would like to download an e-book on the topic. Upon completing the form, the e-book is emailed to him.

The micro persuasion trend is on the rise

Micro persuasion is not a new strategy. But, in the past few years, it has become more ubiquitous and more effective because of these trends:

  • Micro conversion assets are on the rise. Content teams in most organizations are on overdrive, there is a lot of buzz on social streams, and even the types of content, like videos, have increased significantly. There are so many variants of coupons and offers as well as multiple channels to connect with the consumer—one popular micro conversion, for example, is for the user to download the mobile app. This means there are plenty of hooks to get the user’s attention. Micro conversions are the payload for micro persuasion tactics and a great way to motivate users to take action.
  • Web and mobile user interfaces have become more sophisticated, so adding transition effects and plugging in third-party widgets are now very easy to do. Conversational interfaces are also available to deliver micro conversions.
  • Big data and AI are helping in segmenting users and personalizing the experience in real-time so that micro persuasion tactics are more engaging and highly relevant—which ultimately makes them more effective.

A smart, strategic micro persuasion strategy that includes micro conversions can help turn anonymous visitors into customers. Using the tools available to understand the psychology of the consumer—and play to it—is the path to boosting online conversion rates.

Reve Marketing provides technology designed to enable personalized micro-conversions through conversational interfaces.