I’m sure you’ve seen this message (or something similar) on the bottom of a website when you’re shopping for clothes or a trip: “3 left at this price!” It’s a classic example of a nudge, one designed to get a consumer to make a purchase quickly.

But what exactly is a nudge? Why have startup brands adopted the use of nudges? And how does the growth of digital brands and products change our understanding of nudges?

How do you nudge your customer closer to a sale?

The concept of the nudge was made popular by a 2008 book called “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” written by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein.

In the book, Thaler and Sunstein define a nudge as “any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.”

Because human beings are fundamentally irrational and make illogical decisions, they’re susceptible to nudging, or influence, which oftentimes play on our psychological biases and preferences to incentivize a desired action.

While the average consumer may have seen examples of digital nudges across the web, like “3 left at this price” or “55 people are looking at this right now,” brands have been using nudges in the analog world for a while.

A classic example of this are retailers that offer a “Buy One Get One Free” deal.

According to behavioral economics researcher, Dan Ariely, shoppers generally overvalue the benefits of “free” even when compared to higher-quality items at a discounted price.

In his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” Dr. Robert Cialdini talks about restaurants offering mints at the time of billing. He found that a mint increases the tip a customer leaves by 3 percent. If two mints are offered, this is then quadrupled to 14 percent.

This is the psychology of reciprocation at work.

Its agent? A simple nudge in the form of mint.

Grocery stores are notorious for leveraging a bevy of psychological influences. Fresh and appealing-looking produce is always placed at the front of the store to give customers a boost.

Placing the most expensive items at eye level relies on the principle of “default” and “anchoring” to get consumers to buy the first option they see, as opposed to the cheaper, literally bottom-shelf alternatives found below.

How nudges work in the digital space

But as consumer spending shifts online, brands are beginning to rethink the ways they nudge consumers through digital mediums.

Specifically, as consumers spend time on desktop computers, mobile devices and the mobile apps contained within them, brands have been forced to reimagine nudging within the confines of a digital screen.

Some brands have done this by simply transposing older versions of nudges into a digital format.

For example, Airbnb or Priceline often show a message that says “3 left at this price,” introducing a semblance of scarcity to perishable inventory, whether that be rooms or airline tickets.

While transposing analog versions of nudges into a digital format might make sense for “traditional” retailers or products, other, more sophisticated brands have adopted other ways to nudge users in order to solve unique business challenges.

One of the biggest issues that digital nudges address is user-drops.

It is reported that an average app loses 77 percent of its daily active users within three days of app installation. Within a month, that drop-off percentage is at 90 percent. Even if an app is able to retain a new user, the user might use the app only sparingly.

According to ComScore, smartphone users spend 50 percent of their time in one app and 97 percent in their top 10 apps.

Thus, entrepreneurs have a strong incentive to nudge users to get “hooked” on their app from the start, quickly becoming a habitual user.

Duolingo, a language education app, experienced high user drop-offs during its onboarding phase, when the company attempted to collect information about the user, such as name, age and location.

To solve the user drop-off problem, they tested a “soft wall” onboarding, which provided users with an optional sign-up but allowed them to keep using the app without requiring them to provide information.

By simply removing the ask for information later on down the onboarding “funnel,” Duolingo increased its daily active users by 8.2 percent.

The company also leveraged the behavioral science principle of loss aversion by introducing a “streak” counter, which counted the consecutive number of days that a user interacted with the app.

Duolingo hypothesized that notifying a user of their potential “loss,” aka losing their streak of consistent interaction, would get the user to return to the app. After a few tests, Duolingo found that 23.4 hours from an app session is the sweet spot, to nudge users about their streak, which ultimately boosted daily active users by 5 percent.

Conclusion

While delivering and deploying nudges might seem like a certain way to boost user and customer engagement and revenue, consumers themselves are becoming wary of nudges.

In a controlled test, Behavioral Scientist polled a nationally representative sample of 2,102 individuals and showed them a series of nine real-world scarcity and social proof claims made by an unnamed hotel booking website.

Two thirds of those polled (65 percent) interpreted examples of scarcity and social proof claims used by hotel booking websites as sales pressure. Half said they were likely to distrust the company as a result of seeing them (49 percent). Just one in six (16 percent) said they believed the claims.

Unfortunately, simplistic nudges (i.e. “three left at this price!”) have oversaturated the market and just aren’t as effective with consumers anymore. It’s up to you to think more critically in order to incentivize the desired action among your audience. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to create, customize and deploy more subtle and intuitive nudges to incentivize your customers to take action.

Whether you like it or not, the way you look plays a role in your success in the modern workplace.

“The problem with appearance is that it translates to performance,” says Nicole Williams, a career expert at LinkedIn. “Even if your boss doesn’t think that they’re thinking any less of you, they will subconsciously think it.

“When you don’t fit in, you’re not as accepted and welcomed.”

And at some point, this could hurt your chances of getting a promotion.

