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Have you ever noticed how difficult it is for some people to embrace change? That's because of a cognitive bias known as the "Status Quo Bias." This bias causes people to prefer things to stay the same and view any change as a loss or disadvantage. However, by clinging to the familiar, we risk missing out on greater benefits and opportunities.
For instance, think of someone who refuses to upgrade their smartphone because they are used to the old one, even though the newer model has better features. Or consider a company that is hesitant to adopt new technology because they are comfortable with their current processes.
As the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," but sometimes fixing it can lead to even greater success. Now, for a quick joke: Why did the chicken refuse to cross the road? Because it was too afraid of change!
Status Quo Bias is strongly visible among people because of several reasons. Firstly, people have a natural tendency to resist change because it requires effort and time to adjust to new circumstances. Secondly, people fear the unknown and unfamiliar, and prefer to stick with what is familiar and comfortable. Thirdly, people associate change with risks and potential losses, and are more motivated to avoid losses than to acquire gains. Finally, people are influenced by social norms and expectations, and feel pressure to conform to established patterns of behavior and thinking. All these factors contribute to the persistence of Status Quo Bias.
People have a psychological tendency to focus more on what they might lose rather than focusing on what great benefits a change can bring. In other words, losses prominently stand out in the minds of the people than the gains. A slight difference can be seen in the presence of Status Quo Bias in different generations. According to similar studies, it was shown that people of old age show a greater bias to Status Quo compared to the younger generation. According to the research findings, knowing what to be exactly expected from the current products or services, people cast off the uncertainty that the changes may bring.
This is another major reason why Status Quo Bias exists. We like to cope up with things which are familiar to us. Many of us don't like to bother about the uncertainties a change is associated with. For example, we like to see the same happy faces in our working places or similar seating arrangement which brings the homey feeling. Many of us don't like surprises that may come with changes.
Just assume that you're in your favourite restaurant thinking about your favourite dish to order. Then you see a new dish included in the menu which seems so mouthwatering, yet you choose to go with the same old favourite because you know that dish will never make you disappointed, but always make you fully content. Even in such a situation, you have a great possibility of missing out a delicious experience.
There are countless modern design templates available online that can enhance the appearance of your website with the help of various tools, technologies, and trends. However, using such templates isn't wrong, but you should consider twice before selecting a template with major design changes that people aren't very familiar with. Your design should be optimized for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). For instance, imagine visiting a site with a side-scrolling navigation menu, and the product descriptions are nowhere to be found at first glance. Would you bother to explore more? Many others wouldn't either. While it's great to make your website unique with cool features, overdoing it can be counterproductive. When we visit a website, we subconsciously expect a familiar layout. If you include too many unfamiliar features in your design, visitors may become confused and leave your site soon due to the Status Quo bias.
Businesses must adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of their consumers, which requires incorporating changes into their products or services. However, presenting these changes to the audience without letting the Status Quo bias negatively affect the business can be a challenge. One effective tactic is to present changes in an authentic form, which can be achieved through celebrity endorsement. By featuring a celebrity on the website endorsing the changes, businesses can demonstrate the authenticity of the changes and increase their chances of being acknowledged and accepted by the audience. This is the power of online influencer marketing.
To avoid the negative effects of the Status Quo bias, it's crucial to showcase the product descriptions on your website in a way that highlights both the new value-added features and the fact that none of the previous benefits were lost. Additionally, presenting the content in a similar manner to the previous version of the product or service can create a sense of familiarity among your audience, helping to avoid confusion and hesitation when it comes to making a purchase decision.
Your ultimate goal in establishing an online presence is to achieve successful Conversion Rate Optimization. However, it's essential to understand that people have a natural tendency towards the Status Quo bias, and forcing them to abandon it is not feasible. The key is to shape your online presence in a way that avoids the negative impact of this bias. While the Status Quo bias suggests that people are resistant to change, presenting the changes tactically can help you overcome this bias and drive conversion rates higher.
Because research shows that people tend to stick with default options due to the Status Quo bias, we believe that changing the default option for a subscription or purchase to the desired option for the majority of users will cause an increase in conversion rate for the targeted population.
Because data suggests that people are more likely to engage with familiar designs due to the Status Quo bias, we believe that implementing design changes gradually over time instead of all at once will cause a higher retention rate for the targeted population.
Because research indicates that people are more likely to make a purchase when presented with a limited-time offer due to the Status Quo bias, we believe that adding a countdown timer or emphasizing the limited availability of a product or service will cause an increase in sales for the targeted population.
Would you like to go more in-depth? Here are our recommendations:
Tendency to stick with the current situation rather than change.
People feel safe and comfortable with the familiar.
Prevents innovation, hinders growth, and leads to complacency.
Yes, by presenting changes as benefits and using influencers.
It influences choices and can make it hard to attract customers.
Are you curious about how to apply this bias in experimentation? We've got that information available for you!