Color Theory and Ecommerce Marketing Companies

Color is one of the most subliminally influential parts of ecommerce marketing companies - even if it does not seem like it.

The outside perception of your brand depends on it whether you believe it or not. Customers make certain decisions about what they purchase (or don’t purchase) based on something as simple as color schemes. It’s the reason grocery stores use greens and news channels use red.

Color psychology is very much a real thing, and even an academic study! Not only does it affect your everyday life, but it also plays an important role in the impact of your business too. In fact, research has shown that color accounts for eighty-five percent of a customer's purchase decision. And sixty-six percent of people say they choose not to purchase an item if it is not offered in their preferred color.

For most internet users visuals matter the most, and potential customers are no different. It is true, they probably won’t notice the color scheme of your website or know the exact hex code for the bright blue you used on the call-to-action button that you spent a week choosing. But! Their subconscious is hard at work - this is where color comes in.

On average, it only takes 90 seconds for a customer to make a snap decision about your brand and your products. This holds true for online ecommerce marketing companies, or online shopping in particular. The human eye can see ten million different colors, so you have definitely got your hands full choosing the right scheme for your business. It also doesn’t help that each person sees color slightly differently than the next. Not to worry though! There is a precise science behind it all that is here to help. We’ll take a quick look at color theory, color psychology, and what the two together have to do with your ecommerce website.

Color Theory

The basics. Color theory is essentially the science and art of colors that observes how we perceive, mix, and apply them. Color theory creates a logical structure for color use, and it all starts with the elusive color wheel.

Color Wheel

Color Wheel | Red Shark Digital

The color wheel is an easy way to visualize and understand the relationship between different colors. You may have seen one of these giant round rainbow wheels painted on the wall of your high school art class. However, no matter where you have seen one, there is one thing they all have in common - twelve colors.

The primary colors in a color wheel are red, yellow, and blue. These primary colors can be used to create secondary colors which are orange, green, and violet. By mixing primary and secondary colors we then get tertiary colors: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet. Sweet, so far so good! Now let’s get into the more confusing stuff.

Hues, Tints, and Shades

Color Hues | Red Shark Digital

A traditional color wheel only shows pure colors, also known as hues. But the world of color has much more to offer than that. Now we begin to see tints, shades, and tones appear. A quick break down of these goes as follows:

  • Pure Color = Hue
  • Pure Color + White = Tint
  • Pure Color + Black = Shade

Oddly enough there are not a lot of pure colors used in our everyday life. Because of this, the human eye finds tints, shades, and tones more appealing. Whenever you create one of the three the actual hue remains the same, it just gets lighter, darker, or less vibrant than it originally was. Technically this process has no effect on the position of the color on the color wheel. However, each can evoke its own entirely different emotion or convey a contrasting message.

An example of this, tints, which are often referred to as pastels, are tied to peace and tranquility. No wonder travel blogs and spas use pastel-color schemes to help you find your inner self.

Shades, though, are commonly associated with sophistication and experience. You will often see shades on websites for ecommerce marketing companies that offer high-end products, thus wanting to attract high-end customers.

It’s not as easy as just picking a color and calling it yours, unfortunately. You’ll need to create a color scheme - this is where color harmony theory comes into play.

Color Harmony

Color Wheel | Red Shark Digital

Color harmony is the result of the combination of colors in a way that is visually pleasing to the eye. Luckily, techniques for an effective color harmony are based on the color wheel (go figure), so let's bring it out one more time.

There are multiple ways to mix colors, however some techniques are used more often than others. We’ll list the different techniques here with a bit of an explanation of each.

  • Monochromatic – various tints, shades, and tones of one color, e.g., yellow-green
  • Analogous – hues that are right next to each other on the color wheel, e.g., violet, blue-violet, blue, and blue-green
  • Complementary – opposites on the color wheel, e.g., blue and orange
  • Triadic – any three colors that are evenly spaced on the wheel, e.g., green, orange, violet

Once you've picked a color scheme, the colors must be balanced in a way that reflects what you want your customers to see, and ultimately how you want them to react. Changes in text-size and color will signal that something is different and requests attention. Lighter and darker sections with contrasting colored text automatically attract a consumer's attention to a specific place. And research shows that they are more likely to remember the things that stick out.

