Sales and psychology have always gone hand in hand.
Anyone who has done sales, online or offline, will tell you this. Back in 1984, a book called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” was released to an unsuspecting public. The book is now known as the seminal book on marketing and it’s author Dr. Robert Cialdini has become a figurehead for modern marketing techniques.
For those who wish to make it in the world of e-commerce, the principles within this book can be complete game-changer
The book discusses the following key principles:
Commitment and consistency
These are all “triggers” – things which invoke certain thoughts or feelings that result in action. In this article we will discuss the ways in which these can be used to increase your visibility and sales.
Here is a brief explanation of each of those key principles:
When someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give them something back in return. Have you ever gone to the supermarket and walked out with several unplanned purchases just because you tried a free sample?
This is reciprocity in action.
Some ways to make reciprocity work in your favour include giving a free gift with a purchase and to provide retailers with actionable content which they can use to increase sales and grow their business.
Commitment and Consistency
People often go to great lengths to appear consistent. This is why life-changing decisions such as one to lose weight are often made public, as a means of being accountable. If you can get customers to make small commitments to your brand, such as subscribing to your newsletter, they are far more likely to make a purchase from you in the future.
Several businesses have gone so far as to place sample products in the hands of their customers – with great success. Warby Parker and Zappo are two good examples, the former being an online eyeglasses store and the latter being a framing store. Both of these companies know that if a customer gets a product in their hand, they have already made the commitment to buy it subconsciously.
Following this philosophy could make you the next example that writers use to convey this message.
The more you like someone, the more likely you will be persuaded by them. This is why celebrities are often asked by big brands to endorse their products, because the audience often transfers their love of the celebrity onto the product. For example, if a famous sportsperson such as Serena Williams endorses a product, her fans will transfer their love to the product she is endorsing.
Using models that people can identify with, telling your own personal story as an entrepreneur and creating a way for your customers to easily tell their friends about your company through social media are all ways of creating a relationship with your clientele.
People are often hardwired to respond to authority. The Milgram experiments, first conducted in 1961, proved that the presence of an authority figure could influence one person to harm another “under orders”.
Volunteers were told to continue delivering a painful electric shock to subjects even though they could hear the immense pain they were inflicting. Although the entire situation was faked, the volunteers were told that it was real. The presence of a man in a lab coat issuing orders was enough to make the volunteers comply.
The first way to use authority is to make yourself the expert in your field. Is your product handcrafted? Is your service completely unique?
Tell the world all about your unique selling points and always speak with authority.
Cement yourself as an expert in your field and you will always have leads coming to you for advice.
Human beings are social creatures, so we tend to do things just because others are. Anything that shows how popular your brand is could trigger a response from a potential customer.
Once a customer has been drawn to your site through a comparison channel you need to show them the value of returning to your site. Reviews and user-generated content are great ways to win over potential customers.
Has your store received a rave review? Let the public know! Getting fan emails from customers? Send them a quote along with your response! Anything positive about your store will promote sales and growth.
People are highly motivated by the thought that they may miss out on an opportunity. If someone tells you that you can’t have something, you automatically long for it all the more. To trigger this effect, include things such as deadlines for sales, impending out-of-stock announcements and seasonal products in your range. This creates urgency for the customer, allowing for impulse shopping.
Whilst only doing these six things won’t ensure the success of your business, they are solid ways to influence your audience and be the brand people go to first on comparison channels.