Jan 6, 2015

How to create addiction and desire at the point of sale

Tech products are designed to be addictive. Users don’t get hooked by accident. Now you can use the same habit forming mechanism to get customers hooked to your brand.

Tech companies use a 4 step process: A TRIGGER (1) ... causing the customer to take ACTION (2) … sometimes resulting in an unexpected BONUS (3). The customer is asked to INVEST (4) a bit of work, which sets off another round through the cycle. This process causes a surge of oxytocin and dopamine, powerful substances that fuel our addictions.

This process is described in detail in Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal.


First, the process starts with triggers that invites the user to like your page and then get into the habit of giving their mobile number to the cashier. The most effective way is to offer discounts and promotions for Fan Club members. Just like supermarkets that offer discounts to people that have their loyalty cards scanned. Offer a basic Fan Club discount, then start converting your other promotions to make them only available to fans. Instead of giving promotions to everyone who walks in the door, you will get more likes and more word of mouth from your promotional budget. You can also try preferred seating, longer happy hours, and daily specials that only fans are entitled to.


Customers take action by giving their mobile number to the cashier. in exchange for a discount. Studies show that customers who receive discounts experience a surge of oxytocin, a hormone related to happiness and bonding. Now lets ramp this process up.


When you occasionally give an unexpected reward at the point of sale, the brain lights up just as if the customer had hit the jackpot. That’s dopamine. It’s what makes people pull the lever at the slot machine over and over again. You can give customers a surprise bonus at their 5th visit, for example, without telling them beforehand. Or give a surprise bonus to the 10th fan of the day.


For the final step, a check-in is automatically created on Facebook. This is a TRIGGER to get friends to also begin the habit building process. Friends may like or comment on the check-in, prompting the customer to also comment, causing investment in your brand to grow.

Follow this four step process to get people hooked and coming back for more.

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