Used Behavioral Science For Health Products

An Innovative Platform That Used Behavioral Science For Health Products

Customers in the XXIst Century are now looking for experiences and interactions as such are very relevant experiences. Customers are looking to have an emotional connection with products and web pages. As such, web pages can become more responsive to customers. I would like to provide the positive example of responsiveness that the search engine GoodGuide provides to its customers.

As they put it: “GoodGuide uses product ingredient information coupled with authoritative sources for chemical regulations to rate products so that consumers can have instant access to credible product information that is easily understood” And they do this through several mechanisms (see Figure 1 for main search engine menu)

In Nudge, the 2009 book on how to use behavioral research to help people, behavioral economists Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein introduced the concept of choice architecture. The idea was that those responsible for designing things that influence important decisions should do so in a way that encourages the best outcomes for people with a stake in those decisions.

Goodguide’s Homepage

Used Behavioral Science For Health Products

II. When a customer contacts a company, how can a company use that interaction to shape the customer’s view of the company and their loyalty to it

The first relevant feature of this choice engine is that it not only adds options, but rather it helps consumers through other elements of the choice architecture.

They do this by presenting a ranking that goes from 1 to 10 (Figure 2), showing in red products that receive a lower grade and in green the ones getting a higher and thus healthier one. As well, when presenting the products, they start with the ones receiving a higher ranking and then go with the lower rated products (see Figure 3)

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Goodguide Helps Customers By Presenting A Ranking From 1 To 10

Used Behavioral Science For Health Products_1

Figure 3: Plausible options after searching for Toothpaste (example shown)

Used Behavioral Science For Health Products)2

As we see in the Figure above, they also allow for filtering options that might be of interest for the consumer that might go this choice engine. They offer Fragrance Free, Vegan, and a certification of adequate animal treatment.

I believe that this site is actually “helping” the consumer make a right choice, if we define as right as a healthier and environmentally friendlier decision, which though can be thought of as paternalistic, it is at least unbiasedly something that most people would say they want (though, for sure, not always achieved).

There are also three important elements of a choice engine: Data, Transparency and Personalization. For the first part, this choice engine has rated more than 75,000 products, which makes it quite reliable when searching, in terms that the product wanted will have a rating. They also include a comprehensive methodology page that can be accessed here. Finally, the choice engine lets you sign in with your email or Facebook, allowing for a good degree of personalization.

Finally, in terms of challenges for the engine, we have seen in class that people often assemble preferences depending on how the information is presented. The site bears a responsibility with the products that lists first, and the consumer faces a question related to the ranking: how much better is a product that receives 10 versus one that receives 8? Is this difference worth a potential price differential? This also touches one missing element: market price. The site does not provide an average price for the customers, and it is left for them to figure this out.

For the reasons stated above, and despite a few shortcomings mentioned, I believe GoodChoice actually helps the chooser make a better decision than if this engine would not exist. However, reaching this conclusion is difficult because people assemble preferences according to how the information is presented, so it is difficult to say without doubt that it has a positive effect.

Human decision-making is complex, error-prone and imperfect. This is especially true in a complicated and emotional domain like healthcare. When planning campaigns, healthcare marketers should make it a priority to help people make the most informed decisions possible and have clear pathways to act in their best interest. And we should do it in a way that builds trust while driving profits. In short, we should be choice architects. It is, after all, what our key stakeholders and society expect of us.

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