Philipp, Jakob, Aamina, Octavia, Sofia — King’s Business School, King’s College London
In this talk, UG students from King’s College London will speak about choice architecture, and how it can be leveraged to increase online sales. As part of a marketing module they were tasked to alter the layout of a virtual shop in a way that would nudge participants towards a select product. Using Gorilla’s Shop Builder the students were able to put their design to the test, achieving incredible results.
Octavia Skivington 0:00
Perfect. Thank you, Jo. So hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. And of course, thank you, Joe for inviting us. So just a little short introduction. My name is Octavia and alongside my classmates Sofia, Jakob, Aamina, and Philipp we’re all final year undergrad students at King’s College London. And we were lucky enough to take Gillian’s module this past academic year. So as you already very nicely explained, it was entitled influencing consumers. And this whole module explored how applied psychological theory can be implemented in the digital marketing world. So actually, it was thanks to Gillian’s collaboration with Gorilla shop builder, we were able to put this academic theory that we’ve learned in the module into real life practice.
So through the shop builder itself, we were able to achieve these real life exciting results. So, through this presentation, we wish to share just a little bit of an insight into the brief we were given by Gillian as you saw previously, and you know, the different routes that we as a group decided to take and you know, how our own experiment ended up going. So we’d like to round off our presentation at the end by finally reflecting on our own little journey and explore the valuable takeaways, we’ve had this fascinating opportunity. So without further ado, I’d like to start off by handing over to Sofia, who’s going to go through the brief and kind of give a little bit of a background, a little bit more info about the project itself.
Sofia Rebelo 1:25
Thank you, Octavia. So as Julian already briefly explained, but now, we’re kind of giving you our perspective as the students doing the actual assignment. So initially, for the as a group assignment for Gillian’s class influencing consumers, we were initially presented with a virtual shop, which contained 30 products all price between 50 and 100 pounds. So our task, as Gillian explained, was to select one of these products and alter the shop in a way that would nudge participants towards purchasing it as a birthday present for the fictitious character, Sophie, which you can see her description in the bottom right corner.
So our altered shop would then be sent out to participants. And in the end, as we will go further into, it would be benchmarked against the control shop where no interventions had been applied. So these interventions were applied both to the shop itself and to the path that participants took, as you will see, later, my colleagues will explain it better. So actually, the true aim of this assignment was not just to play around the shop, although that was very fun. It was to apply the psychological theories that we have learned in class, and not just in Gillian’s class. But also, you know, we applied so many other things that we learned in different subjects in an industry relevant manner, and with real consumers at stake. So this was really the most interesting part of this assignment was, it was so different from the traditional format that we had experienced in other classes, and before at Kings. So this really differentiated the module from others. And it was really interesting to then compare the effectiveness of the nudges to an actual control shop. So it really gave us real life insight into how these theories are actually applied. So okay, without further ado, let’s see how we actually approached it. Because I think without actually seeing what we did, it’s hard to understand.
Jakob Maise 3:42
Yeah, thank you so much, Sofia. So we approach the task in a very strategic manner. We were implement as many nudges as possible, which ultimately led us to select the Miss Dior perfume, as Gillian already mentioned. So our assumption was that the product high consumer awareness, will would allow us to tap into already established social networks. So in other words, we assume that a majority of our participants are already familiar with the Miss Dior perfume, and had already learned to associate the product with for example, vibrant colours, floral scents, or even with the campaign’s face Natalie Portman. And our hunch was that by subconsciously activating these associative networks, we’d be able to nudge participants towards making a purchase of our product.
So following this train of thought, we distributed such nudges throughout three sequential steps in our experiment, namely a blog, a social media task, and a virtual shop. So let’s consider each in turn and walk through the sort of things that our participants were exposed to throughout the experiment. So let’s start off with the blog. The main aim of the blog was to prime participants in favour of our product. We really felt that this format would not only allow us to insert persuasion tactics in a very native manner, but it would also enable us to connect in an authentic way with our participants, so it was a great way to start the experiment and connect with the people behind the screen. And in our blog, we chose to speak through the voice of a fictional influencer by the name of Regina George, who talks to her followers about her own 21st birthday and ranks her three favourite gifts. And the reasoning behind this was that by using an opinion leader, we’d be able to make use of Cialdini’s weapons of influence, and mainly authority, social proof and liking.
