Although there is a little detail in the Skype initiative which does concern me, the overall concept is nice. Fashion apparel is one of the many product categories carrying a high potential for social risk. The social risk question is, “If the people I admire know I'm using this product or service, am I in danger of falling out of favor with them?”
Ease social risk by making it easy for shoppers to bring along others or to contact them via mobile phone from the shopping area. Skype broadens the video opportunities. The advisors can be in more places.
This Sears Canada initiative also addresses two other sorts of shopper risk:
- Financial. The shopper’s question here is, “Am I paying too much money?” Friends and family can share their answers to that question.
- Psychological. While social risk involves, “What will others think of me?,” psychological risk involves, “Does using this product or service conflict with the image I want to maintain of myself?” A shopper motivated to maintain a self-image of distinctiveness, for instance, can use the Skype call to size up the odds of being a conformist if they choose the product or service they’re considering.
Retailers long ago learned that even in the most spacious store, a women’s cosmetics section should include alcoves in which the shopper can feel a sense of privacy. Combine social risk with trendy products, and you’ve a formula for shopper shyness. A 58-inch monitor screen isn’t the same as a movie theatre screen, and a shopper sending her image to known friends via Skype isn’t as bad as inviting strangers to watch from the audience. Still, if you fail to accommodate the desire for privacy, it could mean a sale fades out without credits—or cash. The end.
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Reduce Unwanted Risks for Your Shoppers