In today’s workplace, where casual wear is becoming increasingly popular, it can be tricky to understand the rules of appearance. We talked to career and etiquette experts to get a better idea.

Below are 20 rules every professional should follow:

  • GENERAL TIPS

1. Understand what’s appropriate in your industry

“Everyone draws their lines differently,” says etiquette coach Barbara Pachter. “For example, you may be able to wear shorts, but not cut-offs. If your company has a dress code, follow it.”

2. Make sure your clothes fit

It may sound obvious, but many get it wrong. “If your clothes are too big or too small, they are not going to look good. Ensuring a proper fit applies to everything you are wearing,” says Pachter. “One interviewer said he was distracted by a man’s short tie.”

3. Wear glasses that fit

Make sure your glasses fit properly and aren’t sliding down your nose. You don’t want to be playing with them all the time, says Pachter. “This becomes distracting.”

4. Dry your hair

Never leave your house with wet hair, warns Williams. It makes you look like you don’t have your life together, which translates to not having your career together.

5. Pay attention to your bag

You don’t want your personal things jutting out of your purse or briefcase. Keep your bag clean on the inside, especially if it doesn’t have a zipper, which allows others to catch a glimpse inside from time to time. Williams also advises professionals not to wear knapsacks because it looks “too collegiate”.

6. Don’t wear strong perfume or cologne

“Anything that anyone else can smell is not good,” says Williams. To get an idea of whether someone can smell you or not, ask someone you trust.

7. Wear well-kept, polished shoes

“One recruiter told me the first thing he notices about a candidate is his or her shoes,” says Pachter. “Make sure your shoes are polished and in good condition.”

8. Pay attention to your watch

“When I ask the participants in my etiquette classes to name the one accessory that they notice most on both men and women, the watch is the most common answer,” Pachter says.

9. Wear rich colours to portray authority

“Pay attention to your colour choices,” Pachter says. “Darker colours usually convey a stronger impression than lighter ones.” If you’re giving a presentation, make sure the colour you’re wearing doesn’t blend in with the background behind you.

10. Avoid neon colours and overly flashy clothes

“Both men and women have to be cautious with bright colours,” Patcher says. Clothes that are too flashy can be distracting and the visual equivalent of shouting.

  • FOR WOMEN

11. Don’t be too sexy

Not only is wearing inappropriate clothing distracting, it can also give off an inaccurate impression. Avoid too-short hemlines, too-tall heels, plunging necklines, and exposed under garments. “A lot of women are oversexualized in the office,” says Williams. “You can wear a V-neck shirt, but make sure you keep your legs covered. People end up discrediting themselves by looking too provocative.” Pachter agrees: “What do you want to be remembered for? What you wore or what you said?”

12. Wearing nude pantyhose is hip

Ever since Kate Middleton started wearing pantyhose in public, it quickly became stylish again. “It gives you a more finished look,” Pachter says.

13. Get regular pedicures

Williams tells us one of her biggest pet peeves is when women wear open-toed shoes without getting pedicures. “If you’re going to show your toes, make sure your toes are well-groomed,” she says.

14. Don’t over-accessorise

Accessories are meant to complement your outfit, not overpower it. “I once met a woman who had a ring on every finger,” Pachter says. “You couldn’t look at anything else.”

15. Your jewellery shouldn’t make noise

It’s really distracting when someone’s dangly bangles make noises when they move their arms, says Williams.

  • FOR MEN

16. Avoid ankle socks with slacks

When you cross your legs and the pants slightly lift up, no skin should be showing, says Pachter. Your socks need to be an appropriate length.

17. Facial hair shouldn’t overwhelm your face

No matter how much you want to grow a full, bushy beard, it just might not work for you. Think about it like a haircut — not every cut is going to look good on every person, says Adam P. Causgrove, CEO of The American Moustache Institute. How do you know what style will look good on you? Determine what kind of face shape and features you have. Then find others with similar features who are already sporting moustaches and beards, and experiment with their cut and style.

18. Grow facial hair on a weekend or vacation

You want to look like you’ve grown hair on purpose instead of just being lazy and not shaving, says Causgrove. Williams advises using a weekend or vacation time to grow beards out, because “spotty beards make men look like 18-year-olds.”

19. Trim your beard

Facial hair needs to be kept trim and tidy to maintain a professional look. Causgrove advises doing some research on the proper device. Electric razors can be good for short, trimmed beards, and scissors are better for moustaches, he says.

20. A goatee is rarely a good idea

Any hair that’s under your lower lip that isn’t a beard is not a good idea, says Pachter. “Do you want to be the only person [with it]? It may work for you, it may work against you, but you need to make that decision for yourself,” she warns.

If you want to shine in your role, take a look at the training courses we offer at Bingo Traders. Designed specifically for EAs, PAs, Admins, Office Managers,… , these learning opportunities provide the skills and knowledge you’ll need to excel. 

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