Tag Archives: sales

Apple’s Implementation of the Duration-of-Exposure Effect: Screens at 70Ëš

Hours after writ­ing about the dur­a­tion-of-expos­ure effect (whereby merely touch­ing an unowned object increases our attach­ment to it and how much we value it), a post came into my feed read­er point­ing out how Apple Inc. take advant­age of this effect in their “painstak­ingly cal­ib­rated” stores.

Car­mine Gallo, provid­ing a glimpse into his upcom­ing book, The Apple Exper­i­ence, explain­s how every aspect of an Apple Store is designed to foster “multi­s­ens­ory own­er­ship exper­i­ences”. This on the (very spe­cif­ic) tilt of laptop screens (from anoth­er great art­icle on the top­ic):

The note­book com­puters dis­played on the store’s tab­letops and coun­ters are set out, each day, to exactly the same angle. That angle being, pre­cisely, 70 degrees: not as rigid as a table-per­pen­dic­u­lar 90 degrees, but open enough – and, also, closed enough – for screens’ con­tent to remain vis­ible and invit­ing to would-be typers and tinker­ers.

The point […] is to get people to touch the devices. “The main reas­on note­book com­puters screens are slightly angled is to encour­age cus­tom­ers to adjust the screen to their ideal view­ing angle,” [Gallo] says – “in oth­er words, to touch the com­puter.”

A tact­ile exper­i­ence with an Apple product begets loy­alty to Apple products, the think­ing goes – which means that the store exists to imprint a brand impres­sion on vis­it­ors even more than it exists to extract money from them. “The own­er­ship exper­i­ence is more import­ant than a sale,” Gallo notes. Which means that the store – and every single detail cre­at­ing the exper­i­ence of it – are optim­ized for cus­tom­ers’ per­son­al indul­gence. Apple wants you to touch stuff, to play with it, to make it your own. Its note­book com­puters are tilted at just the right angle to beck­on you to their screens – and, more import­antly, to their key­boards.

When Apple do it right, they do it per­fectly.

via Kot­tke

Dark Patterns for Marketers, or: Practical Behavioural Economics

Tak­ing a sys­tem­at­ic approach to imple­ment­ing find­ings from beha­vi­our­al eco­nom­ics into a sales cycle can “unlock sig­ni­fic­ant value”, accord­ing to McKinsey’s Ned Welch. To help busi­ness do exactly that, Welch–in what, at times, reads a bit like a ‘dark pat­terns guide for marketers’–has writ­ten an art­icle look­ing at four prac­tic­al tech­niques from beha­vi­our­al eco­nom­ics that mar­keters should use to per­suade pur­chasers. The tech­niques:

  1. Make a product’s cost less pain­ful.
  2. Har­ness the power of a default option.
  3. Don’t over­whelm con­sumers with choice.
  4. Pos­i­tion your pre­ferred option care­fully.

There’s not much new here, but the sum­mar­ies are nice and suc­cinct. From item four, I found this bit of gro­cery store choice archi­tec­ture inter­est­ing:

Anoth­er way to pos­i­tion choices relates not to the products a com­pany offers but to the way it dis­plays them. Our research sug­gests, for instance, that ice cream shop­pers in gro­cery stores look at the brand first, fla­vor second, and price last. Organ­iz­ing super­mar­ket aisles accord­ing to way con­sumers prefer to buy spe­cif­ic products makes cus­tom­ers both hap­pi­er and less likely to base their pur­chase decisions on price—allowing retail­ers to sell high­er-priced, high­er-mar­gin products. (This explains why aisles are rarely organ­ized by price.) For ther­mo­stats, by con­trast, people gen­er­ally start with price, then func­tion, and finally brand. The mer­chand­ise lay­out should there­fore be quite dif­fer­ent.

via Nudge

(If you don’t have a McKin­sey account, you can read the art­icle here or here (PDF).)

A “Felt Need” Is What Makes Us Buy

A “felt need” is what dif­fer­en­ti­ates a vit­am­in from an aspir­in: when we crave some­thing (relief from pain), a product that sat­is­fies that desire becomes a must-have rather than a nice-to-have. Real­ising this and re-fram­ing a product in terms of this crav­ing is an import­ant step in ensur­ing a product’s suc­cess, say Dan and Chip Heath, authors of the excel­lent Switch and Made to Stick.

Becom­ing aware of this idea is what led to the suc­cess of Net­flix and NetApp… as well as the demise of count­less oth­er com­pan­ies. In a brief art­icle describ­ing how re-fram­ing a nice-to-have product as a must-have is all about dis­cov­er­ing and exploit­ing a spe­cif­ic “felt need”, the Heaths look at Ray Bards failed attempt at get­ting his “vit­am­in” book pub­lished and how real­iz­ing this idea of a felt need led him to become a suc­cess­ful pub­lish­er.

