Articles Tagged with: small business

Have You Heard of Nudge Marketing?

How about the term “nudge”?  

We’re going to talk all about nudges: what they are, how they work, and how brands and businesses use them to their advantage.

The term nudge was introduced in the book Nudge (2008), written by two behavioral economists: Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler. They have defined it as:

“A nudge, as we shall use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid.”

Why are nudges effective?

Behavioral economics assumes that people’s choices involve a lot of guesswork. We tend to want to make decisions as quickly and efficiently as possible, but we never want to regret the decision we’ve made.  

A nudge is used to influence people’s behavior by making choice-making easier and seemingly less risky. It provides our brains with a shortcut, and the most we consciously notice is the feeling of being less stressed.

Nobody wants to feel forced or manipulated into making a decision, so subtle nudges with their best interests in mind will automatically make the decision-making process feel natural and smooth.

Let’s look at some of the companies that are making nudges work for them.

Companies selling software systems or anything that requires choosing a plan (Adobe, QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, etc.) will often have a banner highlighting the “Most Popular Plan.” If someone is looking at the options and don’t know what factors to focus on to make the best decision, this identification lets others do it for them.  

There’s a similar powerful persuasion in labeling a display of products as “Staff Picks,” “Editor’s Picks,” or more specifically, “Amazon’s Choice.” People are often put at ease when they see that a product made a good impression on someone else.

Subtly nudging confidence into consumers makes them more likely to make a purchase.

Discount popups are another type of effective nudge. Kate Spade’s website sometimes puts an extra discount on your screen as a popup when it senses that you’ve looked at a particular product multiple times without making a purchase. That extra incentive may be what pushes the shopper to commit.  

We’ve all experienced mind-numbing scrolling when trying to choose something to watch on Netflix or something to order from DoorDash. Sites and apps like these benefit from including a “Featured” list in a prominent place so that when viewers inevitably reach decision paralysis, they’ll have a section with fewer options and a higher perceived value. Making a decision that they’re not likely to regret will seem much easier.  

A strategy used by e-commerce sites is adding functional benefits and personality triggers to the product descriptions on their gallery page. This would be easy for small businesses to implement. Appealing to shoppers directly and as quickly as possible pulls them in, helps them feel seen, and makes their job much faster and easier.  

If you want to subtly change someone’s behavior, you can change the tools they use.

For example, some waste management companies have made recycling bins larger and garbage cans smaller to nudge people toward being more thoughtful about what they throw away. Also, giving people smaller plates at hotel buffets nudges them toward taking less food, ultimately reducing waste.

Not all nudges have a purchase as the end goal.

One of the most famous nudges is the piano stairs at the Odenplan station of the Stockholm Metro. A team transformed the stairs leading out of the station into a giant functioning keyboard. There’s a video showing commuters having fun on the stairs that went viral about a decade ago (Google “piano stairs Stockholm”).

The objective was simple: make more people take the stairs. Did they? Video footage showed that 66% more people than usual chose the stairs over the escalator!

Google has a free food benefit for their employees and found that it was making it harder for people to choose healthy options. To help improve their employees’ eating habits, they made the containers that held the sweets and snack items opaque, moved the salad to the beginning of the buffet line, and placed the sugar-free drinks at eye level in the cooler. Snacking and calorie intake were reduced by roughly 8%.

When strategizing nudges, it’s important to consider the order of the given options. People almost always prefer convenience over rationality, so it’s a great way to persuade them while making them content.

Have some fun with it!

People love friendly competition.

If your business is seeing a decline in tips and you’ve already addressed potential quality and service factors, make a game out of your tip jars. Play on peoples’ strong identification with popular conflicting sports teams and have each jar labeled and decorated for one. Or have a fun yet controversial question posted such as, “Does pineapple belong on pizza?” and have the tip jars labeled as “Yes” and “No”. Nobody is obligated to leave a tip, but it draws attention and gives an emotional incentive.  

There are a few things to consider when planning nudges for your small business.

Nudges must resonate deeply with your target audience, so you need to understand their motivations (values, interests, habits, psychological inclinations). 

If you make your nudge more about increasing your sales and less about benefiting the customer, it’s likely to backfire and decrease trust in you and your business.  

As previously mentioned, nudges should never be misleading or meant to trick people. They’ll know if they’re being pressured or manipulated, so it’s best to keep things transparent.  

If you focus on your audience’s true needs and plan your nudge marketing to ease their stress, this tactic could help you build the strong relationships needed to maintain a thriving business.

Do you have any nudge examples that you use for your business? Got a question? Don’t forget to COMMENT below and SHARE your thoughts!

