Packaging Business Memo




DATE: May 5, 2021

SUBJECT: Principles of Persuasion

Household items and lawn and garden equipment are among the fastest moving commodities in any e-commerce platform. They are also among the most competitively priced. Image 1 below shows an advertisement of an all-purpose sprayer. From the image, the ad currently uses Cialdini’s principle of social proof. Cialdini (75) observed that people usually follow the lead of similar others before making a decision. Therefore, businesses use peer power to persuade customers to purchase a product or service. In this ad, the business employ’s this principle by exploiting the human fear of missing out. By adding the phrase “Hurry! Only 4 left in stock”, the ad is trying to invoke the feeling of validation based on the actions or behavior of others. Social proof denotes the idea that individuals act based on what they observe from others (Cialdini 75). By employing the principle of social proof, the idea that only 4 items are left act as testimonials to a customer that others are buying the sprayer. It also preys on the natural fear of missing out.

To improve the ad, the principle of reciprocity can be applied. According to Cialdini (75), people always repay in kind and that it is human nature to feel obliged to repay a favor. In this principle, the ad could give free shipping and a lesson on how to use the product, including tutorials on how to connect it to different appliances and under what conditions. Free shipping and lessons on usage can be seen to be of value to the customer. Therefore, it is easy to create loyal consumers from such advertising.

The principle of liking is also applicable to the ad in terms of improving its persuasiveness to the consumer. Cialdini (74) assert that people are inclined to like those who like them and would prefer to be in the company of those that offer genuine praise. To show customers that the product relates to them, the ad could feature an image of a couple with their young child in their kitchen garden using the product. This would help to show similarity and an interaction with the target audience. Showing the product in use would help to create loyalty and faster sales.

Lastly, Cialdini (78) identify the principle of scarcity as an effective persuasion strategy because people tend to want more of what they have less of. When a consumer believes that the product is in short supply, they would want to buy more. Creating a perception that a product has limited availability is an effective marketing tactic that can benefit the ad above. For example, combining a limited time offer, a today’s price only tag, and the phrase “offer ends with this stock” would create a feeling of a limited stock and price. Scarcity could also be used using the phrase “you missed out on our last offer/stock” and introducing a new price offer. Consequently, the idea is to create a feeling of scarcity for the customer to see the need to buy the commodity with urgency.