Ringo Moss is a digital strategist at Positive Bristol. He has ten years experience in digital experience design and digital content for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Disney, the BBC, Harper’s Bazaar and Telefonica. He loves hip-hop, cycling and good UX. He joined us at our Bristol event to talk about Behavioural Economics, and fun ways to influence users.

300 Seconds Bristol - Ringo Moss

Behavioural economics is the art and science of predicting the irrational in humans – using the irrational senses of humans to make them do what you want. Ringo talked through five examples of this is action.

We can make people do things by making them free. Studies show that changing the price to zero has a hug impact on consumer behaviour – even if given the choice of a better deal. Marketeers regularly take advantage of “the power of free”, offering Buy One Get One Free deals (rather than the less catchy “buy two and get a 50% discount).

Decoy options are regularly used in online checkouts, where poor deals are offered in order to make the preferred one look more attractive. Ringo told how, in a bid to boost sales of combined online and print subscription deals, the Economist introduced a poorer-value print only deal which made the combo package appear comparatively cheaper.

Irrational pricing is the way that pricing affects our perception of quality. This can be shown in taste tests on wine, in which people generally say the most expensive bottle is the best (even if the wine itself is identical). Amazingly, this can even have physiological effects – a study comparing prozac to a placebo found people felt less relaxed if they believed the drug to be cheaper than if it was more expensive.

Decision paralysis is the problems caused by two much choice. Standard economic theory suggests that more choice equals more sales, because it meets a broader set of customer demands. But comparing two stalls at a farmers market, the stall with just six choices of jam outsold that which offered 24, because the greater choice has a much higher cognitive load.

Attribute priming is the technique of influencing choice by asking the consumer about what they’re about to buy – for example, people buying computers could be nudged to buy one model or another by asking them about particular specs such as hard disk place or RAM.

Read more from Ringo on Twitter.

Photo credit: David Pearson