Amazon Tricks to Spend You More on Shopping
Behavioral economics, psychology and an algorithm for personalized recommendations. These are the three keys that Amazon uses to make its ecommerce website one of the world’s biggest moneymakers.
However, in the background not everything is as innocent as it seems. The design, the layout of the website/app and each of the buttons and/or options are carefully placed to push the buyer to buy more and faster.
This guide provides with some of the main tricks Amazon is using to entice buyers. This will help buyers to shop wisely, more slowly and spend only on what is needed.
(1) Stock Indicator
Amazon clearly shows how many items of a given product are still in stock. This helps to increase the perceived value of the merchandise, appealing to the logic of “if there are few left, it’s good”.
However, this is a totally subjective reasoning and, moreover, buyers will probably be able to find the same product, or a very similar one, if they continue browsing through Amazon’s search engine.
On the one hand, the stock indicator is an exercise in transparency, however, it also pushes users to make an impulse purchase because, if there are few items left, the perceived value of the items increases.
One of the keys to selling a product on the Internet is to rush the customer. The faster and simpler the buying process, the more likely it is that the sale will be successful.
Conversely, if the buying process is slow, tedious or cumbersome, there is a greater chance that the buyer will think twice, back out or forget about it because they have been distracted by something else.
Amazon is a real expert at rushing. It achieves this with flash deals (those that have a countdown next to their price) and thanks to instant buy buttons.
In the traditional way, Amazon allowed putting items in the cart. Once in the cart, online buyer could review the products to make sure everything was in order. With the instant purchase button, all those steps disappear and only a simple confirmation is needed.
(3) 3 Pricing Options
The title of this heading appears between question marks and no, this is not a typo.
Discounts are one of the oldest commercial hooks in the world. However, Amazon is able to take them to another level. In addition to a category of “deals of the day” and “flash deals”, Amazon’s website has a curious way of displaying the price of products.
Instead of directly indicating the final price, Amazon’s website breaks it down into three categories. Recommended price (supposedly at the price it should sell for), Final price (what you are going to pay for a product) and “savings” (the difference between the two expressed both in euros and as a percentage).
Nowhere does it say that these products are actually discounted or subject to a discount. However, the customer has the perception that they are making a smart purchase and saving money by doing so.
In fact, it is common to find products that, almost perpetually, are sold at a price considerably lower than the “recommended price”.
The customization experience at Amazon is one of its keys to success. In this sense, one of the keys is that the search engine is tremendously complex and learns very quickly about the buyer and his/her tastes.
If you have never entered Amazon or enter from a computer or cell phone without cookies, without logging in, without browsing history and using a VPN (which after all is as if you were doing it for the first time), its website will only need buyer to do some scrolling and a few clicks to start showing a unique and personalized shopping experience (with some products). Doing this experiment from scratch, the difference in the online experience will be clearly visible i.e. Amazon will be different from one person to the other.
Those who have an Amazon account or recurrently use the page from the same terminal will see how the page will show them recurrently (and even in ads outside the Amazon website itself) the products they have clicked on and have been viewing for a longer time as a strategy to tempt them to buy them.
This function is useful for consumers because it helps them find products they might like. On the other hand, it helps us to make the occasional impulse purchase of something we don’t really need.
(5) Reviews and Ratings
When a product has a high score and many reviews, its algorithm places it in a prominent position on the page before a related search.
The presence of reviews and product ratings is another trick that the ecommerce giant uses as a hook and makes use of something as human as sharing experiences about things.
However, although Amazon is more reliable in this regard than Chinese ecommerce websites, reviews are far from being an exact science.
Some unscrupulous sellers use gimmicks such as paid reviews to increase the popularity of products and thus “hack” the website’s algorithm.
That is why, when planning to buy a product, pay attention to how many reviews and ratings it has, from which countries they are from and, above all, pay attention to the comments that have given a worse rating to the purchase you have been infatuated with.
I am Nikesh Mehta, owner and writer of this site.
I’m an analytics and digital marketing professional and also love writing on finance and technology industry during my spare time. I’ve done online course in Financial Markets and Investment Strategy from Indian School of Business. I can be reached at [email protected] or LinkedIn profile.