How the internet makes us buy more

You did not notice for yourself that being on the siteany online store with the clear goal of buying a particular product, did you eventually acquire not only it, but also an extra bunch of junk that you absolutely did not need? I admit, honestly, it happened to me several times. It turns out that this is quite understandable from the point of view of science. Scientists from Princeton University (USA) have published the results of a new study, which describes how online shopping, using various tricks, make us spend more money on purchases, which we may not even need.

What are dark patterns?

A bit of terminology. Among online stores, so-called “dark patterns” are often used - the design elements of a store that a customer sees, whose task is reduced to a single goal - to make us do what we normally would not. Agree, the temptation to buy a particular product, and even "at a discount of 50 percent" in the last 5 minutes on the timer, sent to your eyes, becomes slightly higher. This is one of the examples of these “dark patterns”.

The researchers decided to dig deeper andanalyzed more than 10,000 different online stores (there are many more in the world). It turned out that more than 1,200 stores from the sample use similar tricks to force a potential buyer to buy goods or at least spend more time on their website.

Why do people buy goods online?

As a rule, the main means of manipulationman serves as a provocative text. For example, instead of the “cancel order” button, the same online grocery stores often write something like “no, thank you, I don't like tasty food”.

In total, the study found 15the ways in which online stores manipulate and force people to part with their money. For example, some people in a variety of ways make it difficult for a person to refuse to buy, others try to force people to shame when they decide to leave the store (“oh, you don’t want an iPhone, what do your friends say?”). Another quite popular method is the “fake” (not real) buyers, who comment and praise this or that product, thereby increasing interest in it from real people. All this puts a lot of pressure on our subconscious, which quietly begins to whisper to us: “can it still buy?”. All you are on the hook. The effect is achieved.

Researchers also found that manyonline stores are turning to special firms that are developing less intrusive and at the same time more efficient persuasion methods. Many of them are not shy about advertising themselves in the open.

Interviewed colleagues "on the shop." Opinions, as it turned out, were divided.

"I often notice how Facebook and Instagram withusing “retargeting” (the advertising mechanism by which online advertising is sent to those users who have already viewed the advertised product — explained in red) determine which stores I go to and buy. Often due to this indulge in various goods at a discount. Moreover, many products are offered precisely those that really want to buy. Sometimes the hand stretches and presses. Sometimes I click and buy. It’s hard to disagree with the fact that this mechanism works very efficiently today, ”Renat Grishin, editor-in-chief of website.

“I can carry myself to dinosaurs online shopping. Began to use online stores since the early 2000s. The brain has already adapted to all these tricks and is completely unresponsive to them. They have the opposite effect on me. If the store uses such tricks, I will pass by and buy in another place. If they show me: “3 more people are viewing this product,” “1 copy remained with a 30% discount,” and so on - I close the site.

At the moment, it is not entirely clear what newtricks are used by very large and reputable companies, like Amazon or Yandex. What data about us is collected and how it is used, for example, in sorting out product offers and markups. For example, for the same person from the USA, online car rental in France will cost less than for an Italian resident, ”- founder of, Mikhail Korolev.

Which of all this can be concluded? The only advice here can only be - be more vigilant and do not let yourself be fooled.

Interesting to read: The Industrial Revolution 4.0: How the Internet of Things is changing business and how to stay afloat

Subscribe to our Yandex. Dzen. There you are waiting for materials that do not fall on the main site.