If entre­pren­eurs want to suc­ceed […] they’d bet­ter be selling aspir­in rather than vit­am­ins. Vit­am­ins are nice; they’re healthy. But aspir­in cures your pain; it’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. […]

That aspir­in qual­ity is what Bard now looks for in a book. He says that suc­cess­ful books address a deep “felt need” – that is, read­ers hun­ger for the answers the book provides. Clas­sic examples would be diet books, per­son­al-fin­ance books, and books that prom­ise you mega suc­cess if you’ll just radi­ate pos­it­ive energy to the uni­verse, indic­at­ing your receptiv­ity to mega suc­cess. Bard has become a tal­en­ted diviner of felt need. Fully half of the books that he pub­lishes become best sellers. […]

You’ve heard the old say­ing “If you invent a bet­ter mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” Don’t bet on it. The world’s felt need isn’t for a bet­ter mousetrap. It’s for a dead mouse. […]

When engin­eers or mar­keters or entre­pren­eurs get too close to their products, it’s easy to mis­take a vit­am­in for an aspir­in. If your team is flirt­ing with delu­sion, a little love might point you in the right dir­ec­tion.

Persuasive Infomercial Sales Techniques

I don’t take infomer­cials very ser­i­ously, mainly due to how hil­ari­ous and absurd they are. How­ever I’ve now been won over and can see their poten­tial for cer­tain product–market com­bin­a­tions. How did this mira­cu­lous change come about? Through a sur­pris­ingly enjoy­able inter­view between Andrew Warner and the mas­ter of the infomer­cial, Tim Hawthorne.

From his many years of exper­i­ence (he cre­ated the fourth ever infomer­cial, devel­op­ing over 300 since then; has worked with some well-respec­ted com­pan­ies such as Apple, Nikon, 3M and Braun; and is respons­ible for about a bil­lion dol­lars in cli­ent sales), Hawthorne talks extens­ively and insight­fuly on the many infomer­cial sales tech­niques that his data show are the most per­suas­ive. Two items that I par­tic­u­larly liked:

The most per­suas­ive deal types:

Buy one get one free, or get the second one at half price. So you’re get­ting an imme­di­ate dis­count. Buy one and get a second one super size, so you’re actu­ally doub­ling or trip­ling the order. Buy one and the second is actu­ally going to be double the size. Drop a pay­ment. Let’s say that your offer is three pay­ments of $19.95, that’s your ini­tial offer. But wait, if you call now, if you order now, we’ll actu­ally make one pay­ment for you. So it’s only two pay­ments of $19.95. So that’s drop a pay­ment. […]

I think one of the most power­ful bonuses or premi­ums that you can offer is free ship­ping. A lot of people don’t under­stand the power of this. For some reas­on, if I’m going to pay $99.95 and there’s an addi­tion­al $9.95 or $14.95 or $19.95 for ship­ping, that addi­tion­al amount which is very import­ant to many vendors, if you can sac­ri­fice that, it has an amaz­ing impact on people.

Words and phrases that trig­ger action:

“Free” is still, I think, and will always be con­sidered the most power­ful word in selling. After that we would prob­ably think of words such as now, you or your, easy, eas­ily, guar­an­tee, break-through, revolu­tion­ary, fast, quick, instant, magic, new, spe­cial, exclus­ive, lim­ited time, risk free, only, save, money back, money back guar­an­tee, call now, and in terms of a clas­sic phrase, “but wait, there’s more”.

Every­body kinds of kicks around that par­tic­u­lar phrase and it’s used often. One of the reas­ons it’s used so often is that it’s so effect­ive.

Narratives for Selling Premium Goods: The Grey Goose Story

People want to pay more in order to own lux­ury goods, but you need to give them a reas­on to do so. That excuse? A com­pel­ling story.

One man that sub­scribed to this idea was Sydney Frank, as is evid­ent from the strategy he developed for Grey Goose: the ‘super­premi­um’ vodka that Bar­cardi bought for $2 bil­lion in cash in what became the largest ever single brand sale.

In a 2005 New York art­icle pub­lished shortly before his death, you can read all about Sydney Frank’s marketing/branding strategy and the com­pel­ing story of Grey Goose vodka. This excerpt fol­lows Frank’s decision to have Grey Goose dis­tilled in France:

But why France? Doesn’t vodka come from Rus­sia, or per­haps, in a pinch, Scand­inavia? “People are always look­ing for some­thing new,” says Frank. It’s all about brand dif­fer­en­ti­ation. If you’re going to charge twice as much for a vodka, you need to give people a reas­on.

“Niet­z­sche explains that human beings are look­ing for the ‘why’ in their lives, […] we refer to this ‘why’ as ‘the Great Story.’ The Great Story must be enti­cing, mem­or­able, eas­ily repeat­able, and about what you want your brand to be about.”

For Grey Goose, the brand was about unrivaled qual­ity. Grey Goose’s Great Story hinged on the fol­low­ing key points: It comes from France, where all the best lux­ury products come from. It’s not anoth­er rough-hewn Rus­si­an vodka—it’s a mas­ter­piece craf­ted by French vodka artis­ans.

It uses water from pristine French springs, filtered through Cham­pagne lime­stone.

It’s got a dis­tinct­ive, care­fully designed bottle, with smoked glass and a sil­hou­ette of fly­ing geese. It looks fant­ast­ic up behind the bar, the way it catches the light […] It sure looks expens­ive.

It was shipped in wood crates, like a fine wine, not in card­board boxes like Joe Schmo’s vodka. This catches the bartender’s eye and rein­forces the aura of qual­ity. Nev­er for­get the influ­ence of the bar­tender. […]

And now the most import­ant piece of the story—the twist that brings it all togeth­er: Grey Goose costs way more than oth­er vod­kas. Waaaaaaay more. So it must be the best.

This descrip­tion of Grey Goose’s Great Story per­fectly cap­tures the essence of the art­icle.