UIEtips: Part 2 – Playing Hard to Get – Using Scarcity to Influence Behavior

Jared Spool

November 3rd, 2010

One thing I love about my neighborhood grocery store is how they have a little demonstration area where they feature different food items each week. Often times they’ll cook the items up in a little, easy-to-make recipe that’s quite tasty. More often than not, I’ll end up buying whatever they’re demoing.

The grocer is definitely manipulating me, getting me to try, and subsequently buy, products I hadn’t otherwise intended to get. Yet I’m quite happy being the target of their manipulative practices. Plus it keeps me coming back to the market.

The food demo isn’t the only manipulative practice my grocery store uses. In fact, the store is a fully-stocked laboratory in persuasive psychology. All of those same techniques are things we can use online, and like the food demo, have our users love us for it.

This week’s UIEtips, Stephen Anderson concludes his two-part article on just one of the techniques we can use online: scarcity. The first part of the article had awesome examples of scarcity in action. (Didn’t see it? You’ll find part 1 here). In the second part, Stephen explains how scarcity works. I’m sure you’ll find it as fascinating as I did.

Read part 2 of Playing Hard to Get – Using Scarcity to Influence Behavior.

You can learn about many of the other techniques in Stephen’s upcoming UIE Virtual Seminar, Leveraging Seductive Interaction Design. During this Thursday’s 90-minute seminar, he’ll walk your team through some great examples of how you can open up your design’s value and functionality to your users. Don’t miss it.
Get the details on Stephen’s webinar.

What techniques for persuasion do you love about the sites you visit? What have you tried in your own designs? Share your thoughts below.

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