Psychology-Based Marketing Ideas for Your T Shirt Store

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Psychology-Based Marketing Ideas for Your T Shirt Store


Ever read Cialdini’s book: “The Psychology of saying yes”? It’s a marketer’s bible. It outlines what makes people say yes to salesmen and tells you how to take advantage.


Influencing a sale isn’t magic, it’s science.  The science behind the six principles of persuasion he presents, is the simple fact that people lack the ability to understand and recognise which factors affect their behaviour, in general, but especially when it comes to purchase decisions.


Here are the six principles Cialdini outlines:

  • Reciprocation
  • Social Proof
  • Commitment and Consistency
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity


We’ll explain these principles in layman’s terms and offer you a few, hopefully, actionable ideas for you to implement them in your sales strategy for your t shirt store.




The Science: Cultures from all over the world have the unspoken social norm that encourages people to feel duty bound to reciprocate after receiving a gift from someone.  By doing someone a favour, you make them feel indebted to you, and no one likes feeling like that, so they’ll try and dispel it as soon as possible. This is even more effective if the customer is made to feel as though you are making a sacrifice in order to do them this favour, e.g. “I really shouldn’t be giving you this discount, but…”


How Do I Take Advantage?

Give your target demographic something to remember you by! Even if it’s something of little value. Then, make it clear what they can do to repay you, e.g. filling out a survey, or making a donation.


Put it Into Action

  • Chase people who used a discount code on your site with an email to the tune of “I hope you enjoyed the discount, why not give us some recognition on social media with a picture?”
  • Send personalised seasonal greetings cards/emails to influencers you want to work with.
  • After issuing refunds, ask the customers if they’d like to share thoughts about your great refund/sales policy on comment boards.
  • Ask for something big from influencers/customers such as writing a post on their blog about your product, when they say no, go for a shout out on twitter instead. They’ll feel bad for saying no the first time and are more likely to say yes.


Social Proof


The Science: When people are unsure, they look to their peers for guidance. People also look at what the majority is doing and attempts to copy, it’s herd instinct. A good example of this is laugh tracks on comedy sitcoms. You hear laughter, you expect to be laughing too.


How Do I Take Advantage?

Show off any social proof you have regarding your product.


Put It Into Action

  • Add any reviews to your product listings, (it is much better if these reviews have names attached).
  • Display your social media metrics in obvious places on your site.
  • Create campaigns for your best selling product, tell everyone targeted it’s your “best selling”
  • Use statistics whenever possible, e.g. number of Twitter followers, sales statistics, etc.


Commitment and Consistency


The Science: This is the idea that people do not like to back out of deals or commitments, and are far more likely to do something after agreeing to do so in writing or verbally, especially when that commitment is made public. (This is shown when politicians refuse to admit they’re wrong, even when it’s obvious they’ve committed to the wrong decision).


How Do I Take Advantage?

Get your customers to commit, and publically.


Put It Into Action

  • Design a survey, asking consumers what they like, and what their aesthetic is. Then, present them with a suitable product from your store. E.g, “you said you were sporty and your favourite colour is green, so this green, sports shirt is perfect for you, isn’t it?”
  • People grow more confident with products when they’ve spent their hard earned cash on it, so push for social shares once people have made a purchase from your store.
  • Host a competition. People must leave a comment about their favourite part of your brand to win a free giveaway. Everyone who comments, does so on a public profile, you may get lucky and see them back their comment up with a purchase.




The Science: People prefer saying yes to familiar, friendly faces. They favour others who compliment them and are similar to themselves. Even having the same name as a potential customer can be a factor that influences their decision.


How Do I Take Advantage?

Flatter your customers and create a personal relationship between you. Make your brand seem humanised by finding common ground with your customer.


Put It Into Action

  • Give deals and discounts to loyal customers, make them aware they are being rewarded for their loyalty.
  • Create likability for your brand by getting involved with the local community and its causes, e.g. publically supporting a local charity.
  • Implement storytelling to find common ground with the consumer, tell them stories about failure to make yourself seem human, and not just a nameless corporate brand.
  • Play good cop, bad cop with the customer. E.g. “my manager wouldn’t want me to do this, but I’ll break the rules just this once, just post a pic on social media when you get the item?”
  • Post photos of you and your team on social media, doing normal things like having a lunch break, include customers in the inside joke.




The Science: People respect authority and want to obey the opinions of “experts” and “professionals in the field”


How Do I Take Advantage?

Make sure a figure of “authority” or “influence” is reaching your customers when they are making a purchase decision.


Put It Into Action

  • Use titles when asking for things, and when selling, such as sending out messages from the CEO or the Department Head.
  • Have authority figures endorse your product (think: “9/10 dentists use this toothpaste).




The Science: People place higher value on items that are scarcely available as this is an indication to them of supply and demand, meaning everyone wants one so they should have one too. It also relates to exclusivity, e.g. at the same time, not everyone has it.


How Do I Take Advantage?

Create the illusion of scarcity around your product.


Put It Into Action

  • Create a “limited time only” email campaign.
  • Put a visible timer on discounts
  • Appeal to certain valued customers by telling them first about the launch of a new product.




The principles are simple enough to understand, but the application can be tricky to get right. Cialdini theorises that the information overload of recent times has caused consumers to revert to animalistic decision making. He wrote that book 30 years ago, so imagine how valuable these principles are in this day and age!











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