Sources:

https://blog.crobox.com/article/behavioral-economics-marketing?_ga=2.173434656.2000106776.1555316919-124876615.1554128205

https://blog.crobox.com/article/nudge-marketing

https://www.convertize.com/what-is-nudge-marketing/

https://www.veeqo.com/us/blog/nudge-marketing

https://medium.com/swlh/the-7-most-creative-examples-of-habit-changing-nudges-7873ca1fff4a


Have You Experienced Choice Overload?

We’re going to talk about choice overload, why offering too many choices to customers is a bad thing, and what you should do instead.

Businessman and futurist Alvin Toffler first introduced the concept of choice overload in his book Future Shock (1970). The premise is that living in the post-industrial age (translate: TODAY!) means that we are faced with many choices—far more choices than even two decades ago.

How do we make choices?

Psychology professor Barry Schwartz summarizes the framework of decision-making in his book, The Paradox of Choice:

1) Identify your goals

2) Assess the significance of each goal

3) Organize the options according to how well they meet each goal

4) Figure out how likely each of the options is to meet your goals

5) Choose the best option

There are two types of decision-makers: Those who spend some time considering their options and are satisfied when something mostly meets their criteria, and those who can’t choose something until they’ve deeply examined every possibility in existence. 

Offering lots of options may not be the best idea.

Freedom of choice is a good thing, right? But having too many overloads our brain and paralyzes us from making a decision.

Columbia University conducted a study where a research team set up a booth of jam samples. Every few hours, they would switch from a selection of 24 jams to a group of six. When there were 24 jams, 60% of customers would stop to get a sample, while 3% would buy a jar. When there were six jams on display, only 40% stopped, but 30% bought jam. Lots of options attracted customers to browse, but fewer choices got them to buy.

The more options we’re faced with, the more likely we are to experience unhappiness, decision fatigue, decision paralysis (avoiding making a decision altogether), anxiousness, regret, and decreased satisfaction with the option they do choose.

As Schwartz explains, “The existence of multiple alternatives makes it easy for us to imagine alternatives that don’t exist — alternatives that combine the attractive features of the ones that do exist. And to the extent that we engage our imaginations in this way, we will be even less satisfied with the alternative we end up choosing. So, once again, a greater variety of choices actually makes us feel worse.”

How do companies manage choice overload?

Target makes it easy by carefully curating the wares on their shelves. They have thousands upon thousands of amazing products, but they don’t offer them up to you all at once. There are carefully selected spots, and they don’t fill racks to the brim because that’s visually overwhelming. There are probably one or two styles of clothing on a single rack. Their displays are designed to draw customers in and to encourage them to pick up and inspect the product. There’s always just enough product to pique interest and make you want to see more. Ever wonder why a Target run can take so long?

Proctor and Gamble found that when they decreased the number of Head & Shoulders shampoo varieties available to purchase, revenue increased by 10%. It can be hard to differentiate between very similar niche products, so taking away some of the options made the remaining ones easier to compare.

Squarespace has four plans to choose from on its website. Each subscription plan’s features can be complicated to weigh, so they made a chart that compares what you get with each subscription option. It’s pleasing to look at and simple to read, making the deciding process a lot more bearable. 

Companies like jewelry stores and car dealerships often have a comparison tool on their websites that lets you select your top three choices, see them next to each other, and closely examine their features and benefits. This process is much more user-friendly than making your customers go back and forth between web pages. 

Netflix has an option that pops up after it detects that you’ve been scrolling for a while that offers to choose a show for you. They do their best to categorize their material so you can narrow down what you want to watch, but we all know the difficulty of making that final commitment. 

AirBnB’s website gives you multiple chances to narrow your search by choosing preferred features in small batches, ensuring that you’re only presented with options that are the best fit for your needs. 

On DoorDash’s website, the first thing you see is a section of featured restaurants. Suppose scrolling through every restaurant available is overwhelming for you. In that case, this collection makes deciding easier because the agonizing work of determining which places are above average has already been done for you. When you choose a restaurant, they start by listing the featured and most popular items so that you don’t need to sift through the entire menu if you don’t want to.

What should small businesses be doing?

Remember that giving lots of options comes with good intentions, but it can backfire on your business. You don’t want to scare off potential customers by overwhelming them. Plus, you don’t want your brand to be associated with stressful feelings from choice overload. 

The best thing you can do to ease the anxiety of decision-making for your audience is to offer only the necessary number of options and make it as easy as possible to compare their features. Keep the design simple and highlight specific benefits that would appeal to your customers.

As a consumer yourself, you know and understand what your customers go through when faced with too many choices. Empathize with their distress and show your compassion through your messaging and marketing. Your efforts will not go unnoticed!

How about you? How do you make choice-making easy for your customers? Got a question? Don’t forget to COMMENT below and SHARE your thoughts.

Sources:

https://thedecisionlab.com/biases/choice-overload-bias/

https://blog.crobox.com/article/choice-overload

https://medium.com/choice-hacking/choice-overload-why-simplicity-is-the-key-to-winning-customers-2f8e239eaba6


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