For example, if we think about authority, the influencers following allows her to benefit from a sort of social status in the eyes of the participant, which makes them more likely to accept her directions. And in a similar way, given that Regina’s age and gender align with Sophie’s, Regina is likely to act as social proof which makes her positive approval of certain gifts all the more valuable. So in a way she almost testifies to the validity of certain gifts. And arguably, our influencers name which is a reference to the popular movie Mean Girls, I’m not sure how familiar you are with the 2000s movie, but also a very colloquial and engaging tone makes her very likeable to participants. So, which also according to shall be needs stimulates further compliance.
So as you may have noticed, Regina had a great persuasive power. So given this power, it was all the more important that we select the right products. So in other words, products that would prime participants in favour of our product of the Miss Dior perfume and narrow their consideration sets down to beauty items. But obviously, there was always the potential for persuasion resistance, so we had to be really careful not to display items that are too directly associated with the perfume. So in the end, we settled on a scented wave spray, a floral print scarf and a Chanel lipstick, which you can see on the screen. Just for a little bit of context, for example, the scented wave spray, we selected to activate participants receptiveness towards scented items or perfumed items. While the floral print scarf was chosen to resemble Natalie Portman’s iconic look for the misty your campaign as Amina will show you on the next slide, and also kind of mirror the overall floral aesthetic of the entire campaign. And finally, the Chanel lipstick was chosen to nudge participants towards high end beauty items, such as ad or perfume.
But again, we had to be very careful not to be too obvious so as not to awake persuasion resistance. So we really made it our mission to be as subtle as possible. But there was another benefit towards you know, selecting this sort of format, having Regina’s favourite product listed in the format that they were also was an opportunity to make use of the anchoring heuristic. So all three items that we’ve chose, were strategically priced under 100 pounds, through which we hope to eliminate products whose prices deviated significantly later in the shop. And by pricing these three items at 39, 49 and 79 pounds respectively. They also provided the perfect reference prices for our perfume, which we sold at 59 pounds. So it’s right in the middle of these prices and also ends in a nine, which is you know, kind of what the anchoring heuristic hints at that this would make it easier for them to select our perfume. But that’s all in terms of the blog. Without further ado, let me hand over to Aamina who will take you through the next stage of the experiment.
Aamina Chaudry 8:28
Thank you so much, Jacob. So next, our participants were instructed to complete a social media task, where they were shown a series of images and they had to navigate through them. Our main aim with the social media task was to prime users into really focusing on their sense of smell, so that once they entered our shop, they would be kind of subconsciously looking more at the scented products, including our perfume. So we used images of lavender apple blossoms as well as a cinnamon latte. And these were added to draw parallels to the perfume which embodies floral design in both its product description and its actual design.
And we also decided to depict images of luxury fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni, as you can see on the bottom left, and Natalie Portman, who’s Diors brand ambassador on the right. So Portman’s picture is actually taken from the Miss Dior campaign, and we wanted to make sure that image was unbranded, but we still hope to activate some associative networks surrounding this perfume. And then that using the image of Ferragni both primes the users of the thinking of luxury beauty as she’s a luxury blogger. And it also allowed us to subtly incorporate a Miss Dior product being her bag, but without once again, putting our perfume. And yeah, we wanted to further activate associative networks surrounding the art and we also felt that Ferragni is endorsement of the brand additionally provided social proof and authority which testifies to the value of the the brand overall. And next Philip will show you what we did in our actual shop.
Philipp Korbler 10:07
Thank you Aamina. Finally our participants arrived at the online shop where the layout, the labels, descriptions and other elements collectively nudge them towards the perfume. The beauty section was set as a default landing page to capitalise on individuals inertia and to minimise the effort required to reach the desired product. Our priming towards floral fragrances continued as we rebranded the site’s banner and adapted its general colour scheme to match the feminine and sophisticated personality of the Miss Dior product. Here we drew on the psychology of colour to increase purchasing tensions. This redesigned theme is depicted in the top right image, and as you can see, we use flowers and a pastel pink colour theme. Various labels and discounts were also used to nudge visitors towards the fragrance and away from other product. For example, the selling fast labels strengthens social proof and created a sense of scarcity, while the Vogue favourite label enha- while the vote favourite label enhanced source credibility, generating positive perceptions regarding the quality and the value of the fragrance.
