Today is the second part of a short series about psychological techniques that major online retailers use to get people to buy now, buy more and stay loyal. You can find part one here.
1. Changing the Default
In a study about how people handle defaults, they found that people were more likely to become organ donors if they had to opt out. On the other hand, people were more likely to pass on being a donor if they had to opt in. Essentially, people are kinda lazy, so you may be able to drive up sales numbers by automatically setting certain things to more expensive options.
For example, if there are premium options or add-ons to a product that can be purchased additionally, you can set a radio button to automatically select those more expensive items. This is not to say that you hide them; you’re just pre-selecting a setting that makes you more money. People can always change their settings with just the click of a button – but many won’t.
Note of caution: Make sure that you’re using this option wisely. For example, if someone comes to your site from an AdWords ad that features how inexpensive your products are, this option may upset people who just look at the initial dollar amount and were expecting a lower price. Be sure to align landing pages and shopping cart defaults with what people are expecting based on your ads.
2. Time Limit
We’ve already discussed this in more depth in this post about using timers during the holidays to get shoppers to act sooner than later, but it bears a quick mention again. Groupon in particular takes advantage of this by making people decide to pass or buy withing 24 hours. Shoppers hate feeling like they’ve missed out on a deal, and time constraints means you can’t come back later. Even outside of the holidays, be sure that when you’re running deals or promotions that you’re clear about when these specials end. AdWords has a countdown timer script that you can incorporate into your ads to get people to click now.
3. People Value Their Time Investments
This geared more towards online games, which is why it is where Zynga and Facebook have profited the most, but people are less willing to give up something that they have put their own time and effort into. A study where individuals were asked to make their own origami projects and bid on them as well as bidding on items made by professionals showed that people bid more on their own, although much lesser, projects if they had spent a lot of time on them. If you’ve got a game, allowing users to customize things, especially with large investments of time, may make people more willing to stick with a game and pay for in-app purchases. How else do you explain Farmville?