Nudge Theory: Definition & Influence on Consumer Behavior

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  • 0:03 What Is Nudge Theory?
  • 1:48 Positive Influences of Nudging
  • 2:42 Negative Influences of Nudging
  • 4:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: LeRon Haire
This lesson will introduce and describe nudge theory; additionally, the lesson will explain both the positive and negative influences nudging has on consumer behavior.

What Is Nudge Theory?

Over the past few decades, there have been many improvements made on the way that consumer behavior is analyzed. One of the more recent concepts on consumer behavior is known as nudge theory. Nudge theory, or nudge, is a behavioral science concept which states that positive reinforcement can influence the motivations and decision-making of a person or group of persons. When it comes to marketing, nudge theory has become one of the go-to strategies to help explain why consumers make certain purchasing decisions. To get a better understanding of nudge theory and nudging, let's take a look at a few examples:

Have you ever played a video game on an app, social media, or some other platform? At the end of the game, there may have been a 'game over' indication along with scores of other players. By revealing the scores of other players for the same game, you are being nudged to challenge your competition and beat their scores.

If you have ever visited a website to make a purchase, you may have noticed that one of your purchase options was labeled as most popular. The website is nudging consumers to choose the most popular option by informing them that other consumers prefer this option, so why shouldn't you?

In relationship to marketing, nudge theory plays an important role as well. As you know, marketing has everything to do with trying to persuade consumers to purchase a product or service. Nudge theory works to support this concept by using indirect suggestions to help consumers make decisions.

Now that we have a better understanding of the general concept of nudging, let's take a look at its positive and negative influences on consumer behavior.

Positive Influences of Nudging

Positive influences of nudging on consumer behavior are related to a term known as a good nudge. A good nudge can be defined as a strategy of marketing that looks to influence the behavior of a consumer in a positive manner. For example, let's say that you are visiting a local car dealership to possibly purchase a new car. While on the car lot, you are shown a car which finished first in all safety rankings when it comes to car crashes and fatalities.

The car is equipped with a new type of seat belt which is also being advertised throughout the dealership and on display. This is a positive influence on consumer behavior because the consumer is being nudged to purchase a car that will benefit them by protecting them in the event of an accident. A positive influence of nudging on consumer behavior should always result in some sort of perceived benefit for the consumer.

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