I blacked out. All I could remember was waking up in the garage and there were smiley faces everywhere staring back at me.
I don’t know. The last thing I remember is seeing a yellowish orangish button, a blue logo, and the word FREE Shipping. That’s all I could remember.
The next thing I know the doorbell rings and there is a package at the front door. I open the front door to a smile. My brain fires off in elation like it’s Christmas day. And that’s when it happened.
The next thing I remember is waking up in the garage. I get up off the ground and on my feet to find cardboard boxes and shipping envelopes everywhere. It looks as if a bomb went off.
How did I get here? Where did all this stuff come from? Why did I buy all this? Where am I going to put it?
Does this sound familiar?
Welcome to shopping on Amazon.com.
If I had told you twenty years ago, there would be an online invisible mall that was named after a river that would sell more than anyone, you would think I’m crazy. But it makes sense.
Amazon.com is an ever flowing river of product going out the door and revenue coming in. It never stops. It operates 24/7 and has mastered the art of e-commerce. The name could not be more fitting for this company.
Amazon Has Become a Drug for Some People
I truly believe that clicking the buy button on Amazon.com releases endorphins in the brain that create excitement for the individual doing the shopping. There is a satisfaction, a release in and of itself that takes place once that page pops up and says, “Thank You for Your Order”.
Now what? Go to the kitchen and grab a cookie? Crackers?
What happens when that item arrives and all the excitement is over?
We do it all over again as if we are drug addicts looking for that next fix. The sad part is we don’t even realize the psychology of Amazon and why were are purchasing so much stuff.
I think the author of the article linked above said it best.
Amazon seems to be the Terminator of eCommerce – they’re ever evolving, learning, and growing.
The author breaks down the psychology Amazon.com uses to get you to hit that buy button. Emotional triggers that have been proven to work through extensive a/b testing over a twenty-year period. If you are looking for an interesting read, have a look behind the curtain to see how you are being influenced while shopping without even realizing these tactics are taking place.
The Psychological Trigger of Free
The word “FREE” in all caps has an extreme psychological impact on humans today. There used to be a time when someone would say: “I don’t want anything for free, I want to earn it”. Now, you post something for free on Facebook and thousands of people show up.
What these people don’t realize is anytime something is offered for free, the “experience” is removed from the equation. Because free has no value, there is nothing to be offered in the way of good service or support.
With free also comes the exchange of something. This could be your phone number or email address. The next time you are checking you’re inbox with 1,100 emails, ask yourself, is free worth it?
There is not such a thing as free shipping. To ship a product, you have to have labor, fuel, time, logistics, tires, engines, boxes, tape, computers, and the list goes on. You are paying for that shipping somewhere.
Whether it be through the trigger of purchasing too much because you are offered this free shipping or the decay of your local community because all you seek is the cheapest product manufactured offshore with free shipping.
These large tech companies want to scream from the mountain tops how eco-friendly they are, while at the same time they are creating more waste than we have ever seen in history. Their sniper-like marketing tactics are causing people to purchase ten times what they actually need therefore creating extreme waste that eventually gets sent to thrift stores and ultimately to landfills.
If you don’t think we purchase too much, look at the number of storage sheds in your community. They are everywhere. Most are full of crap people can’t let go of because they spent their hard-earned money on these items. We even have reality shows on TV about storage sheds.
This tunnel vision is destroying our communities.
If You Don’t Want to Be Part of the Experiment, Then Don’t Buy on Amazon
Yes, I said it.
When you buy on Amazon.com, you are part of a large experiment. Amazon is always testing their website for conversion rates. They test all the time. If you purchase from Amazon.com, you most likely have been part of an a/b experiment without even knowing it.
Hell, when you buy anywhere online you are part of some type of A/B experiment. The internet is the perfect environment to track every move and decision you make. Every click. Every hover of your mouse. They can track it all. And with extreme accuracy.
Today we are a data-driven world. So much so people are getting degrees in data analytics, data science, and data mining. Years ago we were a relationship-driven world. There was a time when a handshake meant something. Those days have come to an end. You can thank lawyers, politicians, and corporate corruption for that one.
