As reported by Oberlo, “Estimates show there will be 1.92 billion global digital buyers in 2019. With a global population of 7.7 billion people, that means 25 percent of the world’s population shopping online. What’s more, this number keeps going up. And it will hit a massive 2.14 billion people in 2021.” Given these figures, we suggest that consumers beware online marketing tricks. Unfortunately, some firms practice poor ethical practices.

To begin, take at these prior ethics-related posts:

Caveat Emptor: Consumers Beware Online Marketing Tricks

Dark patterns? Another term for our marketing dictionary. To see what this term means, keep reading.

As reports for the New York Times:

When potential customers visit the online resale store ThredUp, messages on the screen regularly tell them just how much other users of the site are saving. ‘Alexandra from Anaheim just saved $222 on her order’ says one message next to an image of a bright, multicolored dress. That common technique on shopping websites intends to capitalize on people’s desire to fit in with others and to create a ‘fear of missing out.’”

“But ‘Alexandra from Anaheim’ did not buy the dress. She does not exist. Instead, the Web site’s code pulled combinations from a pre-programmed list of names, locations, and items. Then it presented them as actual recent purchases. The fake messages represent an example of ‘dark patterns,’ Unfortunately, these devious online techniques manipulate users into behavior they might not otherwise choose. They are the digital version of timeworn tactics used to influence consumer behavior, like impulse purchases placed near cash registers, or bait-and-switch ads for used cars.”

To read more, click the image.

Consumers Must Beware Online Marketing Tricks
“Alexandra from Anaheim” was among the shoppers that visitors to ThredUp were told had recently bought items on the site. But she didn’t exist.CreditCreditPhoto Illustration by The New York Times; Screen grabs, via ThredUp

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