Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Couch Retail Therapy for Chronic Conditions

The term “retail therapy” describes the intentional use of shopping by people who are feeling sad in order to improve their mood. Retailers who create tempting store environments enhance the effectiveness of retail therapy for purchasers, as well as for browsers.
     But do consumers seeking retail therapy go overboard in making impulse purchases from you they’ll regret later? Will any such regret lead to the shopper avoiding your store afterwards? Is it an ethical business practice to couch your sales pitches in ways that prey on a customer’s sadness?
     Researchers at Pennsylvania State University and HEC-Paris have answered those questions. With the exception of the 5% of adults who suffer from Compulsive Buying Disorder, people seeking retail therapy are fully capable of exercising self-control. Their shopping is mindful, not mindless. They restrain themselves because the restraint itself helps lift their spirits.
     These consumers do make unplanned purchases, but unplanned only in the sense that they might not have decided in advance which specific treats they will buy for themselves. In fact, research indicates that most shoppers make plans to make unplanned purchases.
     A University of Pittsburgh and Baylor University study was conducted at several Texas grocery stores. Before starting their shopping, participants were asked to estimate how much they planned to spend. For more than 75% of the shoppers, the amount they thought they’d spend altogether was more than the amount they estimated to be the cost of items they planned to buy. These shoppers had prepared themselves to come across both needs they’d forgotten to include on their shopping list and items they wouldn’t realize they wanted until the items were in front of them or in their hands.
     Then the researchers found even more evidence that shoppers carefully plan to do the unplanned: It turned out that the shoppers were very accurate in predicting how much they’d spend altogether. The average overall difference between predicted spending and actual spending was only 47¢.
     The Pennsylvania/HEC researchers also found that the restorative benefits of retail therapy last well beyond the duration of the shopping trips. These consumers associate relief with their trips, not regret or guilt for making unplanned purchases. Instead of avoiding the stores in the future, they become more likely to return whenever sadness reoccurs. Feeling down from time to time is a chronic condition. Show how you understand, and your store will become the therapeutic couch.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Compulsive Buying Disorder. Okay, Laugh
Sell Impulse Items to Serve
Show Impulse Purchase Items for Groups
Suggest Nostalgic Items to Lonely Shoppers

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