Paying More on Amazon.com
In the early days, it seemed as if Amazon.com always had the cheapest price on everything. Getting a “deal” or the “cheapest price” can be a drug in itself. Knowing that you saved money on something releases chemicals in the brain that create excitement. But, are you really saving money?
If you are buying something just because it’s a deal, or you scour the internet every day looking for deals, is not necessarily a good thing when you don’t need half the stuff you are purchasing. The thrill of the hunt eventually turns into you being the main subject on the TV show “Hoarders”.
Today, Amazon doesn’t always have the lowest price. We have become so trained to hit the buy now button when we see the Prime logo that we no longer shop prices. Prices on Amazon change every minute and most people don’t even realize it’s happening.
Frequently Bought Together
How often do you purchase additional products without even knowing it because Amazon told you these other products are “Frequently Bought Together” with the product you are looking at?
There is even a button that says, “Add All Three to Cart”. They make it so easy a caveman could do it. Sorry caveman.
Amazon did not invent “customer reviews”, but they sure as hell perfected them. Reviews on Amazon.com have become the ultimate silent salesman.
Many review websites will reference how many positive reviews a product has on Amazon.com. Why? Because they know how powerful the reference is.
Now, reviews on Amazon have not always been a good metric. There were some accusations in the past that some book reviews on Amazon were faked to sell more books. Whether this is true, I don’t think we will ever know. Books are very subjective, so opinions will flow freely depending on what your beliefs are.
Sending Someone to Amazon.com to Buy Your Book
It’s sad that everyone who writes a book will most likely link to Amazon.com from their website for that visitor to purchase their book. Yes, I know this is most likely an affiliate link, but Amazon.com becomes a middleman in the process of the book being sold. They take their cut.
I know why this is done. Because it converts like nothing else. I find it sad it has to be done this way. If a visitor has landed on your website, they should be able to purchase your book and have it shipped to them. But, that’s not the world we live in today. Shipping product is hard and expensive and Amazon has somehow figured out how to do it better than anyone. Now, whether FedEx or UPS likes dealing with Amazon, I don’t know. They could love them or hate them.
I would like to see more book stores pop up in local communities where you can walk in and build a relationship with a local person. This is something communities all over the world need more of. There is nothing like physically holding a nice book, especially a hardcover. It’s tangible, it’s analog, its real.
Do You Want to Apply Psychological Design to Your Website?
I don’t know, it feels sleazy. I would want someone to purchase something from me or click an ad because it was something they really needed. Not some sleight of hand subliminal persuasion.
The average household already buys way too much stuff. We have closets, garages, and now offsite storage sheds full to the brim. When you look back at all this stuff, you often get overwhelmed and never know how to get rid of it.
Ticking clocks at the top of websites showing a count-down timer convince people to purchase. Another trick in a long line of marketing tactics designed to get you to purchase now instead of when you actually need something. Wow, have times changed.
Try to Buy As Much Local as You Can
Go have a conversation with someone in your community. Walk into their bookstore and peruse their selection. If they don’t have something you want, they can most likely get it. Is it going to be cheaper than Amazon, probably not? But, put yourself in their shoes.
If you owned this bookstore, your prices would be higher than Amazon.com. Why? Because your business model is drastically different. And, you probably will not beat the last penny out of everyone who wants to sell a book in your store. All you want to do is provide a great place to talk about books. Provide that and most people will appreciate having you in their community and continue to buy from you.
Farmers markets are another great place to shop. The people making these goods are your neighbors, and they don’t have slick marketing teams to help them move their product at an accelerated rate. They are normal people who are usually making a product they are passionate about.
The next time you make a purchase, think about passion. Is the product you’re buying made by someone who is passionate about their trade or craft. The answer will most likely be no since our society has traded sweat off the brow of an artist or tradesman for sweatshops across the world.
If you can find the passion, fulfillment will take on a different meaning, and it won’t be from two day prime shipping from Amazon.com.