Online sites optimized to make you spend: Frugal Dilemmas

August 26, 2011|By Liz F. Kay

We've talked before about subtle techniques restaurants and brick-and-mortar stores use to encourage you to open your wallet. Now let's discuss how online retailers nudge you toward buying.

According to, pages that load swiftly, one-click purchasing and loads of reviews go a long way toward getting people to complete a purchase, as do limited-time offers, like "daily deals" and countdowns to savings. (Click to see Vouchercodes' infographic)

For me, I know the likelihood I'll buy something online depends a lot on the distance between my laptop and the credit cards in my purse --- is it something I need badly enough to walk all the way to my wallet to get it? Unfortunately, the discovery of virtual credit card numbers, generated through my bank's website, did a lot to eliminate that passive barrier.

But I always read product reviews from a range of sources, including independent experts and those submitted by other consumers --- although you can't always be sure that the person behind the user name isn't just a shill for the company. I realize I value these recommendations so highly that I will sometimes buy a product even if the features go beyond the needs of my household.

Have you noticed cues or features that make you click "add to cart"? Tell us in the comments below.


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