Product Attributes vs. Behavioral Nudges: When Do I Use Each?

What's the difference between product attributes and behavioral nudges?

Behavioral Nudges are messages that leverage behavioral principles (or cognitive biases) to drive purchase behavior. These are displayed as Dynamic Badges or Notifications but shouldn’t be confused with product attributes. 

Behavioral Nudges leverage subconscious biases that nudge people through their customer journey, like “Recommended” (Authority), “Staff Picked” (Authority), or “New Line” (Novelty). 

Product attributes are, on the other hand, a product’s characteristics that make it special, unique, or different from others in the same category. Displayed as Dynamic Badges and Notifications, product attributes drive behavior by showing exactly what components your customers are looking for in your products. 

Things like the size, color, shape, or material of your products are all things that fall under product attributes. In other words, these are the products’ features and functions. 

For example, I might want to buy a running shoe because I’m a runner. The product attributes of a shoe are the rational reasons why I choose to buy the product. 

On the other hand, Behavioral Nudges may urge me to buy a product based on a subconscious desire to follow the behavior of others (Social Proof), or because the product is exclusive (Scarcity), or even because it boasts of new technologies (Innovation). In consumer psychology, we call this irrational.

When do I use each? 

Behavioral Nudges are the impact drivers of Dynamic Messaging. Because they are persuasive by nature, these messages are more likely to resonate with your customers on a broad level. You can also use Behavioral Nudges to get a better idea of your customer segments' psychographics. This information can be used to optimize your psychographic segmentation

Product Attributes are insight drivers. Because you are inherently testing more copy variations and messages, you will get deeper insights into which micro-segments respond to which messages. The trade-off for these insights, however, could be a short-term negative impact on CTR. In the bigger picture, this trade-off is worth it for those looking for unique insights, as it's just as important to learn which messages have a negative impact on behavior as it is a positive impact. 

This could lead to a temporary inverse effect on KPIs such as CTR and CR. With time, however, the AI will have enough data to optimize how the messages are being shown to the shopper.

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