Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Change Up How You Do Business

In the New Yorker cartoon, the devil himself is standing behind the host station at the entrance to Hell, preparing to write on a clipboard as he asks the new arrival, “And lastly, for all eternity, French, blue cheese, or ranch?”
     How hellish it would be to endure the same routine forever. We all like variety. People buy more jelly beans when they’re offered an assortment of colors. This is true even if all the different-colored jelly beans taste exactly the same. After reviewing fifty experiments involving more than 5,000 people, researchers at University of Basel in Switzerland, University of Mannheim in Germany, and Indiana University in the U.S. concluded that the more choices for the shopper and for the retailer, the better.
     However, although retailers like variety, many are too slow to initiate the changes in habits that variety makes possible. Are you one of those retailers? Do you feel as if you’re already being forced to accommodate enough changes without introducing more. Do you adhere to outdated habits because you find it hard to squeeze out the time just to sit and think, let alone strategically plan for change and then initiate the changes?
     Perhaps you’ll be surprised to hear about research findings from a team in Belgium: When handled correctly, our anxiety can make us more open to change. Here are some tips on doing it right:
  • Researchers at University of Minnesota, Emory University, and George Mason University suggest that you determine where you want to end up, and if this ending point is quite different from where you are now, then introduce at least one intermediate step. If you currently sell paint and you want to end up adding draperies, consider introducing wallpaper first. If you plan to phase out your entire stock of draperies, reduce the product assortment for a while before eliminating the product category completely.
  • It’s the changes we see as monumental which freeze us up. Research at University of California-Los Angeles, University of Cincinnati, and Miami University indicates that you can make an extreme change seem like a moderate change by stopping to notice ways in which the new is similar to the old.
  • Pace the change to fit your culture. Research indicates that people who identify with individualistic cultures (U.S., Canada, Australia) welcome more rapid changes than do consumers who identify with collectivist cultures (Turkey, Greece, China).
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
See Through Consumers’ Boredom Fears
Lead Your Customers Through Changes Gradually
Sell More By Adding Variety
Switch Brand Selection with Shopper Anxiety

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