Influence Consumers With Subconscious Buying
People do strange things. Nancy Harhut, chief creative officer at Wilde Agency, a digital and direct marketing agency, says this statement is very true when it comes to consumer purchasing habits.
In her opening keynote yesterday at NEMOA’s directXchange Fall Conference in Schaumburg, Ill., Harhut explained that science has found that 95 percent of purchasing decision making takes place in the subconscious mind. Humans have developed shortcuts as a way to make decisions quicker and with less effort.
Retailers can take what science has proven and use it to influence consumers’ buying decisions. Here are five ways Harhut says retailers can do this:
1. Availability bias: People make decisions based on things they “hear” — on the news, from a friend — or something “they” say (whoever “they” is). Harhut says use this to your advantage by getting consumers to think of a time in the past they needed your product and didn’t have it, or allude to a time in the future when they'll eventually need your product or service. People will subconsciously assume they need your brand in their lives and are more likely to make a purchase.
2. Social proof: A great way to influence consumers to buy something is to show them that others have already have made a similar purchase. For example, your email campaign can use the subject line “the most popular … ” or “best-selling … ” This type of message gets into the email recipient’s subconscious and influences them to open the email.
3. Scarcity and urgency: Harhut explained that people are wired to want what they can’t have. Retailers can take advantage of this behavior by offering “a limited-time deal” in an email or direct mail piece. Harhut noted that urgency in email subject lines raises open rates 34 percent to 36 percent.
Scarcity can also describe your product — e.g., how it’s “sourced from the top 1 percent of the world’s cotton.” Consumers will subconsciously want it because the product is something special.
4. Commitment and consistency: Harhut revealed that studies show if marketers can get someone to say “yes” just once, that person is more likely to say yes again and again. This leads to a “cascades of yeses,” Harhut said.
The first yes can come by offering someone a free sample of one of your products, for example. Once she says yes to this, she’s more likely to make an actual purchase the next time you reach out to her.
If your brand can’t do free samples, you can get someone to commit by asking them to answer a question. This can be a simple yes or no question that aligns with your brand voice, or a pop-up banner to enter an email address to receive your company's newsletter.
5. Pricing perceptions: The numbers you use to price your products play a huge role in conversion. Harhut said prices with decimals appear longer. Her advice:
- use prices with decimals when talking about a discount the customer will receive; and
- don’t use decimals when referring to the actual price of an item.
Another consumer perception Harhut noted is that discount prices in red are perceived as deeper by men, but on women, there's no effect.
Human brains don’t like to work too hard to make decisions. You can tap into the subconscious minds of consumers by implementing a few of Harhut’s tips.
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