Fortunately for you, there are a ton of different tools to make it easier to choose from the millions of possible color combinations. Although, when it comes down to ecommerce marketing companies, picking the right colors for your website is more than an artistic decision, but also a business commitment.

Color in Ecommerce/Branding

Nice, finally we’re on to the bits you’re actually here for. Now that we’ve gotten all of the color vocabulary words out of the way, it’s time to take a look at the ecommerce side. It’s no secret that color increases brand recognition, as it also links directly to consumer confidence. Think of a famous brand like Coca-Cola - immediately the color red pops into your mind. Fifty-two percent of shoppers don’t even bother returning to a website because of the overall aesthetic, according to Kissmetrics. (https://neilpatel.com/blog/color-psychology/)

By now we know that color definitely matters, but how do we use it to your advantage?

Color Psychology

Color psychology is simply the study of how colors influence human behavior. It’s easy to see why it’s a topic of conversation in the world of ecommerce - especially when it comes to the color scheme of your website. It can also be a controversial topic however, due to issues such as cultural differences, color preference by gender, and many others. There isn’t much precise research to go on unfortunately or a list of top colors for ecommerce marketing companies. However, there is still a lot that can be learned from what is out there.

When Hubspot ran an A/B test with two different colored call-to-action buttons, their results showed that the red button outperformed the green button by a whopping twenty-one percent. One explanation is that red excites people, while green relaxes. Both colors have certain characteristics linked to them, and the psychology of color within marketing tries to learn how to use them more effectively. Here are some of the most popular color associations:

  • Blue - peace, tranquility, security
  • Purple - royalty, wisdom, respect
  • Orange - excitement, friendliness, cheapness
  • Yellow - sun, openness, activity
  • Black - power, stability, intelligence

Know Your Audience

Color psychology works like any other marketing strategy, first you have to look at your product and figure out who you are selling to. Color, as we mentioned before, is an important dimension of your brand's personality.

Studies have shown that customers take into account whether or not your product fits the branding - ie, the colors you pick have to be able to accurately represent what you are selling. If you're focusing on organic foods, greens and other earth tones are probably the way to go, whereas highlighter pink wouldn’t make much sense.

Examine the Competition

It’s never a bad idea to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, especially when it comes to color. When starting from square one it is a great opportunity to either connect with the rest of the industry or set yourself apart. For example, if your top competitors all have orange logos, maybe go with purple just to stand out. However, choosing a color on the opposite end of the spectrum could potentially disassociate your brand from the industry entirely. Ultimately, it’s your decision on which way to go with your brand.

It’s important to remember that everyone has access to the internet’s big box of ideas. However, not all of the ideas you see on the web are successful, or even good sometimes but there’s always something to learn. Inspiration can help if you’re starting out new, looking to rebrand, or just trying to find some tips.

In the end, it all comes down to a matter of applying your new-found color wisdom into your branding and e-commerce website design. Do your research, conduct some A/B tests of your own and see what works best for you, then work those results into your ecommerce marketing companies.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have all of this new color knowledge, don’t forget the most important part - never generalize. Knowing that blue calms and red excites can come in handy, but there’s nothing like practice and context to base your color choices on. Color psychology doesn’t work like magic and won’t automatically attract the clients you want or sell the products you make.

Evaluate your brand’s image, study the color wheel, and see what works for you. After all, sometimes the choice can be solely subjective. A good example of this is Facebook. Facebook is blue because coincidentally Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind and can see all of blue. And it just so happens that blue is generally associated with dependability, security, and peacefulness.

In e-commerce, color is certainly not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. When it comes time to build a store, or creating a unique ecommerce website, color can be one of the most powerful tools in the right hands. But ultimately your product is what matters most in the end. After all, success comes in every color. Contact Red Shark Digital for any assistance!