The psychology techniques for getting people to spend more
June 30, 2017 2:07 pm by Bronwyn Watt
Mary’s mother has four daughters: April, May, June and …? If you answered July, you’re wrong, but you’re not alone. The correct answer is Mary. The trick question relies on a sequence the mind is accustomed to in order to dupe whoever has to answer it. The mind is highly impressionable that way. So impressionable, in fact, that a lot of our purchasing decisions are influenced by subliminal messaging and clever conditioning designed to trick our minds into being less price sensitive and more eager to buy. If you’ve been struggling with driving sales perhaps you should take some tips from science and employ the following psychology techniques.
Use clever pricing
All those prices marked something-ninety-nine in stores aren’t there because retailers are trying to be extremely accurate with their pricing. There’s a reason and it’s getting people to spend more than they’d otherwise be willing to. It’s called the “left-digit effect”. Most people read from left to right, so by dropping prices that end in zero by one cent, you change the leftmost digit of the price to a lower one (from R50 to R49, for instance), creating the psychological perception of a bargain. If companies like Apple rely on the left-digit effect (among many other psychology techniques), it must be effective.
Offer free shipping
You buy a sleeper couch for R2 500 (or R2 499 if your furnishers are smart). As you’re paying, you enquire about delivery. They tell you it’s free but only for purchases over R4 000. Suddenly, you find yourself considering additional purchases even though all you really need is a couch. Even the most economical shoppers find free shipping irresistible. And if you sell online, free shipping is an effective way to combat cart abandonment.
This is a tried and tested psychology technique that encourages trust and familiarity with customers. Paying close attention to the tone, gesticulations and posture of a customer and then reflecting them back to the customer can build valuable rapport between anyone trying to make a sale and a prospect. Caution should be exercised, however, because imitating the wrong tone or gesture may be offensive.
Introduce a loyalty programme
Nielsen’s latest Global Retail Loyalty-Sentiment report revealed that 84% of South African respondents who completed their survey claimed to be members of a loyalty programme. A loyalty programme is one of the oldest tricks for boosting sales. Once a customer joins a loyalty programme they become so fixated on the rewards, they’re willing to buy a latte on their way to work every morning just so they can get a free one at the end of the week. Loyalty programmes also open a permanent marketing channel between retailers and customers in the form of newsletters.
Upsell and cross-sell
Generally, if a customer has walked into your store and made a purchase, they’re more likely to make another. And another. Therefore upselling and cross-selling shouldn’t be as difficult as making an initial sale. It can be as subtle as placing complementary products in close proximity with one another or as aggressive as recommending complementary products to your customers as they get ready to pay.
Accept debit and credit cards
Consumers respond to choice and convenience more than anything else when making buying decisions. They’re less likely to support a business that only accepts one form of payment or a business with a needlessly slow and complicated transaction process. Next to cash, debit and credit cards are the most convenient and widely recognised form of payment. Scientists agree that because customers never see the money leave their wallet and that the card is always handed back to them, the psychological toll of the transaction is diminished compared to cash transactions.
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