Are You A True Choice Architect?

I gained recent exposure to the current big-buzz right-wing think tank concept of Nudge.  Rather than telling people to do things, it advocates instead that you let them make their own journey to where you suggest they go.  Key to the concept is the use of influence as a Choice Architect.

Each time we provide options, there’s a chance to increase desired take-up by judicious presentation of said alternatives.  When doing so, it is crucial to understand that “there is no such thing as a “neutral” design“.

As sales people, we constantly offer choices to potential buyers.  The most common format is likely the “PLOF”.  Such a ‘Price List Order Form’ is, as the name suggests, acts as both a price list and order form combined.  The idea is that buyers can simply tick off what they want.  The columns are straight-forward; product code, product description, price, tick the box or fill in the quantity.

In the wholesale-distribution trade they’re omnipresent.  Yet whoever creates them should be shot.  Better still, asked to re-design them.  It’s not difficult to see a process could be relatively easily set-up that creates bespoke PLOFs for each client based on their buying behaviour, both actual or hoped-for in the light of identified gaps.

Then there are Proposals.  How often do even the biggest of tickets sellers need to put forward different options?  Pretty much every time a Prop is provided.  If for no other reason, it’s a way of trying to upsell a touch.  Usually, it’s because the precise nature of the eventual order remains unknown.  How are the alternatives listed?  There’s a great example from the Economist magazine’s subscription efforts, subsequently related to music CD and mp3 experiences, that suggests an intelligent approach to your job as a Choice Architect can bring richer rewards (an incredible 43% bigger in fact for this case).

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