- Using the Power of Influence in M-Commerce
- The MUST HAVE List of Features for B2B M-Commerce
- Is M-Commerce Just an Extension of E-Commerce?
- 4 Paths to Focus on in M-Commerce
- Will M-Commerce Revolutionize Our Lives?
- Direct Sales and M-Commerce–A Perfect Mix
- Personal Predictions for M-Commerce
- Will M-Commerce Affect Traditional Retail?
Everyone is affected by influence. We use influence techniques in our everyday lives and don’t even notice. In order to be effective in the market today, you have to understand how influence drives consumer behavior in order to attract not just consumers, but loyal consumers.
In this article, we’ll rely on the well-known book, Influence (by Robert B. Cialdini), for its model of specific influences. For each influence technique, we’ll talk about how it can affect consumer behavior in an m-commerce context.
With this bias, a person tends to follow orders from someone they consider to be in an authority position.
To use this bias in an effective way, an m-commerce system has to provide a knowledgeable and trustworthy image. If the application is successful in doing so, it is easier to convince the consumer to follow its requests and options. People are used to trusting machines and electronics; however, there are some tricks to improving on this natural authority.
First, the application can show consumers that it is “thinking” or searching from a database. This is important because it provides a sense of work and intensity. As humans, we tend to humanize objects (like saying that a machine is “thinking”). Even if the system is able to give a response instantly, it is always good to show that it is thinking for even a few seconds. This is the same technique used in movies in which big computers make noises with lights on everywhere.
The second technique is based on information authority. In this technique, every time the app gives a suggestion it has to come with explanations. For example: “This suggestion was offered to you because of your product purchase of XX on day XX”. This technique increases the sense of authority and thus authority bias, because it shows a basis for the action in some kind of knowledge.
With this bias, someone gives you something and this action creates a force that makes you want to give something back (such as, the free samples in the supermarket).
To use this bias in an effective way, the system has to understand the right time to give a gift or important information. Much of the time, the system doesn’t even have to give something tangible like a gift. In fact it is often really useful if you use a cross-marketing coupon such as: “Because you bought the product XXX, you win the right to buy the product YYY with a 50% discount”.
With this bias, something is valued more because it is perceived to be rarer. For example, as a seller of a product, you might make it sound like you are running out of product inventory when you are not.
This bias can be successfully used in mobile commerce with coupons and promotions to induce a perception of scarcity. That could mean including a limited time offer and advertising something like “the first 100 that answer this message will gain 40% extra discount.” This approach will not only make consumers buy the product faster with less questioning, but will also give the consumer a good feeling at the moment of purchase with the sense of being a chosen one, creating a win-win situation.
With this bias, we behave in ways that increase our feeling of being part of a group by following the patterns of that group. It tends to be intensified with the networking effect or when there is participation by an authority figure.
In m-commerce, this bias can happen when a large number of people start using the same application creating pressure for others to enter also. (You don’t want to be the only one left out.)
To take advantage of this bias, an m-commerce system has to create convincing promotions for people to call and interact with others such as: “Call 10 friends and ask them to subscribe and you will gain a second product for free.”
With this bias, we tend to listen to and be more connected with people that we like (or empathize with).
M-commerce can use this bias particularly through the creation of a networking effect due to the increasing role of mobile devices in our lives. Consumers tend to trust their mobile devices more and have a special connection with the devices, a feeling that can increase the likability of software accessed through these devices. This process causes an increase in the influence of the system over the consumer.
This is the bias that occurs when people feel that they have to be consistent with a previous commitment or self-image of themselves. For example, asking questions or filling out a survey to get initial agreement from others can often lead to future agreement.
M-commerce can use the consistency method by asking questions to consumers about their preferences. At the end of the questionnaire, a consumer would be offered a suggestion that becomes too hard to turn down because this suggestion was created by the consumer’s own information. People in general have a tendency to accept options if they feel some connection to the idea of the option.
M-commerce has a great power to influence people’s behavior. Those companies that really understand the tools to put this into practice are the ones that will dominate this channel.