Actionable Optimisation #63: Boost customer motivation with temptation bundling

 December 21, 2021

By  Customers Who Click

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When you search Google for the term “temptation bundling”, you’ll notice a tonne of articles pop up, all themed around dealing with procrastination and helping you achieve your goals without putting them off for later.


The idea behind temptation bundling is to combine two activities - one we should be doing (like, you know - chores), and one we enjoy doing but isn’t the most productive use of our time (listening to an audiobook or a podcast).

I bet you’ve listened to an episode or two on your commute to work at least once in your life, right? I do it myself when I’m on the bike - I watch stuff on my iPad (stationary exercise bike, just to be clear…).

In other words, temptation bundling can work as a brilliant motivator if you’re in the business of products your customers know they should be using but aren’t because the end goal of that purchase creates negative emotions - like eating healthier, or exercising more.

It’s a fairly new concept that resulted from an experiment to encourage higher gym attendance, published in 2014. They discovered that when people were given access to audiobooks they could listen to only when at the gym, attendance went up.

When you think about it, even the word “should” itself elicits guilt because it’s often used to motivate us to perform a task we know we’ve been putting off and there’s no way out of it now. 

But just because people put off unpleasant purchases, it doesn’t mean you can’t nudge them to make that purchase sooner rather than later using temptation bundling to reduce the pain and guilt.

When you look at it, the purchase intent is already there. Now you just need to find the right incentive to show your customers why now is the good time to order by combining using your product with an indulgent activity to overcome their inertia bias and motivate them to take action.

Temptation bundling works even better if they’re introduced in relation to “fresh starts” like the new year or month. We have the tendency to associate new beginnings with a clean slate, and another chance to get better, and hence, we’re more motivated to get started.

How could you apply this to your store?

First, think of ways how certain activities can be paired with something pleasurable. Going back to the iPad and stationary bike as an example, I linked exercising (something I should be doing) with watching my favourite shows on an iPad (something I want to be doing). What item would make this experience better? An iPad holder. Or engaging content centred around what else I could be doing while exercising to make it more pleasurable.

Another great example? Meal subscriptions like Gousto or HelloFresh, where cooking (often perceived as a chore) is combined with easy-to-follow recipes and the ingredients delivered to your doorstep. Customers no longer have to a) think of something healthy for dinner and b), go shopping after a long day of work. Instead, they can focus on trying out new recipes that are simpler, healthier, and tastier.

Have you seen any brands implement temptation bundling into their marketing? 

Customers Who Click


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