Monday, September 26, 2016

Respond Selectively to Negative Reviews

With the proliferation of review channels and with everybody considering themselves to be an expert reviewer, it could consume too much of your time to swat at every fly. Better to respond selectively.
     How to select? Researchers at Louisiana State University, Fairfield University, and University of Alabama provide one indicator—the appearance of “negatively-valenced emotional expressions.” That’s the term the researchers concocted to cover the use of all caps, exclamation points, emoticons, or extreme language. Prospective customers place especially high trust in negative reviews posted online when the review is written by someone the reader considers to have expertise about shopping at the store and the reviewer uses NVEE.
     Those, then, are the negative reviews you want to select for your priority replies. Explain your perspective on the complaint or criticism and, if you’re making changes, specify what they are.
     Not responding to every negative review is challenging. The conscientious retailer can come to take praise for granted. This gives the criticism an unbalanced importance. We learn of a few criticisms and think this represents the views of a large number of people.
     To restrain yourself from overreacting to negative online reviews, realize that even the most biting critique of your retail business could bring profitable attention. Research supports this argument, with the condition that you openly welcome shoppers asking you about any of the points in the review.
     Studies at Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Pennsylvania plotted the relationship between controversy about a topic and the interest of people in talking about that topic. The finding is that as the amount of controversy increases, people do want to talk about it more.
     Thus, even a negative review of your business can draw people to tune into your social media channels and come into your restaurant, clinic, office, or store to hear your retort. Actually, consumers who are having a difficult time selecting between alternatives appreciate—and may even seek out—criticism of one of the products or stores. This helps the consumer make the decision.
     Acknowledge the negative review if asked about it. Researchers at European University Viadrina find that when a salesperson does this, the shopper becomes more likely to trust everything the salesperson says. Keep the words and logic simple. The researchers find that if there’s too much complexity, the shopper no longer hooks the acknowledgement of negative information to the salesperson’s credibility.

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

Click below for more: 
Welcome Shoppers’ Questions About Negatives
Restrain Your Overreaction to Criticism
Prevent Store Brand Sabotage
Sell More by Being Less Certain

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Celebrate Shoppers Who Celebrate

Often, consumers who have surmounted a hurdle, such as graduating from their university, want to celebrate with a hearty party and an expensive purchase. When they come into your store, be ready to satisfy one or both of those wants.
     Researchers at University of Toronto, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and China’s Sun Yat-sen University say you can do a better job of it by determining why the consumer thinks they were successful. If they think it was more because of their special abilities than because of their hard work, suggest a distinctive product or experience. In the experiments, people who said, “I truly felt that I am superior to others,” or, “I felt my success is due to something born to me,” were more likely to choose a distinctive looking shirt or a less popular luxury coffee maker than were people who said, “I felt my success is due to my hard work,” or, “I truly felt that if other people devote the same amount of effort, they can be as successful as me.” In an example of their point, the researchers predict that when pride in the accomplishment comes from a belief in superior abilities, celebration at a restaurant will include limited-edition hand-crafted microbrews rather than doses of the signature best-selling cocktail.
     When a group, such as gathering of graduating seniors, is celebrating together, other psychological forces drive the purchase decisions. Whether a shopper is a variety seeker or conformist depends in part on the degree of conformity of others in the group. Again using the restaurant experience as an example, consider the findings of an observational study conducted with diners at Flam's in Paris by researchers from Sorbonne-Assas in France and University of Adelaide in Australia.
     The researchers found that when about 30% to 80% of a group had ordered the same choice, people placing their orders next tended to go along with ordering this choice for themselves. But once the conformity exceeded 80%, subsequent orders were much more likely to show variety seeking.
     If you're selling fancy bracelets or briefcases instead of brioche, or if you're doing business in Paris, Texas, instead of Paris, France, the percentages will probably be different. But in any case, do your merchandising and selling with the expectation you'll be having both conformists and variety seekers as celebrant shoppers. Welcome all, and remember to extend your sincere congratulations!

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

Click below for more: 
Expect Shopper Conformity & Variety Seeking
Navigate Shoppers Toward Distinctiveness
Offer Variations to Ease Fear of Conformity
Distinguish Activity from Accomplishment

Monday, September 19, 2016

Shy Away from Frightening Off Introverts

Some shoppers don’t want to be bothered interacting with you. They’re shy. A bricks-and-mortar retailer can catch sales dollars from these introverts by maintaining an ecommerce presence. But study results from Temple University suggest a better strategy is to make in-store experiences more pleasant for shy shoppers.
     Those studies found that when online shoppers come to the store, such as to pick up items, they buy more. Impulse items, and tactile-appeal goods such as shoes and cosmetics sell better there. Exclusively online shoppers who were convinced to come to the physical store with a discount coupon yielded from two to eight times as much profit from sales. Contrast that with what happened for customers who lived a distance from the store and had shopped exclusively in the store. When these customers were incentivized to shop online, profits from those online sales were only half as much as with store sales.
     But this was with all customers, not just the introverted ones. How do we make the introverts more comfortable? Researchers at Universit√© Paris Dauphine and PSL Research University suggest you begin by recognizing the situations the shy tend to shy away from:
  • Purchases of a type the shopper hasn’t made recently 
  • Purchases in which the shopper isn’t sure how long the transaction will take or how many subsequent visits will be required 
  • Situations in which the salesperson comes toward the shopper quickly, especially if the store layout makes it difficult for the shopper to move away 
  • The shopper is offered special treatment which singles them out 
     Look for signs of social anxiety in someone considering an unfamiliar purchase. If you do spot those signs, tell the shopper your estimate of how long a typical transaction takes and how many, if any, repeat visits to the store they should expect. Physically step away from the shopper briefly. If feasible, move to a less crowded shopping area or an area in which there is a large selection of products. Researchers at Columbia University and University of British Columbia found that crowded store spaces and limited product assortment heighten shopper discomfort. Verbally step back by softening the rhetoric. Researchers at University of Illinois and University of Louisiana found more sales 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

