Sunday, March 13, 2011

Branch Out Scripts to Allow for Rituals

I’m a fan of scripting what we say and do with shoppers. It’s not that I expect the retailer to recite the exact words I suggest or carry out the precise actions I propose. It’s that I find scripting a good way to explain what I mean. Then I recommend the retailer be flexible in adjusting the phrasing and behaviors to fit their style.
     There’s also a need for flexibility on-the-fly when using scripts because many shoppers follow rituals. For instance, have you noticed how some shoppers will complain and complain about a product or service that seems ideally suited to the shopper's needs and desires, and then after all the complaining and what seems to be arguing with the salesperson, the shopper will go right ahead and buy the offering?
     Other shoppers come into your store asking for a specific product and brand, but before buying it, as they'll end up doing, they want to hear about at least a few alternatives, as if to convince themselves they're making the right decision.
     And then there are those customers who refuse to buy a product until they can take it out of the packaging and run their hands over it. This last group, not surprisingly, resist making purchases over the Internet, although, according to researchers at University of Kentucky and University of Wisconsin, rituals of the grasp-and-caress crowd can be satisfied with written or spoken descriptions of all the different textures the product has.
     The complaining, arguing, searching, and caressing are shopping rituals. I'm sure there are many others you've seen as well, some even more bothersome than my three examples. As salespeople gain experience, they learn to respect the customer going through the ritual—or if not respecting the ritual, at least staying out of the way of the ritual as much as possible.
     Most shopping rituals are quite deep-seated in the personality because they were introduced early in life as the child watched others shop and was coached by parents. Some shopping rituals, such as a need to handle or smell products, often have their origins before birth, being hardwired in as the brain developed in the womb.
     Researchers at New York University have verified how uncomfortable certain consumers become when retailers’ service scripts don’t take account of the individual consumer’s shopping rituals. Develop scripts that prepare sales staff to flexibly branch out with different alternatives.

Click below for more:
Let Shoppers Go Through Their Rituals

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