We have a bias against foreign products and favor domestic ones. This domestic country bias is manifested in our product perceptions as well as our buying behavior.
One should be careful though; the domestic country bias does not apply to all product categories. Moreover, this bias is more prevalent when our patriotic feelings are activated (e.g. Independence Day in the US, Kingsday in The Netherlands, or when your national team wins the World Cup).
Scientific research example:
Imagine you consider buying a DIY-drill. Do you think your preference is dependent on your nationality, or not? Of course, Balabanis & Diamantopoulos (2004) found that:
72% of the Brits consider British DIY tools first (when the attributes and price are comparable).
The same accounts for food products, furniture, DIY tools, and toys.
However, in the same study, they found that there’s no British majority when it comes to buying e.g. TV sets (here 67% would primarily consider a Japanese product), fashion wear, or even cars. Hence there’s a strong interaction between the domestic country bias and the Country of Origin-effect (our bias to prefer products from stereotypical countries”.
Online Persuasion tips:
Determine your customers’ domestic origin (via using a social plugin, login+CRM data, IP-address, and/or browser settings).
When operating abroad:
Do not promote your domestic origin as a USP
Try to sell your product through local domestic etailers
On patriotic days, save your online marketing budgets for better times
When operating domestically:
Subtly remind your customers of your shared domestic origins (also through using domestic icons, colors,…)
Use a local suffix instead of a .com .eu etc one
On patriotic days, boost your online marketing efforts and increase your ‘domesticity’.
Further reading on Domestic Country Bias:
Verlegh, Steenkamp, Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 20, Issue 5, October (1999), Pages 521–546, “A review and meta-analysis of country-of-origin research”
Bart is the author of the Wheel of Persuasion, and a well-known consumer psychologist. He operates at the forefront of large-scale digital experimentation. Bart co-founded the companies Online Dialogue (best CRO agency of the world 2020), TeamCROco (a distributed digital experimentation agency), and Ulaya (a European Safari agency). Moreover, Bart is chair of the Social & Economic Psychology section (SEP) within the Dutch Institute for Psychologists.
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