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Have we been tricked into mobile shopping?


If you’ve ever spotted someone walking around Tesco in their dressing gown, you can be forgiven for raising an eyebrow or two. Having said that, even if they shouldn’t have stepped foot outside, seeing them shopping in their pyjamas will no doubt make you want to be curled up at home in yours.

These days, we don’t have to leave the house to buy things. At the click of a button, we can get groceries, clothes, even a full meal from a restaurant brought straight to our doors. It’s never been easier.

Indeed, in 2015 , UK retailers brought in over £24billion in sales over the Christmas period, half of which came from mobile devices. Buying anything you ever wanted is simple, which is why impulse buying accounts for over £21billion of UK sales .

Online retailers such as Amazon and River Island have adopted a method called “Dark Patterns”, which is basically designed to trick the customer into buying more.

The mobile user interfaces are crafted to draw the eyes to the sales areas of the page, such as ‘buy now’, ‘sign up’ and ‘one day delivery’. Bright colours usually surround these calls-to-action so shoppers are more likely to find themselves with the urge to click. To check-out, shoppers must have user accounts that will give them a much quicker shopping experience as well as collect their private information.

In contrast, the ‘boring stuff’ blends into the bottom of the page in smaller, blander font.

Amazon has a defined method, treating their paying Prime customers as VIPs, giving them access to deals earlier as well as free one-day delivery and a list of other perks that make the average user feel like they’re missing out.

From our perspective, keeping a brand’s message clear and consistent is key. We are in the early stages of the ‘digital age’, so every brand must evolve or be left in the past. However, a tree can’t grow without roots and traditional methods and values will never go out of style.

Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty will always trump a smart design on a website. Treating customers like they are stuck behind a paywall is a risky ploy that could backfire, losing profit in the long run.

Amazon has designed their online shopping experience to fit in the palm of your hand and 70% of their customers purchase items on mobile devices.

So, if you’re looking for someone else to blame for you spending £279.95 on a CatGenie self-flushing cat litter box (yes, they really exist), it really might not be your fault after all.


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