Friday, December 31, 2010

Combat Your Competitors’ Trivial Claims

Some retailers claim an advantage based on features that are trivial or simply useless:
  • Including silk fibers in a shampoo doesn’t improve the product performance.
  • A store that guarantees to match a price on a purchase if the customer bring in a receipt for a subsequent purchase of the same item elsewhere isn’t offering the customer anything truly valuable. Making the two purchases and then returning to the first store is more trouble than it’s worth.
  • A repair service that guarantees same-day response at an extra fee could be seen as misleading consumers if almost everyone routinely gets a same-day response anyway.
     Disappointing news for the honest retailer is that such claims of worthless features do influence shoppers in important ways. University of Mannheim researchers found that a store, product, or service advertising a trivial attribute not claimed by others does become more likely to:
  • Draw the attention of the shopper to the complete selling message
  • Impress the shopper that the offering is highly distinctive or even one-of-a-kind
  • Convince the consumer to shop at the store or purchase the product or service
  • Leave the purchaser with the impression that the price paid is fair
  • Build positive attitudes toward the store and/or other products or services carrying the brand name
     What can the honest retailer do to combat the influence of trivial claims by competitors? The answer resides in why consumers react this way. It isn’t from lack of knowledge. As part of their study, the Mannheim researchers educated the consumer participants about the meaninglessness of the claims. This failed to erase the effects.
     Instead, there are two reasons for the influence of the irrelevant:
  • Information overload. Consumers are being called on to wade through an abundance of information when making a purchase decision. In these situations, shoppers’ minds take shortcuts. Nine features are better than six, even when three of them are probably useless. The answer for you, the honest retailer: Restate the six genuinely valuable features so you have a competitive list of nine.
  • Option value. Even if a feature is useless now, maybe it’ll be valuable later. The consumer is willing to pay more or to make a selection in order to preserve the option to have the feature available. The answer for honest retailers: Offer combinations of upgrades, downgrades, trade-ins, and liberal return policies.
Click below for more:
Compare Features to Ease Overload
Dislodge Indecision with New Choice
Use Dissatisfaction as a Selling Opportunity

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