Discover more from Marketing Ideas
The Apple buying effect you’ve never ever heard of 🍏
How Apple nudges us to buy with the "I'm Watching You" effect
Ever notice Apple’s clever little nudge at checkout?
Here is how it went down for me: Apple’s Halloween event. New M3 MacBook Pro revealed. Space black. OMG. Heartbeat quickens. I rushed to their site, credit card in hand.
But wait... What is that?
Apple put a pair of eyes / camera lenses next to the “Add to Bag” button.
And it’s not just the Macbook.
Before purchasing any Apple product, something is visually “looking” at you right before you pay. I wish I was cherrypicking the examples here, but no: it’s literally there on any product.
The answer is visibility.
Apple wants us to feel “seen”.
As if someone is watching us 🕵️♀️ and we will feel guilty if we abandon the purchase.
😶🌫️ The Power of Visibility
Of course, we can’t know if it’s just a theory or a smart marketing nudge. But I think it’s a good opportunity to dive into the research that supports these nudges:
Studies show that when we feel eyes on us, we change how we act.
It's like we're on stage. 🎭
Considering Apple's prestigious status, especially among those with deep pockets, this could be their subtle way of urging us to hit Add to Cart. Those camera eyes? They are Apple's quiet invitation, saying, “Go ahead, you know you want to—everyone expects it of you.”
While we can never know if it is intentional, the fact that nearly every product has a pair of eyes beside the Add to Cart button is something to be… aware of (see what I did there?).
It's worth noting that this tactic has its drawbacks as well:
One study, titled "I'll Be Watching You: Shoppers' Reactions to Perceptions of Being Watched," suggests that shoppers often feel uncomfortable when they believe they are being observed, especially while considering or purchasing personal or potentially embarrassing items.3 Apple's products are far from embarrassing (hence the eyes and lenses), but it is good to know.
⬛️ Black / ⬜️ White
Visibility is also why most checkout pages worldwide opt for a white background (projecting light onto the customer's face, making them feel seen), while certain... EHRM... adult websites feature darker backgrounds (implying that no one is watching, and people have the freedom to do what they want).
🏅 Eyes on the Prize
So, what is the bottom line? We should consider putting "visibility-enhancing" elements in our shopping cart/checkout page:
Images of individuals making direct eye contact with the customer.
Images of camera lenses.
Bright, white backgrounds.
P.S. New users of complex SaaS platforms might prefer a dark interface to hide their rookie mistakes.
P.P.S. Charities, take note: Research suggests that people are more inclined to donate when they're near images of eyes.4 So charity websites could benefit from employing white and bright backgrounds to enhance the feeling of visibility.
See you next week ✌️