Thursday, May 12, 2011

Emote Selectively

Researchers at National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University find that for certain consumers in the world, emotion sells, but for others, strong emotions irritate.
     The researchers coined the term “emotional receptivity” to describe this personality dimension among shoppers. In studies of sales presentations and fashion browsing, participating consumers felt greater enjoyment of the shopping experience and more positive feelings toward the retailer when there was a closer match of the salesperson’s level of emotional expression with the consumer’s degree of emotional receptivity.
     The Singapore/Nanyang researchers developed an inventory for measuring emotional receptivity. You’re unlikely to administer a personality test to each shopper entering your store, so you’ll need another way to do the assessment. Research findings from Universidad PĆ¹blica de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain indicate that a good technique is to monitor the extent to which your shopper uses emotion words themselves.
     With shoppers low in emotional receptivity, a touch of happy emotion might still make a difference. Researchers at University of California-San Diego and University of Michigan offered thirsty study participants a serving of a beverage. Along with this, some of the participants were exposed to a brief image of a frowning face and some to a brief image of a smiling face. The exposure was so brief that any notice of the emotion would almost surely be subconscious. In addition, the exposure of the emotion-laden face occurred along with the person being shown an emotionally neutral face for a long enough time to be consciously perceived.
     The thirsty people shown the smiling face didn’t report feeling much different from those shown the frowning face. However, those shown the smiling face poured more beverage from the pitcher into their cup, drank more from their cup, and were willing to pay about twice as much for the beverage. A smile—even one so brief as to have no conscious effect—made for more motivated consumers.
     Emotional receptivity seems to be a fairly stable characteristic of people, cultivated by both genetics and culture. Still, within each person, it also is affected by the situation. Music and colors in the store can increase or dampen it.
     Store salespersons have emotional receptivity and expressive thresholds themselves, of course. The Singapore/Nanyang researchers hold out their findings as a source of relief for frontline retail employees. It’s stressful, they say, to be expected to display nonstop exuberance to everybody walking by.

Click below for more:
Smile Often
Know How Much Emotion to Deliver
Emphasize Emotions with Older Consumers

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