Monday, June 27, 2016

Couple Wise Consumer Decisions

Men in supportive marriages are more likely have a recommended colonoscopy—that diagnostic procedure in which you consent to have a long tube with a video camera and set of clippers run up your rear end.
     The researchers at University of Chicago and Brigham and Women's Hospital used sophisticated statistical tools to tease out relationships between marital bliss and compliance with the medical recommendation. Married men were more likely to comply than were unmarried men. If the wife was happy with the relationship, the probability climbed further. When the wife had a higher education, there was higher compliance. If the wife had previously agreed to undergo a colonoscopy for herself, the husband was more likely to accept having one.
     But it didn’t work completely the other way around. Marriage happiness had no significant effect on the probability the wife would get a colonoscopy. This could be because women are wiser about preventive medical care than men regardless of how others around them are behaving. It’s an example of how husbands and wives make consumer decisions differently. As a general rule, a husband’s objectives are underpinned by a desire to ensure his individual specifications are met, while a wife’s objectives are underpinned by a desire to have the shared specifications of the couple met.
     Researchers at University of Chicago and Belgium’s Catholic Universities of Louvain and Mons found that the relative dominance of husband and wife in purchases depends on the type of product or service being considered. These overall patterns also differ by cultural background. Mexican-American couples are more likely than others to have husband-dominant patterns, while African-Americans are more likely to have wife-dominant patterns.
     Newly married couples may have already set up housekeeping and therefore made many shopping decisions together already. Even if not, the man and the woman are each subconsciously influenced by how their respective mom and dad handled the decisions.
     Couples often aim to balance their shopping tendencies. Researchers at University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University say that tightwads—who recognize they should be more willing to spend money—tend to marry spendthrifts—who recognize they should be more cautious in spending. Rather than viewing such couples as having opposite attitudes, view them as having complementary approaches. They married each other to help moderate the extremes. When making a sale, give them, and all other couples, sufficient opportunity to work their magic with each other.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Stay Well-Read on Red Reactions

The color red usually heightens purchasing and consumption. Reds create excitement associated with fast movement and enhanced appetite. In a McDonald's, red means you eat more quickly, leaving space sooner for the next customer. In a Target store, red means you pile your purchases into the cart more quickly.
     But red also can make us slow down. After all, when you see a stop sign or a red light on the traffic signal at a busy intersection, you stop. The red raises alertness. Even if you don’t stop, you’ll probably drive through the intersection with more attention than you would otherwise exercise.
     Our reaction to red is built into our brain physiology. It’s subconscious. In fact, if a consumer begins to think consciously about it, the excitement and alertness fade. Researchers at University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, University of British Columbia, and University of Amsterdam say the stop or go response to red also depends on the degree of “sensation seeking,” which is a stable personality characteristic of people. Some of your shoppers are attracted to bright lights and the bigger city. In sets of studies at Stanford University, MIT, and University of Pennsylvania, these high sensation seekers were more likely to select “a refreshing peppermint blend” over “a relaxing blend of chamomile and mint,” the bottle of “Pure Excitement” water labeled in bright orange over the “Pure Calm” one labeled in green, and the more upbeat version of the song “Such Great Heights.”
     As you’d probably expect, high sensation seekers when compared to the calmness contingent are, on average, younger and focused on the future. However, as you might not expect, high sensation seekers are more likely than low-sensation seekers to react to the color red by resisting sales pressure and the temptation to buy.
     Continue to use red to stimulate purchasing. But with younger consumers, be ready to react to the shopper’s pushback:
  • When you see resistance developing, physically step away from the shopper for a brief time. Whenever possible, move to a less crowded shopping area or an area in which there is a large selection of products. 
  • Verbally step back by softening the rhetoric. Researchers at University of Illinois and University of Louisiana found more resistance when using phrasing like, “It’s impossible to deny all the evidence that the TMX-890 is the only choice for you,” than with, “Purchasing the TMX-890 makes the best sense for you.” 
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Impassion Yourself to Arouse Shoppers

