How to use psychology to sell

How to…use psychology to sell

July 17, 2018

Guestlogix vp of product & strategy Robin Hopper and decision scientist Gary Edwards explain how psychology can help increase your ancillary sales…

Give back control
Passengers often have no sense of control when they fly (a phenomenon known as ‘learned helplessness’) but giving them access to information on aspects of their journey helps. Apps that track baggage or give updated flight information reduce stress triggers and boost the opportunities to offer revenue earning services.

Focus on gains
Passengers are sensitive to losses versus gains so it’s important to present transactional choices as options reduce uncertainty and risk. For example potential ‘losses’ (long queues, baggage fees) can turn into gains (early boarding privileges, seat upgrades). A ‘luxury’ purchase becomes a worthwhile gain to a tired, frustrated or busy passenger. Push the relevant offer at the correct moment.

Show empathy
There are natural opportunities for airlines to show empathy and drive sales, but to do so they need flight applications that tie customer needs directly to crew solutions. Advanced analytics can help carriers understand passengers in context and deliver the right offers at these moments.

Nudge them
Nudging is a well-established, non-intrusive way of influencing consumer behaviour – small, non-financial rewards (‘nudges’) to entice them towards high-margin products. Airlines have ample opportunity to engage in mobile-based nudging and in the process they have a chance to reimagine how they do retail.

Promote the middle option
Use research on buying behaviour in your retail strategy. From baggage to packaged meal solutions you can drive buyers to your preferred options.

Use data science
Self-service tools empower passengers but won’t deliver revenues unless airlines listen, learn and act on what passenger data tells them and combine that with behavioural science. Predict and anticipate needs and solve those needs in real time by getting the right merchandise to the right customer at the right time. Airlines need powerful data science strategies combined with technology platforms. •

FACT FILE
• Last year, 3.8bn airline passengers spent an average of $15 each, taking total revenues to $57bn.
• When offered small, medium, or large, 80% of coffee drinkers choose the middle option.
• Robin Hopper and Gary Edwards PhD spoke at the Passenger Expereince Conference in Hamburg. Gary has 25+ years experience helping brands adapt selling strategies by analysing customer behaviours and buying patterns.