There's a science to selling things. We all know this. In fact, if there wasn't a trick to moving merchandise, I wouldn't have a job.
Marketing 101 tells us that making an appealing product isn't good enough if you want to make money as well. You need to twist the consumer's arm to complete the sale. But what about after the sale has already been made? How do you get people to come back and buy more? That of course depends a great deal on the product itself, but the overall psychology is the same: make the consumer want the product, and make them want more as quickly as possible. That's a basic principle of supply and demand. Sales is directly related to scarcity. In other words, if there aren't enough Tickle Me Elmo's to go around, I "need" one that much more.
I recently bought a box of Hershey's Whoppers®. You know... malted milk balls. I'm a sucker for Hershey's chocolate of any kind, so there's no real science involved in getting me to buy these things. The psychology comes into play in getting me to buy them again and again at an ever-increasing rate. You see, there are new customers which are always nice, but then there are recurring customers which are the bread and butter of almost every successful company on this planet.
I noticed that my malted milk balls didn't have one of those handy little punch tabs that we're all used to seeing on just about everything that comes in a box. You know, the little tab that lets you reclose your box of cereal in the morning. Accident? Mistake preparing the die cut for this particular batch of candy? I don't think so. You see, I've been in this business far too long to see something like a missing tab on a cardboard box as an annoyance like most consumers. I see experimentation. I see a meeting with professionals discussing whether or not this "oversight" will increase sales. I see a box of candy I can't close constantly taunting me to have just one more piece. "Come on," the box tells me. "One more Whopper won't kill ya!" I see a sudden stop in traffic causing all of my nice little chocolate companions to plummet to to their deaths on the floor of my truck.
The psychology behind this packaging is quite simple. Get rid of the candy faster. Sell more candy. It's a subtle "mistake" that's actually a subtle sales ploy... and it's pure genius.
I need to go buy some more Whoppers.
Visit the Whoppers site.