Developing within your customers an allegiance to your store is great. Even better, though, is them having a passion for shopping with you. A time-tested way—and surely a necessary way—to arouse such a passion is for you to serve your customers well. Still, researchers at Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University, and University of Richmond say that good customer service, even if necessary, may not be sufficient. They suggest you also develop within yourself passion for the brands you carry. Your own emotional arousal by the brands stimulates within shoppers a devotion to spending time in your store that goes beyond allegiance.
     The researchers found that retailers’ passion toward the brands in the store is more likely when the brands have three characteristics, each of which contributes to an impression of brand authenticity:
  • Distinctiveness. The brand can be easily told apart from others in the same product category, perhaps through unique features or an unusual logo design. 
  • Scarcity. The brand is not especially popular, and that lack of popularity implies exclusivity and/or the need for special effort to obtain the brand. 
  • Continuity. The brand has been around for a while, and for the duration, the brand has been associated in the retailer’s mind with consistent fundamental characteristics. 
     Maybe the brand has been around for a while as it extends into new products. A University of Connecticut study looked at the LEGO brand during the time the company was expanding beyond building block products to children’s books, stickers for art projects, board games, and video games. Was LEGO losing its authenticity?
     Here’s my version of the research results, in the form of four questions you can ask yourself:
  • How well does this extension maintain brand standards and style? Degree-of-agreement items on the Connecticut researchers’ inventory included, “The standards of LEGO are apparently contained in this extension.” 
  • To what degree does the extension honor the brand heritage? “LEGO seems to have abandoned its roots with this extension.” 
  • How well does the extension preserve the brand essence? “This extension captures what makes LEGO unique to me.” 
  • Does the extension avoid brand exploitation? “With this extension, it seems that LEGO was more concerned with preserving the brand than growing the market.” 
     How does a retailer’s passion about a brand carry over to shoppers’ sentiments? It’s via the stories the retailer tells about the brand. So those stories themselves should indicate authenticity.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Horse Around with Healthy Selecting

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.” Along with being arguably the oldest proverb of English-language origin still regularly used, this sentiment serves as a caution for retailers aiming to increase the healthfulness of shoppers’ food and beverage purchases. We could carry nutritious items and then advertise and merchandise those particular items aggressively. But the individual shopper might still toss the unhealthy rubbish into their basket and toss out the idea of nutritious consumption.
     Research indicates that we can tilt the preferences in our favor—and in favor of the purchaser’s health—by recognizing that certain types of consumers are more likely to select the healthy option when they’ve recently encountered an unhealthy choice. In studies at Taiwan’s National Chung Hsing University, participants were assessed for their degree of calorie consciousness and degree of accurate nutrition knowledge. The participants were then offered a sequence of choices among healthier and less healthy food items.
     Those who had high calorie consciousness or highly accurate nutrition knowledge were more likely to select a healthy item if they’d first selected an unhealthy item. This finding is in accord with that from a New York University and University of Pennsylvania study in which when people put into their grocery shopping cart an item touted as healthy, the people became much more likely to select an unhealthy food item next. And that from City University of New York, Loyola College, and Duke University where when a healthy salad was added to a list of side dish choices, diners separately identified as high in self-control became more likely to order the French fries.
     To help your shoppers, give them license to marry healthy with a bit of the unhealthy. Researchers at Harvard University and Duke University were interested in whether shoppers who brought their own bags to a grocery store would purchase a higher number of organic versions of items. The answer was yes. On those trips when the consumer brought their own bags, they were more likely to buy organic than on those trips when that same consumer didn’t bring bags.
     But there was more to the story: When shoppers bought organic, they were also more likely to add candy bars and cookies. The indulgences were mostly small purchases, not adding much nutritional threat for the shoppers. Accommodating consumers’ desire for licensing could end up increasing your shoppers’ healthy choices.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Forget About It When It Comes to Failures

If time is limited—as it is for our customers and ourselves—we’ll gain more from analyzing our successes than analyzing our failures.
     This holds true for shoppers struggling to exert self-control in the face of unwise indulgences. Researchers at Boston College, University of Pittsburgh, and Vanderbilt University found that when consumers analyze their failures to resist, they actually become more likely to subsequently succumb. It made little difference whether the recollections came easily or not.
     On the other hand, thinking about successes strengthened resolve in the consumers. Here, the degree of effort in recall did make a difference. The easier it came, the better the self-control. So when you want to help your shoppers resist making unwise choices, help them to recall their prior successes in doing so.
     The principle of strengths over weaknesses also applies in our business decisions.
     Researchers at Warwick Business School, Durham Business School, and Nottingham University compared serial entrepreneurs to portfolio entrepreneurs. Serial entrepreneurs occupy themselves with one business concept at a time rather than undertaking a range of diverse business enterprises simultaneously. Portfolio entrepreneurs are those business people who diversify in their retailing endeavors, running a set of businesses at the same time. The researchers found that the portfolio entrepreneurs learned better from failure because they have less investment in defending their prior actions. Their pride isn’t tied so tightly to one enterprise. They experience less pain from failures and spend less time analyzing them.
     In employee coaching, also focus on the strengths. A literature review by researchers at University of Minnesota, Emory University, and George Mason University indicates that the changes most likely to succeed for a retailer are gradual and based on the retailer’s existing strengths. When you’re scheduling employees, when you’re considering employees for special assignments or promotion, when you’re needing to lay off employees, look at the successes more closely than the failures. The strengths more closely than the weaknesses.
     This means shoving aside some assumptions in techniques like SWOT, which was designed a half century ago to assess the internal strengths and weaknesses of a client and then the opportunities available to and threats facing the client because of external factors. The SWOT framework is sound. A particular advantage is that it considers the externalities usually overlooked in other needs assessment techniques. Still, SWOT works best when S and O receive more attention than W and T.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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