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Description: I bet, or hope, that you are doing most of your holiday shopping online this year. I also bet that most of what come to mind if you are asked to think about things that retailers do to nudge you to by more involve “real” bricks and mortar stores such as small quantities of “door crasher bargains,” eye-catching merchandise displays near sale items etc. But what about online? Make a list (real or just mental) of several things that online retailers do to entice you to buy more and to buy more quickly and more often. Once you have your list take a look through the article linked below to see some (perhaps other) suggestions of things to be on watch for as you click-shop this month.

Source: The tactics retailers use to make us spend more – and how they harm the vulnerable, Ruth Bushi, The Guardian.

Date: December 5, 2020

Photo Credit: Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, are you safe or are you in big trouble when it comes to online shopping? While some things mat appear to be simply informative they may actually (also or only) be nudges to buy. For example have you seen a note, usually in red under an item you are viewing that says Only 3 Left! Informative yes but also a scarcity nudge. And what about reviews? Yes they can be informative but they can also provide social proof that the item you are considering has been purchased by others, perhaps MANY others and so it must be OK. Default choices and framing tactics mat be harder to see but it should be clear that there is a LOT being done to get you to click on purchase as quickly and as often as possible. If you missed it go back and read what the article said about Friction and then think about ways in which you can add some friction to your online shopping trips… it will save you money!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of things do online retailers (sites) do to increase the likelihood you will buy, buy more and buy more often?
  2. How are online buy nudges different than in real store nudges?
  3. What are some ways in which you could build some friction into your own online shopping experiences and why would doing so be a good idea?

References (Read Further):

Humphreys, A., & Latour, K. A. (2013). Framing the game: Assessing the impact of cultural representations on consumer perceptions of legitimacy. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(4), 773-795. Link

Jurafsky, D., Chahuneau, V., Routledge, B. R., & Smith, N. A. (2014). Narrative framing of consumer sentiment in online restaurant reviews. First Monday. Link

Amblee, N., & Bui, T. (2011). Harnessing the influence of social proof in online shopping: The effect of electronic word of mouth on sales of digital microproducts. International journal of electronic commerce, 16(2), 91-114. Link

Naeem, M. (2020). Do social media platforms develop consumer panic buying during the fear of Covid-19 pandemic. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 58, 102226. Link

Trudel, R. (2019). Sustainable consumer behavior. Consumer psychology review, 2(1), 85-96. Link

Hamilton, R., Thompson, D., Bone, S., Chaplin, L. N., Griskevicius, V., Goldsmith, K., … & Piff, P. (2019). The effects of scarcity on consumer decision journeys. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 47(3), 532-550. Link

Goldsmith, K., Griskevicius, V., & Hamilton, R. (2020). Scarcity and Consumer Decision Making: Is Scarcity a Mindset, a Threat, a Reference Point, or a Journey?. Link

Huang, H., Liu, S. Q., Kandampully, J., & Bujisic, M. (2020). Consumer responses to scarcity appeals in online booking. Annals of Tourism Research, 80, 102800. Link

Lissitsa, S., & Kol, O. (2016). Generation X vs. Generation Y–A decade of online shopping. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 31, 304-312. Link