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PoC2

Punishment is better than Reward

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I've been made aware of some very interesting commercial data recently which shows that punishing customers rather than rewarding them is far more effective in achieving your goals.

Coffee Shop example:

Std. coffee price = $3 in disposable cup

Bring your own cup = $2.50 (-50 cents).

"Bring your own cup" offer uptake = "meh"

Switching it around:

Std. (public) coffee price = $2.50 (in your own cup)

Disposable cup price =  $3.00 (+ 50 cents more)

Uptake = "wow"

 

So it seems the fear of "punishment" is more powerful than the perception of "reward".

In IPS. Commerce terms, this would be equivalent of changing membership rewards as a negative applier ("50c off for supporters") to "Member Price: standard", "Non-Member Price = higher than standard".

It may seem odd (and inconvenient) but apparently that's how human psychology works.

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That's a well known facet of behavioral psychology. Fear and pain are measured to be x2 as powerful an emotion as joy and happiness.  

You can deploy this in a variety of ways in your community, not just in Commerce prices.  When you create new topics, you can reframe them with words like .. their greatest fear, their challenges, losing XYZ, most embarrassing moment, etc.  Stoking those negative emotions are key to churning user sentiment, and sending users through highs and lows helps build their sense of connection to your community.  

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3 hours ago, PoC2 said:

punishing customers rather than rewarding them is far more effective in achieving your goals.

What are the goals though? I would assume the coffee cup example would be successful in terms of waste reduction. Not sure how that example would translate to online community memberships, where there is no such goal and punishment might then be seen as just punishment without any reason or value, in which case, it might not have any positive effects.

Edited by opentype

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3 hours ago, opentype said:

What are the goals though? I would assume the coffee cup example would be successful in terms of waste reduction. Not sure how that example would translate to online community memberships, where there is no such goal and punishment might then be seen as just punishment without any reason or value, in which case, it might not have any positive effects.

It's true this kind of stuff can backfire. I don't like antics like punishment/reward so I'll often do stuff simply out of spite. For example, I went in my grocery store a few weeks ago, and I had forgotten that the stupid town had banned the grocery store from issuing disposable plastic bags. When I saw the sign, I was pissed, thinking what am I gonna do now I need to get groceries, but then I realized there were paper bags which are totally fine with me. But my initial anger was because I had forgotten about the ban and had not realized there would be paper bags, and my plan to deal with this nonsense was to buy my own case of disposable plastic bags, and I had forgotten to do so. So yes, I wasn't going to be putting up with the town's ban, I was simply going to bring my own case of brand new disposable plastic bags out of spite. So, I generally don't notice stuff like the referenced coffee shop pricing antic -- I can't even tell you now that I understood what it was that's how quickly I glazed over it -- but I do notice if something becomes a p.i.t.a, and that's when I would take action and take my money to another coffee shop. 

Edited by tonyv

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4 hours ago, Joel R said:

You can deploy this in a variety of ways in your community, not just in Commerce prices.

Except that it doesn't work with IPS.Commerce "discount" mechanisms. If I set non-supporter groups (in the discount fields) to be charged more, they are not. The default price of the product still shows instead (not the greater price set in the discount field). I know it's probably "discount fields are for discounts, not extra charges" - but is there another way?

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