The decision-making strategies employed by the human mind are complex, but some researchers, such as Cialdini, identified key shortcuts that influence them. Consequently, numerous studies demonstrated that companies actively employ Cialdini persuasion shortcuts even within the digital environment. One of the studies by Zakharova (2020) found that in the sector of tourism, specifically on the websites of “Karpaty” and “Solva” resorts, elements of social proof are present. The importance of social proof lies in people’s tendency to imitate others in case of uncertainty. The evidence of successful practice encourages users to repeat the same actions and establishes a certain level of trust (Cialdini, 2009). The two businesses try to increase the trust factor of the customers by providing photos featuring experienced staff and satisfied customers (Zakharova, 2020). Visual representation of participants wearing doctor’s uniforms acts as an essential component for enhancing confidence and as social proof for the customers (Zakharova, 2020). Moreover, social proof increases the purchase intention of the customers exposed to online advertisements with popularity claims (Fenko et al., 2017). These findings point to the companies’ conviction on the effectiveness of social proof techniques in attracting customers.
Nevertheless, it is not the only method of attracting the customer. The research by Roethke et al. (2020) analyzed the effect of reciprocity on online registration rates. It identified that design mechanisms employing similar social tactics improve user onboarding experiences (Roethke et al., 2020). Reciprocity allows individuals to comply with specific requests given that they received a concession or a present (Roethke et al., 2020). The study identified that monetary-based and utility-based reciprocities substantially increased the number of sign-ups (Roethke et al., 2020). This fact demonstrates numerous practical implementations in marketing and advertising for the retail industry and beyond.
At the same time, some studies found that combinations of these social practices could intensify their effect. This way, separately, social proof and scarcity elevate the product value and purchase intention (Fenko et al., 2017). In combination, the two techniques result in the emergence of time pressure which intensifies the customer’s perception of the product’s value (Fenko et al., 2017). In marketing practices, scarcity is seen in the implementation of phrases such as “limited release” or “limited time only” (Fenko et al., 2017). According to Fenko et al. (2017), the scarcity messages can communicate to consumers that they need to buy a product quickly before it gets sold out. In summary, Cialdini’s shortcuts to persuasion are actively employed in various businesses to attract customers, increase product value, and purchase intentions.
Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. HarperColins e-books.
Fenko, A., Keizer, T., & Pruyn, A. (2017). Do social proof and scarcity work in the online context?. In 16th International Conferences on Research in Advertising (ICORIA 2017).
Roethke, K., Klumpe, J., Adam, M., & Benlian, A. (2020). Social influence tactics in e-commerce onboarding: The role of social proof and reciprocity in affecting user registrations. Decision Support Systems, 131, 113268. Web.
Zakharova, G. (2020). Search for persuasive strategies in tourism advertising discourse. Journal of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, 7(3), 7–18. Web.