How to Use Color Psychology to Increase Sales

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Author Bio:

Guest post contributed by Patrick Lapointe on behalf of – specialists in Roller doors. Patrick has worked extensively in urban design. He is also trying his hand out as a freelance writer where he shares his design insights.



It is estimated that 85 percent of buying decisions are influenced by visual perception, specifically color.  As a merchant, you can use color to increase sales and improve your customers’ levels of satisfaction. The right colors to use depend largely on the type of merchandise you are selling. However, different color strategies apply to various cultures, and men have different color perception than women. Color is also an important element in online marketing.

Men Versus Women

The joke about women being able to see chartreuse, sea green, blue green and bright green, while men just see green is actually close to the truth.  Research shows that approximately eight percent of men suffer from color deficiency, the scientific term for color blindness. Even men who have normal color vision often perceive less differentiation between colors than women.

Most people see colors through a reference of three pigments blended in various combinations to produce colors. However, approximately half of all may possibly be able to perceive four pigments. . These women could actually perceive a broader range of colors than everyone else.

Matching Color to Merchandise

Have you noticed how many luxury items are black, or a presented in black packaging? That’s no accident. In the West, black is often associated with luxury. By contrast, bright colors like red and yellow are often associated with sales. These colors convey a sense of energy and urgency. Blue and purple are viewed as calming. Blue is often associated with finance oriented businesses; purple is a good color to match with anti-aging products. Green is another color associated with relaxation that may inspire shoppers to linger, and perhaps buy more.

Cultural Perceptions

Where you’re selling merchandise makes a difference. Various cultures place different emotional attachments to particular colors. If you sell merchandise across cultures, you must take cultural circumstances into account when promoting your products.

For example, in North America, red is a color that symbolizes energy. So-called power ties are often red. Clearance sale signs are often red. Red is also a favorable color in many Eastern cultures, where it is associated with celebration and good luck.  However, in South Africa, red is associated with mourning; sales signs in red would likely be poorly received, and may even be perceived as offensive.

Yellow is another color that has very different associations across colors. In the West it is associated with caution, and sometimes with cowardice. It may also be associated with youth. However, in China, yellow is considered a masculine color. In Egypt and Myanmar (Burma), yellow is associated with mourning.

Green is yet another color that has various cultural associations. In the West, it is a color of optimism, associated with springtime. Green has similar associations in Egypt.  However, green packaging is not well received in either China or France. In Northern Africa, green is associated with the illegal drugs trade and with corruption.

Color and Web Page Strategy

Nobody wants to look dull, drab web pages, but too much color is also off-putting to customers. A good rule of thumb is to use a three-color scheme to design your web pages. Your primary color will be used for the majority of the page. It should be a color that’s easy on the eyes, and not too bright. Your secondary color should be complimentary to your primary color. The third color is designated to place emphasis on particular items. It should be brighter than your primary and secondary colors without clashing with them.


For Further Reading

  • Color Attracts
  • Cultural Color
  • Do Women Perceive Color Differently From Men?
  • How Do Colors Affect Purchases?
  • International Color Symbolism
  • Some Women May See 100 Million Colors, Thanks to Their Genes


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  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm 0Likes

    Interesting aricle Ryan, there’s a lot of truth in there as the ad agencies know.
    Watch Gruen Planet for more clues.

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted September 7, 2012 at 8:40 am 0Likes

    Hi Patrick, thanks for posting on B2. Very interesting reading.

    • Glenn Rogers
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm 0Likes

      Sorry Patrick, I thought it was Ryan

      • Peter Ricci
        Posted September 11, 2012 at 9:04 am 0Likes

        Sorry, the post was put up under my profile and not the guest Author

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