Shopping and the Art of Desirability

With holiday sales revving up earlier every year, you're probably wondering the same thing everyone else is: how can I take advantage of the season to sell even more of my products?

Even when you have a great product and a solid marketing campaign, it can be tough to compete during a time when the world's consumers are faced with more options, are under more stress to choose well, and have less time to pick out the best gifts. Quality will only get you so far, especially if you're at the helm of a lesser known brand selling lesser known products.

You need some extra tactics to help you stand out. Let's look look at some basic principles of persuasion and desirability that can make the products on your website look more appealing.

I'll Give In So You Do, Too

First up, the principle of concession, which basically is what happens when one person in a negotiation meets the other halfway.

A sales person, for example, might set a high price on an item at first, and then come down on it a bit in the interest of hooking the customer. The customer then feels like the salesperson has made a concession, which taps into the customer's sense of mutual obligation. The sales person reduces the price, in other words, and the customer's will power is reduced right along with it.​


To apply this concession theory, create your own product markdown incentive in your online store. In the Editor, you can do this by editing your product details and entering a new, lowered price in the "Sale Price" field.

Hurry Up!

Next is the principle of exclusivity. This is the idea that people feel more attracted to a situation in which they are among the select few who get to experience it. A party invitation means more when you know the guest list is short. Membership in a group is more enticing when you know the group puts strict limits on who gets invited. Not everyone gets the special black credit card, so when you get pre-approved, odds are, you're going to jump in.

Disney used to execute on this idea to extreme success. Rather than offer up its entire catalogue of movies, it would release sale copies of each movie for just a short time once every seven years. If you ever went to a video store during one these sales periods, you know how much the demand for a movie had been driven up by this artificial sales constraint.

This limited release created a massive demand that kept the Disney name in every holiday sales conversation by every family in America.

You can do a similar thing on your site with the Business plan. Just pop over to the Coupons Editor and set up a coupon that lasts for a short time — one day, for example — and then place the promotion all over your website and any other marketing materials you have.


Someone Swears By This

Finally, try tapping into the principle of authority. Here's how it works:

When a product's reviewer is either an expert on a subject, well known for some other reason or is considered a trustworthy critic, everyone else in the world tends to trust the product more than one without a similar review. This is how Oprah drives her book-of-the-month picks to bestseller lists. She's in a position of influence, and a whole lot of people trust her opinion. The mere mention of a title she likes can mean millions of dollars for publishers. Likewise, a positive review from “Car and Driver" magazine can generate a great deal of revenue for automotive manufacturers.

On your own website, go to the "short description" field in the Products Editor and add a testimonial by someone well-known who has purchased one of your products and said something positive about it.

Of course, the hard part is getting someone well-known to say such a thing, but that's a different subject. You can also work to get testimonials from your best customers. Send an email or reach out on social to any customer that you’ve had a personal interaction with in the past and see if they’d be interested in supplying a short testimonial for your business.

What type of principles do you use to promote activity on your website? Share your tips and experience with us in the comments!