Psychology influences everything we do. The people we talk to, the careers we select, and even the products we choose to buy. Yet many entrepreneurs fail to recognize how powerful a force it can be.
The fact is, for many people, shopping is an emotional experience. And companies can use those emotions to drive sales.
Robert Cialdini, a professor of the psychology of selling and marketing, famously laid out the six principles of persuasion in his book Influence.
We’re going to go over each of those principles and talk about how you can use it to your advantage in your e-commerce business.
The law of reciprocity says that when someone does something nice for you, you feel compelled to do something nice in return. For example, if you’re out to lunch with a friend and they pay, you’ll likely feel obligated to pick up the tab next time.
The same principle applies to sales. When you understand the human desire to give back, you can make it work to your advantage.
Free samples and add-ons are prime examples. Each one provides the audience with something of value and makes them want to give back. And while they may not make a purchase immediately after receiving their gift, when they are sales-ready, they’ll think of you first.
2. Commitment and Consistency
The principle of commitment says that people will take great pains to appear consistent once they’ve dedicated themselves to something.
As an example, consider many of the popular fitness and training apps today. Most, like FitChirp, allow users to connect with one another to share goals, inspirations, and accomplishments. The idea is that once you’ve committed to something publicly, and you discuss your plans with others, you’ll be more likely to follow through.
In e-commerce, that means once you’ve gotten a prospect to commit to something (no matter how small), they’re more likely to do business with you in the future. Signing up for an email newsletter or promotional updates is usually a great place to start!
3. Social Proof
Imagine that you’re heading to vacation in a new city. What’s the first thing you’re likely going to do? Check Yelp for reviews of local restaurants or see what destinations are recommended on TripAdvisor.
That is social proof, in a nutshell.
Consumers today trust product reviews as much as they’d trust a personal recommendation from a friend or family. In fact, 78% of them say they trust each other more than they trust advertising.
In e-commerce, it is essential to provide a way for your customers to share their purchasing experiences with others. And from healthcare to restaurants, everyone is getting in on the game.
Respect for authority is deeply ingrained in us since childhood. It starts with your parents and expands to any other sort of authority figure. We’re taught to believe in and trust those who hold positions of power because they know what is best.
In sales, displaying authority helps build confidence in your product and services. It invokes that familiar feeling of “Mother knows best” and helps your audience believe that you can truly solve their problems. Some common ways brands evoke authority include:
- Expert or celebrity endorsements – a stamp of approval from someone that is well-known and liked can give prospects the push they need to buy.
- Guest blogging – Guest blogging not only gets your name in front of an already-established audience, but the implicit endorsement suggests that you, too, are an expert in the industry
- Share quality content – blogs, whitepapers, video tutorials, and podcasts all demonstrate that, yes–you do know what you’re talking about
This one is simple: people are more likely to do business with brands they like. It’s why companies hire celebrities to rep them–when a consumer sees a familiar face attached to a brand, they automatically attach the traits they love about them to that brand.
Of course, you don’t need celebrity endorsement to up your “like” factor. All you need to do is be you. Show your audience that you’re a real person and not just some corporate robot.
One easy way to do that? Create an amazing “about me” page. Talk about the story behind your brand, how you got where you are, and your goals for the company. Share personal anecdotes and behind-the-scenes photos. Be relatable.
If you’ve ever shopped on eBay, you understand the concept of scarcity. It’s when someone else has something and you want it. There are two key factors at play:
- The fear of missing out: the client perceives that there is a limited supply of goods, which compels them to purchase
- Social proof: the limited supply also indicates that other people are buying your product, adding a sense of peer validation
Building scarcity is simple. All it takes is a simple announcement (“Only 10 left!” or “Only 12 hours left to buy!” usually does the trick) and a way to buy.
If you’d like to discuss ways in which you can add these (or any other) buy-inducing features to your app, we’d be happy to help you out. Reach out to us today so we can help take your e-business to the next level.
AUTHOR’S BIO: Shanal Aggarwal
VP, Global Business Development & Alliances at TechAhead
Studied at Maharshi Dayanand University