Note, this is a rant. I’m sharing this as an example of how companies abuse psychology to sell stuff online.
I stumbled on an interesting sales tactic from the well-known anti-virus store Symantecstore.com. Their brand-new software Norton 360 4.0 (3 user pack) sells for $79.99, but when you press “Add to Cart,” something strange happens…
You are taken to their checkout page, which is handled by Digital River, but wait! There was something else in my cart that I didn’t add. It was Digital River’s “extended download service.”
What is their extended download service? It’s a service that promises to give you the ability to download your software for 1-year after your purchase date for $10.99.
Now think about that for one second…
You can buy the disc at a store for $79.99 and install it for a year for FREE because you have the disc. Yet, here is this company that offers you a “digital disc” for $10.99.
This doesn’t make sense.
Why does a “digital disc” cost $10.99 when a physical disc comes with your purchase for free?
As a consumer, I feel like Digital River and Symantec are passing off their product packaging, distribution, and middle men costs to me.
…But as a marketer, this is a great example of how you can use psychology to persuade people to pay for something that was free. Let me explain.
When you buy software online, if you’re anything like me, one of your first thoughts will be about “how will I get this software back if I lose my computer?”
To top it off, when you’re buying an anti-virus software, you’re already thinking about protecting your data, right?
Well, the extended download service plays off your fears and offers you this service for $10.99.
This is a perfect example of abusing psychology to get sales. I mean, if they offered it as an opt-in service, I wouldn’t be nearly as frustrated, but it’s an opt-out service and it’s unreal.
What’s your take? Is this an ethical sales practice? Do you think a company should include an opt-out service in your shopping cart by default?
*Update* It was brought to my attention that this is a Digital River sales tactic. While they sell this service for $10.99, Symantec isn’t free from blame. If you purchase directly from their site, there is something called Norton Download Insurance, which is essentially the same thing for $6.99