Cialdini indicates that there 6 factors that influence a person when making
decisions. These factors are: reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency and
commitment, liking and social proof. By using these 6 heuristics together on a
website; a company’s marketing strategy can be changed
and in turn can improve the number of sales on their website.
The sixth and
last heuristic is social proof. “It states that one means we use to determine
what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct” (Cialdini, 2007,
People prefer to follow what others are doing and if they are making decisions
then they feel they should also be making those decisions – putting pressure on
themselves. An example of this is canned laughter on TV; if a group of people
are laughing then you are more likely to laugh too. Belonging within a society
is what people desire and people will avoid making decisions that will be
viewed as wrong. An example of social proof is Facebook – if a post has a high
amount of likes and shares from peers then people are more likely to look at it
themselves. “When a lot of people are doing something, it is the right thing to
do” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 116). To improve sales on
an artist’s website, you should encourage your customers to share your products
on social media, creates hashtags for them to post to, this can then be seen by
their peers and encourage them to purchase too. Use stats on your website such
as “8 people bought in the last hour” to show the popularity of the product.
Encourage customers to fill out reviews as people will see and feel like they
can trust the review and buy the product themselves.
Liking is the
next heuristic Cialdini states influence a person’s decision-making process. “Most
people prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like” (Cialdini,
2007, p. 167). People trust the views and opinions of
those that they are similar to meaning they are likely to look to them to see
the decision they have made before making their own. They trust people with a
similar lifestyle and background to themselves. Brands and corporations have a
lack of similarity to us, so we feel like purchasing with them doesn’t suit our
lifestyle however if a brand makes is more human and relatable then we may
purchase from them. Physical attraction influences our likelihood of purchasing.
“We automatically assign to good-looking individuals such favourable traits as
talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence” (Cialdini,
2007, p. 171). We look to them as they have the
desirable traits deemed attractive and their decisions will be the correct
ones. For a merchandise website this heuristic can be used to drive sales.
Encouraging advocacy results in people telling their friends about your
products and possibly turn their friends into advocates. Furthermore, using
attractive models wearing merchandise and picturing them on your website shows the
traits deemed attractive. Also, making your website seem as relatable as
possible to the customer by using language that is used by the audience.
In addition, the fourth factor that
influences decision making is consistency and commitment. People have a
“obsessive desire to be (and to appear) consistent” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 58).
Being true to their word becomes a number one priority so they will consider
this when making decisions as consistency is viewed as a positive trait. “The
drive to be (and look) consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of social
influence, often causing us to act in ways that are clearly contrary to our
best interests” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 59).
It is vital that you give the customer a small commitment first that will then
start to put pressure on the customer. For an artist’s merchandise website,
they should give customers a free sample of their music. By giving the customer
free content, it will drive their desire to appear consistent causing a larger
commitment in the future. The customer is then more likely to purchase from you
and once they do brand loyalty will start to grow. “Once we have made a choice
or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to
behave consistently with that commitment” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 57).
The next factor that Cialdini states
influences decision making is authority. “We are trained from birth that
obedience to proper authority is right and disobedience is wrong” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 216).
People look for a leader to follow and look for their expertise when making
decisions. “Once we realise that obedience to authority is mostly rewarding it
is easy it allow ourselves the convenience of automatic obedience” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 218).
To encourage sales, a company should use authoritative figures throughout their
website. For example, for a solo artist first starting out they could try and
get a more famous and well known solo artist to wear their merchandise/products.
If these figures post on their social media to their followers, then they can
gain more sales as customers will trust the person of higher authority. If an
artist gains a partnership with a brand/company that is well known they can
gain authoritative respect that they can then talk about your
product/merchandise to their customers.
second factor that influences decision making is scarcity. “When things become
less available, they become more desirable” (Changing Minds, n.d.).
People have a fear of missing out and will act as they are afraid of the pain
associated with loss. When people have the fear of missing out they will use
‘system one’ (Kahneman, 2011)
and act quickly. This will result in a purchase. “The most straightforward use of
the scarcity principle occurs in the ‘limited number’ tactic, when the customer
is informed that a certain product is in short supply that cannot be guaranteed
to last long” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 239).
For an artist’s merchandise website, they should use tactics such as “last
chance to buy” or “only 50 left in stock”. This will encourage a purchase as
the customer will avoid missing out.
The first factor that influences
decision making is reciprocity. The way in which society has been perceived is
that when someone does something for us we must repay them. If we don’t there
is a fear that we would be excluded from our social group. In early society,
this was true “in human social evolution, because it meant that one person
could give something (for example food, energy, care) to another with
confidence that it was not being lost” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 18).
A marketer must ensure that they go first as they can perform the smaller
favour to gain the larger one in return. “The rule possesses awesome strength,
often producing a ‘yes’ response to a request that, except for an existing
feeling of indebtedness, would have sorely been refused” (Cialdini, 2007, p. 21).
To drive sales of merchandise, marketers should send out a free piece of
merchandise, a small piece e.g. keyring, as this will give the receiver a sense
of obligation to return that favour and purchase something bigger from the site
in the future. This could also work when sending: free sample (music), discount
codes, free delivery etc.
states that we ‘think fast and think slow’ when we make decisions. He states
that the mind has two different systems that we follow. ‘System one’ is when we
make decisions quickly without much thought whereas ‘system two’ undergoes a
slower and thorough process where there has been consideration put into it.
System one is seen more in modern society as it saves the time and effort. “We
can’t be expected to recognise and analyse all the aspects in each person,
event and situation we encounter even in one day” (Cialdini, 2007)
making the decision process quicker.
(2007) states that six key factors influence decision making and can take someone
from interest to sale. A marketer’s job is to influence the customer into
buying a product and by using the six heuristics as techniques they can do this