Thursday, February 22, 2018

Segment Your Senior Market

Senior citizen shoppers differ in ways important for you to know. Certainly, abilities almost always deteriorate as we age. All consumers have that in common. But even with this, people age at different rates. Beyond that, because life experiences condition our shopping behavior, there is more variation among older than among younger adult shoppers simply because the older adults have had a greater multitude of life experiences.
     Researchers at Wageningen University approached this issue by considering criteria for useful segmentation of the senior market. Here is my version of the list:
  • Distinctiveness. The marketing approaches effective with each segment must be different enough to justify attention to which segment a shopper belongs. 
  • Substantiality. The number of seniors in a segment must be large enough to justify special attention to that segment. 
  • Stability. Membership in the identified segments must last at least the duration of a marketing campaign. 
  • Identifiability. To use the segmentation, the marketer must be able to tell who falls into what group. 
     The researchers then applied this framework to understanding the actual heterogeneity among elderly consumers who are selecting foods to purchase. Their review of the literature produced another list, this one of factors marketers might be able to profitability attend to for a segmentation of the market. These are not completely independent factors. They are associated with each other. Here’s my version of that list
  • Gender. Of the four factors, this one has the easiest identifiability. One implication is that women, compared to men, are more accepting of foods serving a nutritional function without highly pleasurable taste. 
  • Cognitive age. More important than calendar age is how old the shopper feels in their mind. Cognitively younger seniors are less likely to accept senior discounts than are cognitively older ones. 
  • Life stage. Seniors who are retired and on a fixed income purchase differently than do people of the same age who are still employed. Death of a mate, birth of grandchildren, remarriage, and relocation are other life events which often place a consumer into a distinctive life stage. 
  • Time perspective. Seniors with serious health problems consider their time as more limited than do younger seniors in good health. Hedonic products like tasty foods are especially appealing to seniors having a limited time perspective. Similarly, advertisements portraying strong positive and negative emotions, although attractive in general to seniors, carry extra influence with the segment having a limited time perspective. 
For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

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Schmooze Away Problems for Seniors
Clock Customer Actions to Fit Time Metaphors
Shape Benefits As Hedonic or Utilitarian

Monday, February 19, 2018

Crowd Humanized Brands Cautiously

When shoppers feel crowded, their behavior changes. According to studies at Columbia University and University of British Columbia, when shoppers from Western cultures are in tight spaces, they want greater variety among products. If they have fewer choices, they'll become less comfortable. Researchers at University of Kansas, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and University of Toronto found that one major effect is a retreat to safety. For instance, shoppers who encountered crowds of unfamiliar bodies preferred to shop for their headache relievers at a pharmacy than at a convenience store. In casinos, crowding moved typical gamblers toward less risky wagers.
     More recently, researchers at Lehigh University and Drexel University pointed out that the impact of crowding on a specific consumer depends on the prior experiences of the consumer shopping in crowds, the expectations of the consumer about the degree of crowding they’ll encounter, and the personality structure of the consumer. Those points preceded the researchers considering a question: Do shoppers respond differently to humanized brands when shopping in circumstances the shoppers consider to be crowded?
     Humanized brands—more commonly called anthropomorphized brands by marketing scientists—are those that have human-like characteristics. This might come from how the item looks, in a picture or name of a person on the packaging, or in the way an advertisement or the salesperson describes the item. The answer to the question turned out to be: Yes, shoppers who feel crowded will view a humanized brand much less favorably if the presentation of the brand indicates a desire to interact with the shopper.
     In one of the studies, a fictitious brand of coffee maker was presented to one group of consumers with the buttons arranged to resemble a human face and the tag line, “Together, you and I will explore a variety of coffee drinks.” The participants’ purchase intentions for the coffee maker were significantly less than was true with participants presented the coffee maker in less crowded circumstances or with the buttons not resembling a face and the less intrusive “I am Aroma. I will perfectly complement any occasion!” tag line.
     However, in a parallel set of studies in which the participants were made to feel uncrowded, the results were reversed: The “Together, you and I….” resulted in higher purchase intentions than did the “I am Aroma.”
     When using in-store or other public area signage which is promoting your anthropomorphized brands, carefully consider the likely degree of perceived crowding among the intended audiences.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

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Form Crowds into In-Groups
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Satisfy Seniors Who Satisfice