On the other hand, the clearance label paired with a discount sought to generate the opposite effect and decreased product desirability. Other labels strive to attain a similar effect. For example, the Men’s Health endorsed and great for mature skin labels were aimed at generating a mismatch between Sophie’s target market and that of competing products. These labels can be seen on the other image. Despite the above efforts, we knew that there was some inherent risk that participants would opt for an alternative product in the beauty category. For example, Michael Kors has gorgeous perfume which is depicted on the slide. Therefore, as a final element, we implemented a pop up prompting users with a potential swap. Here the salience of Miss Dior’s environmental benefit was increased. In addition, this also allowed for direct comparisons, making the fragrance stand out more as explained by the distinction. But yes, but how did all of our above efforts influence consumer choice. Sofia will now explore the quantifiable impact of our interventions?
Sofia Rebelo 12:26
Thank you guys. So now that everyone can understand a bit better, how the shop actually worked, and how the experiment was framed. The most exciting part, at least to me was looking at the results and the day that Jo announced that all of our groups have the results ready. So indeed, what we saw was that our efforts produced amazing results. And if this was a real life scenario, imagine what this could have been. So for example, comparing our shop which had all these nudges to the control shop, we achieved three times basket additions of the Miss Dior. In a real life environment, this would have been amazing, if you could increase your shop your basket editions by three times. So Oh, and even more importantly, the actual purchases went from seven out of 38 participants to 21 out of 41, which is more or less a 1/3 increase in purchases. And once again, this is an amazing thing to see. And it was really incredible for us to see that our nudges actually produced quantifiable effects.
So as Phillip just mentioned, there was always the risk that people would choose this other perfume, the Gorgeous!, as you can see here Eau de Parfurm. So it’s great for us that although we were really scared that we had applied all these nudges, pointing people towards scent and luxury, but still, we achieved zero purchases of this Gorgeous perfume through tactics such as applying the clearance label or the eco swap. And this is really amazing because arguably, our biggest competitor in the shop was actually the least well least purchased alongside other items, of course, but zero purchases of it. So yeah, this is really, really great that despite our efforts towards scent, we actually managed to nudge people not just towards our product, but away from our competitors, which is just everything that we need.
Octavia Skivington 14:51
So just around the fall presentation, I’m sure myself and my teammates could speak on behalf of them. You know, this was a truly invaluable experience, not only were we able to apply theoretical classroom learning to the real world of digital marketing, but we were also able to do this in an industry relevant manner, where we were able to utilise Gorilla’s functions to get a taste of what really goes on on a digital marketing platform. So I’m sure we definitely acquired some transferable skills that we can apply to other such similar platforms such as Shopify or Wix, I’m sure some of you know them.
This collaboration was also practical and super relevant to our degree. As Gillian mentioned, you know, it’s an exciting talking point to bring up in interviews, and it’s a real practical demonstration of, you know, our fundamental understanding of the digital marketing industry. So finally, you know, it was a refreshingly different additional component to any model we’ve ever taken at Kings over the past few years. And I think it’s because of this uniqueness, we were really eager to get involved, you know, and it was because of this, that we were, we were able to take so much more away from the experience and the module itself, you know, it’s incredibly exciting. And I’m sure we’ll all reflect on our uni years and remember this exciting module. So that’s all from us. Thank you for listening. If you have any questions, we’re happy to take them whether that’d be about, you know, anything that we talked about in, you know, experiment, or you know, anything about the experience itself. Thank you very much.
Jo Evershed 16:23
Thank you, Team Alpha, you were absolutely incredible. And I, you know, I’m sure I speak for everybody in the audience, if you were my third year students, I would be absolutely gobsmacked at the quality of the research that you’ve done today. People in the room, you know this, if you can write a message in the chat to say what you thought of the research that Team Alpha have done. I thought what they did was extraordinary how they have pulled together all these different psychological theories and implemented them within this shopping experience to test these behavioural nudges towards consumers. Gareth, can you turn your camera on too? I am woefully unqualified to ask Team Alpha, any questions at this point, because I’m not a consumer psychologist. So Gareth, I’m going to turn it over to you to ask the first questions to the team, because this is your bread and butter and your area of expertise.
Gareth Harvey 17:17
So firstly, with so many different sort of interventions available, how did you narrow it down? Or how did you prioritise which ones you’re going to start with?
