Amazon’s Psychological Tricks to Sell More

Maybe you can apply them in your business too

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

I have constantly talked about how psychology is the main factor that helps a company to sell more: from using feelings to empathize with customers and create connections, to using influencers to promote their products, and creating events to familiarize the brand with the clients.

People buy things based on their feelings, that’s why companies are constantly looking for new strategies that impact a person’s mind.

Believe it or not, many companies use psychological tricks to increase their sales. We don’t even feel many of these “tricks” work, but they really do without you noticing it.

It’s because they’re not just simple tricks — they are called cognitive biases, which are basically unusual behaviors that humans have, that make us take specific decisions.

Companies use those cognitive biases to sell us more products. Amazon is a specialist in using this. For that reason, I’m going to analyze the principal tricks they use, so you can use them in your business to grow your sales.

Anchoring Effect

Here, Amazon shows you a crossed-out price that’s much higher than the new price of the item, which makes us believe that it’s on sale.

Image for post
Image for post
Anchoring effect. Screenshot by the author

This makes you give more importance to the first price, and then have the chance to compare it with a new one. This is used by different companies with the objective that if you don’t know the price of an item, you can compare it to a previous higher price, and it’s then much easier for you to make a decision based on the feeling that it’s a good deal.

We can also see this effect on pages that offer subscription services. They give you different subscription options to pay something monthly and in a different color, there’s a unique offer. You realize it’s better to pay for that offer since it includes more options and you will be paying a lower price for the service.

The real price of the service is probably the one that has the offer now, but our mind thinks it’s a better option because of how it’s been described.


Humans give more value to things that are running out thanks to a sense of survival. If we don’t give importance to food or some basic service that’s running out, we could die. Amazon uses this psychological trick to make us think we need to buy something now because if not, we could run the risk of the item running out.

Image for post
Image for post
Shortage. Screenshot by the author

In the image, you’ll notice that Amazon puts “order soon,” so it’s possible they will even replace it right away. It makes us believe we may not have the opportunity to buy it when we want to. The feeling of scarcity makes you make a decision at the moment.

Companies also use this trick when they put something on sale for a limited time. It makes us feel like we must pay now because it’s worth more than waiting for a little longer, even if we don’t need it right now.

Hyperbolic Discount

Would you prefer $500 now or $2,000 in four years? Many would say the $500 now, although in four years the investment level would be better. And there are many reasons why we would like something at the moment: we could save it better, or do something which will produce more benefits.

Amazon uses this thought to offer us faster shipping. You have the option to pay your normal shipping and get the item in a few days, or pay “prime” or fast shipping and get it the next day.

Image for post
Image for post
Faster delivery. Screenshot by the author

Although it’s more expensive, many people prefer to receive their packages faster, that’s why these types of tricks work perfectly. Many companies offer specialized deals if you pay an extra amount, and the feeling that you are getting better options for a little more money makes us feel like we are paying something fair for better service.

Loss Aversion

Loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains: it’s better not to lose $5 than to find $5. There are many experiments that confirm this theory, one of them was that of Daniel Kahneman, who threw a coin in the air, saying to a person, if you lose you give me $10, and if I win how much do you want? And the person said $20.

Knowing that we have more happiness in not losing money than in earning it, Amazon uses it in a very intelligent way: when it tells you about a low-priced item with the anchoring effect, then below it says “you save $3 (15%),” you feel you won’t lose more money for that purchase.

Image for post
Image for post
You save. Screenshot by the author

Zero Risk

Human beings generally don’t like to take risks. We want to obtain as many things as possible without much risk. That’s why Amazon uses this thought with an excellent return policy. If you don’t want something — if you didn’t like it or it wasn’t what you expected — you can return it without any commitment.

This makes us buy more things and we feel sure to do it on their page since we know that if it’s not what we really wanted, we can return it without any problems.

Also, they have the comment section, something that can help you know if it’s worth buying an item. This starts to make us feel comfortable because of the happiness other clients have with the product.

When you want to sell something, it’s important to know how your clients think. That’s why many brands choose to use psychological research to increase their sales. The thought behind those investigations is that the most important thing is not the product, it’s how you sell it.

There are many other psychological tricks you can use for your website that can help you increase your sales. If you know any others, you can leave it in the comments.

Written by

Turning ideas into reality. Programmer by profession, Writer by passion. Writing and self-development advice. | Get your writing guide:

Sign up for The Better Marketing Newsletter

By Better Marketing

Our map to the marketing world. An occasional newsletter highlighting the best stories, tips, and tools to become a better marketer.  Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Marketing advice and case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and effectively.

Get the Medium app