Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reach Out for What Will Touch Your Shoppers

Years ago, researchers at University of California-Los Angeles and University of Wisconsin-Madison found that having an undecided customer hold a product makes the customer much more likely to complete the purchase. Not only that, but the customer becomes willing to pay a higher price for the product.
     Why is that? Three reasons:
  • Touching the product gives the customer a sense of ownership. Have the shopper hold the puppy, and there’s no way they’ll want to let go.
  • Touching gives the shopper a sense of mastery from evaluating the product. Consumers poke the melons or rub the sweater, then put the item back and do the same to another one until they’ve decided it’s time to choose and they’ve sufficient information to make a choice.
  • Touching gives pleasure in itself, and people who are experiencing pleasure are more likely to make purchases. It works even when they’re touching people instead of merchandise. Researchers at Tel Aviv University assessed the results of a retail employee touching customers in settings that included a supermarket, a restaurant, and a bookstore. They reported that a brief touch on the arm of a customer led to the customer feeling more positive about the retailer.
     Although those three factors argue for you having customers touch products, there are challenges in you depending on touch as a selling tactic:
  • Some products are unpleasant for the customer to touch.
  • Adults vary considerably in the degree of pleasure they derive from touching.
  • There are cultures in which a shopper is offended by a salesperson touching them or asking them to hold products before making a purchase.
  • Customers have little interest in an item on a rack or shelf when they’re thinking about who else has touched it. They feel disgusted at the idea the product could have been contaminated by other shoppers.
  • Ecommerce allows few opportunities for the shopper to actually touch the product before purchase.
     Research at University of Oxford and University of Milano indicates that a salesperson can achieve the advantages of actual touch by emphasizing touch words—like soft, warm, or fluffy—and by the salesperson running their hands over products as they demonstrate them. The researchers coined the term “affective ventriloquism” to describe processes like these, in which vision and hearing evoke sensations of feeling the product.
     Reach out for words and sights that touch your shoppers.

Click below for more:
Touch Customers
Encourage Customers to Touch the Products
Head Off Concerns About Touching Products

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