Understanding consumer psychology and online behavior has become essential and mainstream knowledge for e-commerce development in 2012.  While some of us might regret that the cat is out of the bag, it also means a lot of smart people are figuring out a lot of smart things.  Below are what I found to be the most insightful and actionable articles in 2012.

There’s two things mostly missing: Recommender systems are still exclusively the domain of data crunching and algorithms, while I’d like to see more on inspiration and getting people out of the filter bubble. The other thing I haven’t seen much of in 2012 is any interesting work on stickiness and loyalty.

If you follow my twitter feed, you’ve seen almost all of these articles. If not, now you know why you should follow me, and I’d really love you if you do!



9 Things to Know About Influencing Purchasing Decisions (ConversionXL)

Persuade with Pictures (Neuromarketing)

Secrets from The Science of Persuasion (by Robert Cialdini & Steve Martin)

A – Z of persuasion (Richard Sedley, Loopstatic)

50 Ways To Seduce Your Web Visitors With Persuasive Landing Pages (Kissmetrics)

“Self-Efficacy” = a highly competent persuasion technique (+5 conversion tips!) (Bart Schutz, Online Persuasion)

“Autonomy”: a Super Persuasive Technique (+ 5 conversion tips!) (Bart Schutz, Online Persuasion)

Nine valuable techniques to persuade visitors to buy in 2012 (Paul Rouke, Econsultancy)

Lings Cars and the art of persuading visitors to buy (Paul Rouke, Econsultancy)


The Hard Sell

‘Fair and square’ pricing? That’ll never work, JC Penney. We like being shafted (Bob Sullivan, NBC News)

Pricing Experiments You Might Not Know, But Can Learn From (ConversionXL)

7 Social Psychology Studies to Help You Convert Prospects into Paying Customers  (Gregory Ciotti)

Using Behavioral Economics, Psychology, and Neuroeconomics to Maximize Sales (Mark Hayes, Shopify Blog)

12 brands increasing conversions by understanding human psychology (Kelvin Newman, Econsultancy)

Evolving E-commerce Checkout (Luke Wroblewski)

Win the Pitch: Tips from Mastercard’s “Priceless” Pitchman (Kevin Allen, HBR)



From AB tests to MAB tests (talk by John Myles White)

Three reasons to stop A/B testing (Maurits Kaptein on Econsultancy)

Experimenting at Scale (Josh Wills, Google)

Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments: Five Puzzling Outcomes Explained (Kohavi, Deng, Frasca, Longbotam, Walker & Xu, Microsoft)


Spotify solves discovery by discovering music ain’t so social after all (Robert Andrews on paidContent)

ACM Recommender Systems 2012: Most discussed, tweeted papers & presentations #RecSys2012. Blog reviews. Datasets. Social Graph. Links (Data Science London)

Evaluating the effectiveness of explanations for recommender systems (Tintarev & Masthoff, User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction)

Building Large-scale Real-world Recommender Systems (Amatriain, Netflix)


Social behaviour

Consumers’ ‘herding Instinct’ Turns On and Off, Facebook Study Shows (Science Daily)

Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web Wrong (The Atlantic)

5 Design Tricks Facebook Uses To Affect Your Privacy Decisions (Avi Charkham, TechCrunch)

NYU Stern Professors Develop New Method to Measure Influence and Susceptibility in Social Networks (Sinan Aral, NYU)

Social contagion: What do we really know? (Duncan J. Watts, PopTech!)

Creating Effective Loyalty Programs Knowing What (Wo-)Men Want (Valentina Melnyk, UVT)


Some Offline Learnings

Buy Design: Meet Paco Underhill, retail anthropologist (Metafilter post)

Bizarre Insights From Big Data (New York Times)

The Touch-point Collective: Crowd Contouring on the Casino Floor (Natasha Dow Schüll,Limn)


Design & Other Mind Games

Hacking the brain for fun and profit (Mind Hacks)

61 Behavioral Biases That Screw Up How You Think (Aimee Groth, Gus Lubin & Shlomo Sprung, Business Insider)

If… (Introducing behavioural heuristics) (Dan, Design with Intent)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.