Jakob Maise 17:28
So I think the good way to start any research project is you have to see what’s out there. So we really started by looking at, you know, the theories that we discussed in class with Gillian, you know, doing a lot of literature research, and just really kind of sieving through everything that we’ve seen. But really, it was a very, you know, creative process amongst us. So we really started by, you know, seeing which product do we want to nudge consumers towards? And then we really started applying what we thought was relevant. So for example, we started, you know, looking at, should we kind of prime users, you know, what, what kind of experimental things can we do. So, when we started settling on, you know, we want to do a blog, and we want to do social media task, it really all went from there. And we ended up kind of incorporating, you know, Cialdini’s principles of persuasion. Also, colour theory, and you know, things like whitespace. So it was really a very organic process, we didn’t go in, you know, knowing these are the things we want to incorporate. But it was really a step by step sequential process. And, as you might have noticed, everything kind of all are now just kind of linked, or built up on each other. So it was really a very sequential process.
Gareth Harvey 18:32
And with testing so many different ideas at the same time, which is great, because that’s how things work in the real world outside of academia. How if you had to try and work out how you how you could identify which ones have a greatest effect? How would you sort of try and do that as a next step? So if you’re generalising it to another cat- products, you could actually just focus on what was effective?
Jakob Maise 18:55
Yeah, I think that’s something that we also discussed, which was quite tricky about the project. So again, like our nudges were very interlinked, so they really built on one another, so it’s kind of hard to see which one was it that was the most effective. But I think if we were to kind of redo this, you know, knowing that it was effective in the end, who kind of like isolate certain variables and kind of try to, you know, maybe just do a blog, and then do the control shop, or just do the social media task or, you know, leave the two experiments or what you know, leave that whole section away, and just try or our nudges on the website itself. So really, the next step would be isolating each other certain valuables, but I think what made it so unique is that they built kind of on top of each other. And I think that was really interesting to see that they, you know, kind of the way that they interacted produced these results.
Gareth Harvey 19:44
No, I think it’s really cool, and it’s really nice to see it being tested, not the same. Oh, how much does a price change affect you? You’ve got it in a shop and you can actually see what really happens because, as we all know, the way people behave in a retail setting is completely different to how people think or how they claim they act.
Jo Evershed 20:03
Well, so we’ve only got one of the student groups here today, Julian had a class of 100 students. So there were about 20 groups of five students to offer nudge people towards Miss Dior, and got this 3x increase in sales, there was another team that nudge people towards Miss Dior, as well. And they did reasonably well. And then there were lots of other teams that picked different products. And we saw nudges towards those as well. So we know that this wasn’t just that. Luck. And if we were structuring it differently, again, we could do it so that there’s a cluster of students all nudging towards Miss Dior. And they all try different elements. So one group could just do the blog on one group to just do this and another group to do all but together so that we have a bit more of that. Where does the influence come from which bits of the of the funnel of all of the nudges were having the most influence? With that? I think we’re getting towards we’re getting towards the end of session. We do have some time for some more questions. Hang on a minute, I’m going to pull up the q&a. Bala Chanda asks, is it hard to control many factors while applying nudges in the wild? What kind of factors did you control? For example? Did you keep your social media interactions the same?
Jakob Maise 21:16
So kind of to answer the second part of your question in terms of the social media tasks, so it wasn’t a real social media feed kind of, it was just you had kind of a page of images where the user kind of navigated back and forward, and the only thing that they could do is, you know, press a like button or not. But really, this didn’t really matter to the outcome, because the only thing that mattered to us is that they were being exposed to these images in the first place. So it wasn’t kind of like a real social media feed, as you would imagine it you know, while scrolling through Instagram, it was really just an opportunity for us to prime users and to get them to do this sort of task before they enter our shop. Yeah, so I hope that answers part of your question.
Jo Evershed 21:57
Yeah, I think it definitely does. And but Yeah, can you speak to how do we how do shops work out all of their nudges in the world? How do they make sure that not just don’t cancel each other out?
Gareth Harvey 22:09
So typically, when we work with some of the larger brands that have stores, they may have 50 different versions of their website live at any one time. So we’re taking A/B testing to the next level. So when I was working with, let’s say, a travel retailer, I think we had about 70 different versions of the website live. And each time we just made one small tweak on it, see how it performed the next day, right? Let’s change that one, and make another change. So we are running so many different experiments simultaneously. And then once we think we know what works well, what happens when we combine two different nudges or two different interventions together because sometimes, two different interventions may work really well. When you combine them together, you get a negative reaction. So it’s starting to work out what happens when you start pulling multiple ones together, because, yeah, things don’t always work the way you’re expecting them to.