“We are easily influenced in which few product attributes we use to make a comparison”
When choosing between competing products, we find it hard to compare complex aspects. We even find it hard to use more than a few simple comparison attributes. Therefore we tend to base comparisons between competitors on just a couple of easily comparable criteria.
Being presented with a clear and specific set of attributes focuses our attention on these criteria, causing us to base our subsequent choices primarily on these criteria, ignoring other relevant ones.
Scientific research example:
Imagine you’re a student and you have to register for the classes. What would be the best way to choose between the 9 competing courses for the following semester?
Read and think about each piece of information about every course
Read the course descriptions and then think overall why you might want or not want to take every course
Read the course descriptions, but not think about them before choosing
As Wilson & Scooler (1991) proved, it’s best not to think about it. Since consciously thinking draws attention to ‘nonoptimal’ – though easily comparable – criteria.
Online Persuasion tips:
When you have absolutely the best offer in the marketplace:
Make sure your prospects learn about every aspect of your product and then emphasize that they should ‘follow their heart’ when choosing.
But when you don’t (which is mostly the case):
Find out which competitors and/or comparison sites your customers visit (pre-purchase)
Then find out on which ‘easily comparable attributes’ you win in these comparisons, and promote those easily comparable product attributes
Finally, emphasize that your prospects should make a deliberate and rational choice (which will make them choose based on the easily comparable attributes)
Imagine you produce jam. It’s not the best jam, but it’s the best ‘spreadable‘. And although hardly anyone chooses jam by how spreadable it is, you should promote it as the ‘best spreadable’ jam anyhow. Since when you bring ‘spreadability’ to people’s attention, they will start comparing all jams based on this aspect.
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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