We take a look at the study, ‘Three Charms but Four Alarms.’’ Three product claims dazzle and attract customers, while additional information is perceived with skepticism. When dealing with highly technical products, there are in-depth technical spec sheets that need a place on the product page - but they risk overwhelming your customer. What are the best practices for placing these advanced materials?
In today’s busy, loud and shout-it-out society, we’ve all become hyper-sensitive to persuasion attempts. It’s a thrill to skip television commercials because we view them as ploys to shakedown our hard-earned money and we are much too smart for that. If you’ve watched even a minute of television in California near voting day, you would know that it is a constant Proposition battle zone for political attention, facilitated by screaming end-of-the-world pleas set against harsh Fortissimo demanding the public pick sides. We have become commoditized into catchy slogans, and trying to capture eyes on dating apps. Friends Google the best words to use when announcing their job hunt on Facebook. Everywhere we turn, we’re faced with claims to assess - and by default, our minds know a persuasion attempt at first glance, and we view them with skepticism.
‘When Three Charms but Four Alarms’
More than ever, it’s important for businesses to adhere to the best practices in the most place they make these persuasive attempts: product page design. Proper prioritization of product descriptions and features need to walk the delicate line of a customer’s mind to leave them feeling happily convinced as opposed to cautiously manipulated. While it may seem like common sense that squeezing and pushing as many positive claims as possible into your product description will give you more credibility, it has the reverse effect - customers begin to view the information with more skepticism. In the study, "When Three Charms but Four Alarms: Identifying the Optimal Number of Claims in Persuasion Settings," by Suzanne Chu and Kurt Carlson found that the ideal number of claims to include is three. A fourth claim can send consumer trust toppling, so curating your product information is more important than ever.
We pare down and prioritize the number of features we share with customers, making sure to lead with the most convincing features for our customer’s wants and needs. Creative and effective tools can be applied to make sure the features are not bombarding customers, but are lending them a guiding hand in the decision-making process. With highly technical products or services, however, there are often detailed data and technical spec sheets that must be shared somewhere. It’s important that ‘somewhere’ isn’t a threat to your sellability.
What are some best practices for where to place data-heavy resources on your website without inundating your customer?
When laying out product features on your website, always treat them like an upside-down triangle, or what I call the Techangle Rule. The more fascinating, slam dunk features that address your customer’s key needs should always be your largest focus. These must always be featured first. From there, emphasis should match the level of detail. Features that address more detailed minutiae should be positioned further down the page, with the nitty-gritty particulars like full tech sheets positioned at the end.
NVIDIA: TITAN RTX
The NVIDIA TITAN RTX is the go-to graphics processing unit for AI developers and data scientists. Even though they have a target market that knows their stuff, NVIDIA still adheres to the Techangle Rule. Splashy, attention-grabbing photos and infographics illustrating data analysis speed instantly attract attention. A “View Full Specs” link opens up the comprehensive spec sheet that overlays translucently on top of the main page. This window breaks down more detailed facts and figures like Bilinear Texture Rate and Transistor Count.
Trek: Madone SLR 9 Disc eTap
Trek has no shortage of bright, glitzy product images showcasing their top-of-the-line road machine, the Madone SLR 9 Disc eTap. This demon-on-wheels drops traditional brake design and utilizes the types of braking mechanism you’d find in a sports car. Pushing and pulling mechanical levers to change gears are a thing of the past - this bike changes gears electronically with a simple tap of a battery-powered button. Inarguably, the Madone SLR 9 Disc eTap has no shortage of tech-laden, science-backed details to share, but they still follow the TechAngle Rule - where is the most-detailed information? At the bottom of the page.
After show-stopping images capture the high-priority features of the C9 77inch 4K Smart OLED TV, LG saves specs like detailed input connectivity and comprehensive product weights and dimensions for the very end. If a customer wants to find this info quickly, there is a “Tech Specs” link underneath the main shopping cart section that quick-jumps to the details.
Moov: Moov HR
MOOV launches the page for their MOOV HR heart rate monitor with a punchy video that hits all of the product highlights. Large graphics, media highlights tackling the product’s big features lead the charge. Full Tech Specs like product dimensions and details on the sensor itself are tucked away on a separate page.
FitBit provides a few tabs under the main shopping cart feature where visitors can view different categories of information. The order of the tabs uses the Techangle rule, ordering them by importance. The first focuses on the user features, a second showcases splashy photos of the product in-use, followed by a third “Sizing” tab. The final tab, the full “Specs,” lists things like Maximum Operating Altitude, Syncing Range, and tell readers precisely what sensors are built into the device.
When you have tech-laden information to share, don’t lazily tuck it anywhere in a product detail page. Accidentally featuring this kind of information at the forefront might be that ‘fourth claim’ that sets off the brain’s warning alarm - signalling unwanted persuasion. When done so effectively, you can position tech-laden information in the right place - all while keeping your customer focused on your most convincing ‘three charms’.