Click below for more: 
Utilize Multichannel with Hedonic Selling
Unbox the Resistant Customer
Intercept Shoppers Fruitfully
Beware Open Sell

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tune In to the Supplier Channel Together

Just as in your relationships with your store customers, it’s best when your buyer-seller interactions with your store’s merchandise suppliers can emphasize common interests. Most obvious among those is the objective of selling lots of whatever your suppliers sell to you. And most obvious of the areas in which interests can diverge is when it comes to payment terms.
     There are also areas for potential disagreement which could stay hidden unless you tune in to them together with your suppliers. Retailing scholars at Cornell University and Arizona State University identified one example—the container size of consumer packaged goods. Their research showed how suppliers benefit when a store carries larger package sizes. The profit margin per unit is bigger. However, the small to midsize retailer does better to have smaller packages sizes. Smaller packages ease the customer shock from price increases, since the absolute dollar amount of the hike is less. The smaller package footprint allows a broader variety of items to be stocked on the shelves, so the retailer can satisfy the needs and desires of more people. And in general, consumers like the option of a range of package sizes, including small packages.
     Once you’ve surfaced these sorts of divergent interests, negotiate collaborative solutions. For influence in the negotiations, show your value to your suppliers. Based on Arizona State University research about influencing in retailing, here are three approaches:
  • Distinctiveness. What do you offer your supplier that other customers do not? If you are a multistore retailer, what you have is the ability to place especially large orders. If you’re an independent one-store business, you can offer a distinctive flexibility in choosing to showcase items the supplier wants to try out at retail. 
  • Expertise. You’re closer to the customer than is the supplier. What valuable advice can you provide about product complaints and market trends? 
  • Consistency. If you’ve been a reliable account, placing orders predictably and paying on schedule, be sure your supplier recognizes this. If you’ve agreed to use point-of-purchase displays, use them as intended and report the results. 
     Another set of ways to tune in together is to undertake collaborative projects. For instance, have suppliers train your staff and shoppers. Checking out the quality of the training is a chance to team up with retailers who operate businesses like yours. Ask the supplier to put you in contact with other retailers where the supplier has done training.

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

Click below for more: 
Show Your Value to Your Suppliers
Have Suppliers Train Staff & Shoppers

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hover Within the Shopper’s Power Level

International cultures differ on something named Power Distance Belief (PDB) by researchers at University of Texas-San Antonio, Pennsylvania State University, and Rice University. The “power” refers to the degree of influence people have over others. The “distance belief” refers to the degree to which a consumer accepts that there are wide differences in the amount of power possessed by people.
     North American and European residents have low PDB scores, believing that in retail transactions, for example, the salesperson and the shopper deserve to have about an equal amount of influence. Still, the level of power your shopper feels can differ depending on personality factors like a desire for domination and situational factors like high or low expertise about a product or service category. Researchers at INSEAD-France, Northwestern University, and Columbia University find that, at least in France and the U.S., you’re more likely to make a sale when you position yourself at a point within the range of the power shown by the shopper.
     High-power persuasion transactions emphasize shows of competence, so when your shopper flashes competence, flash it back. Low-power persuasion transactions emphasize warmth, so when your shopper exudes warmth, generate it back. Other research finds that you can navigate toward the right power zone by phrasing you use. “At our store, you’re the boss” moves you toward lower power, while “At our store, we take care of you” moves you higher. To manipulate a sense of power for a sequence of consumer behavior experiments, researchers at Stanford University and Tilburg University had people sit on either a tall chair or a low ottoman.
     Researchers at Cornell University and University of Michigan showed some study participants pictures of SUVs facing directly toward the viewer, while others were shown side views of the vehicles. The consumers seeing the head-on perspective gave higher average ratings of the SUV on words like “dominant” and “powerful.” Then another set of study participants, asked to assess the status and power of the SUV’s owner, were more likely to say “high status, high power” if shown the head-on view of the vehicle than if shown the side view.
     When the same experiments were done with pictures of family sedans, there were no differences in the degree of rated power for the car or for the owners. The conclusion: People seeking the product associated with power will get more interested if the view is head-on.

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

Click below for more: 
Yield to Power Distance Belief
Embrace Shopper Expertise
Add to Global Warming in Your Store
Hang ’Em High for Power Deposits
Head On In To Portray Power Products
Power Tools to Empower Women