There are various reasons that make customers choose the brand they shop with. Price, accessibility, and brand values can all play a part.
The bandwagon effect is another factor that can sway a customer’s purchasing decisions. When used correctly, it can have powerful effects and can greatly increase a brand’s ability to attract customers, close sales, and secure customer loyalty.
In this article, we’re going to look at what the bandwagon effect is and how you can harness it to help boost your business.
What is the Bandwagon Effect?
The bandwagon effect is a type of cognitive bias. It refers to the idea that people tend to do something simply because others around them are doing it, regardless of whether or not it aligns with their original beliefs.
You may hear the bandwagon effect referred to as ‘herd mentality’, ‘groupthink’, or ‘crowd psychology’. It’s a phenomenon that can affect people in various ways, including how they speak, who they vote for, and what products they purchase.
It’s that last effect that we’re most interested in this article. Businesses can leverage the bandwagon effect to increase awareness of their products, increasing demand and ultimately boosting sales.
How to Trigger the Bandwagon Effect
Businesses can trigger the bandwagon effect in several ways, leading to a range of benefits.
Leverage social proof to trigger the effect
You can trigger the bandwagon effect using testimonials, essentially borrowing third-party influence in order to win over potential customers.
Many landing pages will feature testimonials from people who have used a product or service successfully and are happy with the results.
To maximize the impact of social proof, these testimonials will usually either be from somebody who is considered an expert on the product or service in question or somebody who emulates the average customer, making them relatable.
Social proof can also take the form of case studies. Often used by B2B organizations, case studies are a data-driven analysis of how a product or service has helped an existing organization.
For example, including figures about how much a product has increased customer retention, reduced operational costs, or benefited the bottom line will go a long way toward proving its usefulness and convincing others to give it a try.
Integrate employees into your marketing
A company integrating its employees into its marketing strategy is known as employee advocacy. It’s a very effective strategy, with 46% of marketers naming it their best-performing social media initiative.
The idea is for employees to share company-related content on their personal social media profiles, thereby amplifying the company’s message and increasing overall brand awareness.
Employee advocacy works best when the content shared is authentic and unique. The message needs to come across in the unique voice of the employee rather than simply resharing corporate materials.
In terms of the bandwagon effect, employee advocacy is a great way to show the general population that you’re producing products that they can be excited about. A company whose employees feel passionate about what they’re selling is more likely to attract attention and make consumers want to find out what all the fuss is about.
Build a sense of urgency
Generating a buzz around your product will get people excited, and when people get excited, they are less likely to pay attention to their more rational thought processes.
Making people feel like they have to buy your product and that they have to buy it now, will whip them up into a frenzy and give them no choice but to make the purchase. It’s all linked to the psychological concept of human loss aversion, or as you may have heard the kids say, FOMO (fear of missing out).
This effect is contagious. When consumers see others rushing out to buy a product, they instinctively want to know what all the fuss is about. Before long, this sense of urgency has spread, and people are clamoring for a chance to buy your product.
Retailers can create a sense of urgency in their customers in a few ways. Some may set deadlines, such as having a timer counting down to the last possible moment that you’ll be able to get next day delivery.
Others will have products on sale for a limited time, making it clear when the sale ends and encouraging potential buyers to pull the trigger before they miss out. One great example of this is the Black Friday sales. As you can see from the graph below, Amazon’s sales massively increased during the one-day, limited-time sales event in 2021.
A popular tactic on hotel or ticket booking sites is to show how many other people are currently looking at the same product page as you, making you feel as if you need to act quickly and make the booking before somebody else gets there first.
Use scarcity to fuel the bandwagon effect
By showing customers that the products you’re selling are low in stock, you make them feel as if they need to quickly make a purchase while they still have the chance. This gives them less time to think rationally about the purchase and talk themselves out of it.
Items that are thought to be scarce can also appear to be more attractive to consumers, as their perceived rarity makes them more desirable.
A study placed two sets of ten identical cookies in two jars, then removed eight from one of them. Participants were then asked which jar of cookies was more desirable, with an overwhelming majority choosing the jar with only two cookies left.
Businesses can leverage scarcity in a variety of ways. Ecommerce websites will often prominently display a message on products that are low in stock, encouraging customers to buy them before they’re gone.
But, if you’re a retail or ecommerce business, scarcity can be a double-edged sword. While it can spur customers on towards making a purchase, going out of stock on key lines can ultimately hurt your revenue.
Ultimately, this tactic is about managing your stock as effectively as possible. So, use tools such as a business management system to help you to take control of your supply chain, inventory, and warehousing processes.
This will reduce the risk of going out of stock by enabling you to perform just-in-time replenishment–whereby stock will be replenished exactly when it needs to be and without taking-up excessive room in your warehouse. On top of this, you will have the data you need to know which products your scarcity strategy should focus on and which are better suited to other marketing ploys.
Foster a sense of community and belonging
Giving your customers a sense of community and belonging is another way to harness the power of the bandwagon effect. Customers who feel valued by the brand they’re doing business with are more likely to return to them and make purchases again in the future.
What’s more, creating the impression that your customers are part of an exclusive club will make others want to join for fear of missing out. These two factors contribute to making your brand seem more desirable, creating a positive brand reputation while simultaneously improving customer acquisition and customer retention.
You can instill a sense of community and belonging in your customers in several ways. Many retailers will use loyalty programs, while others may push to create online communities around their brand.
This can be achieved with a strong social media presence and through the use of website features such as chat rooms. These give customers the chance to interact with one another, review products and make recommendations to others, which further helps to attract new consumers.
Offer incentives and rewards
Offering incentives and rewards to customers will make them feel valued, increase positive word of mouth, improve customer sentiment, and ultimately encourage others to make an initial purchase and join the club.
It’s also a great way to encourage repeat custom. 75% of consumers who receive a reward are likely to make another purchase. They’re also more likely to leave positive reviews or share their experience on social media, furthering the spread of the bandwagon effect.
Measure and analyze results
If you’re hoping to successfully harness the power of the bandwagon effect, it’s important to measure how effective your efforts have been and analyze the results.
Only then will you fully understand which methods have performed well and which haven’t. This will help to inform your future efforts so that you can invest time and money into initiatives that have a good ROI while abandoning those that haven’t been particularly beneficial.
If you’re struggling to keep track of sales figures and other important metrics, ecommerce ERP software may be able to help here. You’ll be able to easily track your online and offline sales and generate real-time reports that will help you dig into your figures and ascertain how successful your efforts have been.
Remember to also keep track of your brand awareness metrics and results using platforms such as Google Analytics. From the number of social media followers you have to the number of clicks-to-site each impression generates, this data will help you to know what content is working and what needs improvement. Making sure you build your image as a popular and trendy brand to draw in new customers.
How Will the Bandwagon Effect Help Your Business?
The bandwagon effect can have multiple benefits for your brand, including improving brand reputation, generating positive word of mouth, boosting sales, and increasing customer retention.
The ways that you can trigger the bandwagon effect are numerous across your marketing, landing pages, and social media pages. Remember to analyze the results of your efforts so that you can see just how successful you’ve been and can do even better the next time around.