The one thing businesses should tweak to give online sales a boost

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The one thing businesses should tweak to give online sales a boost

Businesses can boost online sales by focusing on people’s preferences instead of actions, according to one consumer psychologist.

As Tom van Bommel, the co-founder of Studio ST&T, writes in Neuroscience Marketing, the internet is full of product testimonials and ratings these days and for a good reason.

People obviously like to know they are buying something reputable and enjoyed by others.

However, van Bommel says social proof is only being used to “a fraction” of its full potential.

This is because a lot of testimonials and ratings are based on actions, such as claims that 100 other people bought a product, rather than other consumers’ preferences.

There is a massive opportunity for businesses to tap into consumer behaviour because preferences often yield the best results.

“When shopping, consumers are swayed more by what other people would like to have, rather than actually have,” van Bommel says.

“To make this principle a bit more vivid, let’s put it in the context of intimate relationships. Would you rather have a partner that’s either desired by many or had by man others? Thought so.”

This principle means businesses should be rewording the marketing copy on their websites to focus on preferences rather than behaviour.

For example, online retailers should have a plug-in listing how many people liked a product, rather than bought it.

In addition, retailers should consider listing what similar customers also liked instead of what they purchased.

“Small copywriting alterations like these might just spark a very big difference in conversion,” van Bommel says.

“When you have the option to reframe your message in terms of what people liked instead of what they did, it’s likely your message will pack an extra persuasive punch.” 

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Broede Carmody is a former senior reporter at SmartCompany. Previously, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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