Older adults will more often take shortcuts in decision making of various types than will younger adults.
  • Almost all adult shoppers make routine purchases using minimum deliberation. But with more demanding objectives, shoppers of average age 68 years searched less intently than did shoppers of average age 36. The task for the study participants at University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale was to identify the breakfast cereals which had less than 200 milligrams of sodium and at least two grams of fiber in a serving. 
  • The setting for a Bowling Green University study was a simulated yard sale in which participants were asked to sell a set of items at the highest possible prices. The results indicated that younger adults are more likely than older adults to take into account the full pattern of offers made by potential buyers. The researchers attribute the older adults’ single-deal strategy to them having inferiorities in working memory. 
  • A set of University of Kentucky studies explored age differences in methods of political decision making. The finding was that the voters of average age 24 years were especially likely to select a candidate by considering the stand each in the field had taken on a set of issues. By contrast, those of average age 72 were especially likely to select the first candidate they came across whose stand on the issues pleased them. 
     The use of shortcuts in these ways is called “satisficing.” As was seen in the breakfast cereal study, all consumers generally will satisfice when the decisions are routine. The differences between younger and older adults appear when there’s complexity involved. Because older consumers are more likely to satisfice, meet their preferences by keeping the decision making procedure no more complex than is necessary. You might curate the alternatives before presentation or recommend compromise choices.
     Although almost all elderly consumers are more likely to satisfice than are their younger counterparts, some are especially likely. Genetics and early life experiences influence how receptive a particular senior is to favor satisficing. There are situational factors, too. Researchers at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics-Liulin say that a priming question prior to the actual decision task makes a difference. “Which of the three pets is the smartest—dog, cat, or fish?” would nudge an older consumer toward maximizing. “Which animal would you be willing to live with—dog, cat, or fish?” nudges toward satisficing.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Taste the Benefits of Product Sampling

Inviting shoppers to try a small free sample of an appealing food or beverage in your store increases sales not only for that item, but also for appealing alternatives in the same product category. Moreover, the positive profitability aftereffects of a sampling promotion linger better than do those from a price promotion on the same item. Repeated sampling events for an item have a multiplicative effect, not just an additive effect, on sales.
     These are the overall findings from carefully designed research at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Brigham Young University, and Singapore Management University. Sampling allows people to touch, smell, and taste the item, thereby making the shopping experience more stimulating. Consumer engagement breaks through the distractions that block sales. Products realizing the greatest sales boosts from sampling will be those with the most engaging sensory characteristics. The researchers also found that sampling produces superior results when the number of alternatives in the product category is limited rather than expansive.
     In the studies, some stores had significantly better results from sampling than did others. I suggest you experiment with what works for you and where in your store you should place the sampling station. My experience is that it’s best located in a well-lit area where a number of people can gather. We want shoppers to be attracted by seeing others sampling and then not feel crowded when doing the sampling. We also want the shoppers to hang around long enough to get their questions answered by friendly staff who are distributing the samples.
     Manning the sampling station heads off the cheating that alienates shoppers. Too often, people ravage a tray of free samples. Researchers at University of British Columbia and University of Alberta saw that other shoppers who witness this happening are tempted to punish the offender. The mental turmoil inside the heads of these shoppers preoccupies their thinking, and preoccupied consumers often buy less.
     Make it easy to buy the product by having the merchandise for purchase adjacent to the sampling station. When the item is unfamiliar to typical shoppers, another advantage of doing this is that it places the item in a second location in the store, increasing the familiarity that leads to sales. Especially with the unfamiliar product lines, combine sampling with attention-getting store displays, couponing, temporary price reductions, or rebates. Extra excitement comes when the sampling is part of a special event at your store.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Manage Risks for Seniors Who Gamble

As long as risks to security aren’t excessive, gambling can be a positive pastime for older adults. In a review of twenty years of studies worldwide on the topic, researchers at Bangkok University concluded that gambling often provides seniors with valuable social interaction and mental stimulation. Casino gambling is the most popular day-trip social activity for people at least age 65 living in residential and assisted care facilities, with a major motivation being the opportunity to meet and talk with others. Lotteries, the most common form of gambling among older adults, provide excitement and a break from the routine, said the studies’ participants.
     It might seem that those of advanced age would be more susceptible to problem gambling. Aging brings deficits in learning from recent experiences and in impulse control. However, the research review indicated that the rate of problem gambling is not higher among older adults than in other age groups. One explanation is that those with severe deficits select themselves out or are otherwise less likely to place themselves in gambling situations.
     Still, when problem gambling does exist, the consequences could be more severe, since older adults have fewer years and, in general, less ongoing monetary income to recover from losses. Therefore, marketers who promote gambling by seniors also have a responsibility to facilitate those seniors managing the risks.
     One validated technique is to regularly remind the seniors of the dangers. This is best done with stories rather than statistics alone, since stories are more persuasive. Study results from High Point University and Bradley University suggest that people who lightly engage in problem gambling will probably respond best to stories which, without apparent exaggeration, portray the negative consequences of continuing. For heavy abusers—those who might be considered gambling addicts—go positive instead, pointing out the benefits of cessation for people like them.
     Labeling gambling for what it truly is also helps. People who have never before wagered online are less likely to overdo if it’s called “gambling” rather than “gaming.”
     In an exploratory study, interviewers at Portugal’s University of Porto heard from older adults that reminders of dangers and accurate labeling of gambling as an activity in which you’re bound to lose money in the long run both work well in curbing problem gambling. Another technique suggested in the interviews was to encourage the senior, before entering a casino, set limits on what money and time will be spent.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Craft Powerful Stories
Frame with Phrasing
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