Friday, May 20, 2011

Resolve Incongruity via Additional Sales

In Retailer’s Edge, I lead off with the report about a customer who returns a dress because, although it would look good on her friend who recommended the dress to the customer, the customer came to realize the dress would be not aesthetically pleasing on herself. The skilled saleswoman turns this merchandise return into a potential sale to the friend.
     A variation on this theme is reflected in research findings from University of Houston and Boston College: In many cases, when a customer concludes that there’s an aesthetic mismatch between a purchase and their belongings surrounding it, the customer will consider returning the product, and this return visit can be turned into making a sale.
     We’re all familiar with stories of the woman who starts out buying a new pair of shoes, and then decides she has to get a new dress to fit with the shoes, and a new hairdo to fit with the dress, and so on. So the urge for congruity often arises on its own. But it’s more likely with certain sorts of items and in certain sorts of stores.
     As to items, the Houston/Boston research finds that it’s most likely with designer product lines, luxury branded items, and/or unusually designed consumer goods. This has to do with a regret/frustration balance. When people find that an item doesn’t fit in, they’ll evaluate how important distinctive design was in their decision to make the buy. If it was quite important, they’ll feel frustrated and want to purchase additional items to make the original purchase fit. But if the distinctive design was not an important factor, the person will regret buying the item and so will want to return it.
     And interest in further purchases is more likely when the store design is itself aesthetically pleasing:
  • The underlying design should be balanced, with mostly matching elements on the left and right and in the front and rear. But there also should be a few asymmetries.
  • Customers find visual aesthetic pleasure in layouts and décor that repeat themes. If a visual design theme is also reflected in sounds or aromas in the store, this augments the aesthetics.
  • Familiarity helps. This often results from using in the store a principle of design common in a culture. In China, stores designed according to the principle of feng shui are often familiar, and therefore more aesthetically pleasing.
Click below for more:
Design Stores with Visual Aesthetics

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