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Zero-risk bias

Reviewed by expert Scientifically proven

Have you ever noticed how people tend to overestimate the risks associated with certain decisions or actions? This phenomenon is known as the "Zero-risk bias." It's a cognitive bias where people tend to prefer options that eliminate all possible risks, even if the chances of those risks occurring are very low. This bias can have significant implications for businesses, especially those operating in the online space.

One use case for the zero-risk bias is in the context of website design and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Online businesses can leverage the zero-risk bias by creating a website that gives the impression of zero risk to potential customers. This can be achieved by incorporating trust seals, avoiding asking for sensitive information during the signup process, and avoiding overloading the site with advertisements. By doing so, businesses can boost customer trust and create more potential leads.

Table of contents:
  1. How to use Zero risk bias for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
    1. Ensure that your domain name is professional
    2. Make yourself available
    3. Embed testimonials and/or reviews accordingly
    4. Do not forget to display trust seals
    5. Avoid asking for credit card details to sign up if possible
    6. Do not overload your site with ad content!
  2. Conclusion

For example, let's assume that you have a requirement to convert your pdf file into a word file online. You visit two sites as stated below.

  • Site A provides you 14 days free trial including all the exclusive features, but you're required to enter your credit card details to sign up.
  • Site B provides you 14 days free trial with all the basic features, but it says no credit card details are required to sign up.

Which site would you choose? According to the zero-risk bias in human psychology, there's a high chance that many of us would choose Site B over site A, even though we are not given exclusive features. The natural fear of the risk of facing fraud is the ultimate reason for our decision here. Site B has removed the barrier of entry by making their sign up process a zero-risk process by denoting 'no credit card is required.'

Marketers use zero risk bias to influence consumer decision making in favour of them to outsmart the competition. This concept of human psychology is used by many online platforms and websites to influence users' engagement towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) as discussed above.

How to use Zero risk bias for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

The ultimate goal of any commercial product or service provider on the internet is to grow revenue through CRO. Presenting themselves online with authenticity and trust is the key to influence consumer decisions in their favour. To convey trustworthiness, you have to create an authentic first impression. Whether you have delivered the promised Unique Value Proposition is another factor to get the maximum benefit of zero-risk bias.

Ensure that your domain name is professional

Having a professional domain name is absolutely vital for you to present your site with authenticity. An unprofessional domain name will give a spammy impression to your site. For example, what is your attitude towards a domain name like 'CheapMetrressForAll.com'? Of course, it looks very unhealthy and spammy. The ideal domain name has the following characteristics.

  • Make it short and memorable.
  • Make it unique
  • Reflect your business or brand name via the domain name
  • Go for a common top-level domain such as .com
  • Don't include symbols or numbers in the domain name

Make yourself available

Making yourself available whenever a customer requires your assistance is a great way to ensure trust. Doing so creates an unintentional effect of zero-risk in the minds of your target consumers. Make sure that all means of contact information published on your site are valid and accessible. Also, it's a good practice to embed a message denoting that you'll be getting in touch with them soon if a customer connects you during the offline business hours. And be sure to do so. A well-designed contact page with valid information is a good way to ensure that you eliminate the risk of losing potential customers due to Zero risk bias.

Embed testimonials and/or reviews accordingly

Positive influence created by testimonials, success stories and reviews are invaluable towards Conversion Rate Optimization. You are being brave enough to let your customers post their feedback on your products or services let the users accept you with an authenticity which has a great bearing on risk elimination. This is an ideal way to communicate that you've delivered the unique value proposition as you've promised which can directly affect user engagement positively.

Do not forget to display trust seals

Trust seals, such as valid business accreditations and certificates of excellence, can greatly boost customer trust in your business. You can proudly display trust seals on your website to present yourself as a trustworthy business. This can also help you stand out from your competition. The more you present yourself with zero risks, the more potential customers you can attract.

Avoid asking for credit card details to sign up if possible

Asking for sensitive information, such as credit card details, during the sign-up process can create high risk in the minds of customers. Allow your customers to sign up and use some of your premium features without requiring their credit card information. Provide value beyond their expectations during their stay and let them know that much more is available for a paid subscription. This is an ideal way to convert users into potential leads without making them fear fraud. Doing so can greatly enhance Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Do not overload your site with ad content!

While ads can be a great source of extra revenue, overloading your website with ads can cause potential customers to leave. Excessive ads can make your website appear unprofessional and impose risk in the minds of customers. Additionally, too many ads can interrupt the smooth interaction of users, resulting in poor user experience that negatively affects Conversion Rate Optimization.


The Zero Risk Bias is a psychological tendency that should not be overlooked by any business with an online or physical presence. This bias is often seen more often on online platforms compared to physical business situations. It is crucial to shape the design and elements of your website to make potential customers feel that engaging with your business involves zero risks. By doing so, you can maximize the benefits of the Zero Risk Bias in psychology towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

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Example of hypothesis applied

  1. Based on research that suggests that customers are more likely to complete a purchase if there is a clear return policy, we believe that adding a prominent "no questions asked" return policy on the product page (change) for first-time customers (population) will increase the conversion rate and reduce cart abandonment (impact).

  2. Based on the observation that customers are more likely to sign up for a service if there is a free trial period, we believe that offering a free trial with no credit card required (change) for new customers (population) will increase the number of sign-ups and reduce bounce rate (impact).

  3. Based on the insight that customers are more likely to trust a website with social proof, we believe that adding customer reviews and ratings (change) prominently on the product page for new visitors (population) will increase the conversion rate and reduce bounce rate (impact).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the zero-risk bias?

The tendency to prefer options with no risk, even if the reward is small or the risk is negligible.

Why do people exhibit zero-risk bias?

Fear of losing what they already have, or the potential harm that may come from taking a risk.

How is zero-risk bias used in marketing?

By reducing or eliminating barriers to entry, such as free trials or no-obligation sign-ups.

Is zero-risk bias always a bad thing?

No, it can prevent unnecessary risk-taking, but it can also lead to missed opportunities.

How can I overcome my zero-risk bias?

Recognize the potential benefits of taking calculated risks and weigh the potential rewards against the potential risks.

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