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Chapter
3

Obstacles to purchasing

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So far we’ve focused on the brain and how different parts of it drive purchasing decisions. Let’s now take a look at the other side of the decision scale framework and consider the two main obstacles: cost and friction.

Cost

How much does your product cost? What is the dollar value?As you’d expect, a lower cost means a lower obstacle. That’s why you typically don’t have to read hundreds of reviews before buying a $0.99 ebook.

On the other hand, if the cost is too high for a person, it won’t matter how many five star reviews there are or what emotions it triggers.If they can’t afford it, they can’t buy it.

Friction

As product managers, we should ensure that our products are easy to use with minimal resistance. There are three types of friction a user might encounter:

  • Interactive friction. This covers the UI of your product. Is it straightforward to use? Or do users have to go through long complicated processes to do the simplest tasks? Amazon added the ‘1-click’ checkout option, reducing the friction of purchasing. The Google Maps UI makes it easy to reverse your route with a single tap. Wherever you can, make life easier for your users.
  • Cognitive friction. How much does your user need to think? By reducing the amount of brainpower needed to use your product, you reduce friction. For example, Shyptakes care of the mundane time-consuming tasks involved in drop-shipping. This makes life easier for their users, reducing their overall cognitive load.
  • Emotional friction. We’ve talked about how emotions can be a powerful driver, but sometimes they can be a source of friction. Tinder revolutionized online dating by reducing the emotional friction involved. Rather than having to pour their hearts out in a message to a stranger, only to be ignored or rejected, now people just had to swipe right.    

Addressing each of these potential sources of friction,while ensuring your product is appropriately priced, helps keep obstacles to a minimum.

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