Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Romance the Customer, But Professionally

Compared to ecommerce retailing, bricks-and-mortar retailers have an easier time in two ways:
  • Developing person-to-person relationships between the salesperson and the customers
  • Creating a multifaceted entertainment experience
     But if you’re a B&M retailer, these relative advantages will pay off for you only if you use them in ways that build an entertaining personal relationship with your store. Sort of what happens when we love a movie because we identify with the actors.
     So let’s enter the realm of the cinema. Researchers at Roma Tre University and Columbia University analyzed audience ratings of 440 movies nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. The researchers asked, “What’s the relationship between a movie viewer identifying with an actor in the movie and the viewer rating the movie as excellent?”
     The researchers predicted that the viewer’s identification with a leading star who is about the same age as the viewer and the same gender would carry a lot of weight. But after analyzing the data, the researchers had to admit they were wrong. What did make a difference was the viewer’s identification with relating to opposite-gender stars who were somewhat younger than the viewer. When the movie romanced the viewer, the viewer liked the movie.
     Okay, everybody out of the theatre and back to the store. Does this mean that each time a customer enters, you should flirt shamelessly or at least invite them to dance to your store’s background music? No, but it does mean you should romance the customer.
     Keep the interactions professional. Be ready for a mix of what University of Geneva researchers call “secure business attachment” and “close business attachment.” In the first, the customer wants to rely on you for quick answers to questions about purchases made and for quick solutions to problems with purchases. In the second, the customer wants to exchange information about family and friends.
     The Geneva researchers recommend that when a business-to-business retailer invites a customer to dinner, the customer’s romantic partner be invited as well: B2B customers who demonstrate secure attachment with a romantic partner experience higher satisfaction, trust, and repurchase intentions when doing business with a retailer.
     With all sorts of customers, romance through entertainment. Hey, you’re competing for the customer’s dollar. Each hour a person is sitting in front of the movie screen fantasizing is an hour they’re not shopping with you.

Click below for more:
Learn the Relationship B2B Customers Want

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