An easy way to get people to cough up more money

March 11, 2014


Getting people to give you more money

When you go to a restaurant, you order your drink, then your appetizers, then your meal, then another grown up drink, a desert, and maybe another drink. You make your waiter earn his tip, and he’s glad to – it’s his job.

What can we learn from the science of tipping? We’ll dig in a little deeper and find out what the payment structure of a restaurant payment slip can teach you about getting people to cough up more dough for your services or products.

According to the SF Chronicle, foodservice companies, be they traditional or food trucks that use tablet or smartphone payment systems are setting it up to where customers have to confirm that they do not want to leave a tip. This has reportedly increased the amount of tips in a meaningful way.

This movement was led by payment system, Square, which in an effort to reduce the number of clicks, allowed customers to skip past the tip screen, which obliterated tips – when they fixed it, vendors could choose the one- or two-page process, and those that selected the two-step process have seen a dramatic increase in tips.

Another food truck operator who uses PayPal used to swipe cards inside the truck and ask if they wanted to leave a tip, which yielded poor results. Mounting an iPad on the truck exterior has doubled tips, allowing customers to make the choice with no pressure.

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What you can learn from this, and how to make more money

Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer, Nir Eyal tells SFGate, “The easier you make the behavior, the more likely it is to occur.”

In other words, don’t make people do math, and don’t offer too many steps or options. Let’s say you are an SEO consultant. Offer your menu of services online, and at the checkout, if you really want people to buy a certain service, add it as an option where people will be hitting the “buy” button, even if on invoices (“Half price Facebook optimization today, $199”).

Charities should learn that there is power in being assumptive. When fundraising, taking the math out of the process and reducing the complexities in the process. Truly, some fundraising efforts are 20 steps in 10 point font on a screen that isn’t mobile friendly. Have a “donate” button, and at checkout, add a line with your ask.

It’s more than a checkout process, it’s the psychology of streamlining the process of accepting money, and the less someone has to think about it, the more likely they are to cough up the money and think less about it. So now that you know, go get that money!

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Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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