However, before we get too mushy about this, let’s recognize that a primary motivation for you doing this is to increase your sales.
Researchers at University of Texas-Austin and Switzerland’s University of Bern looked at the emotional attachment of a total of more than 2,300 consumers to a total of 167 brands retailers carry. They found that consumers are more likely to form an emotional attachment to an item at retail if the consumer sees the item as fitting their image of their current self rather than of the person they aspire to be. Shoppers hesitate reaching out too far.
But maintaining the status quo will result in smaller shopping basket totals. We’d prefer our shoppers to aspire. Consumer psychologists use the term “aspirational group” to refer to a cultural group that a consumer wants to join, but believes they do not belong to yet. Newly minted MBAs may aspire to become part of a business professionals’ culture. Hispanic youth attending a U.S. university might aspire to view themselves as mainstream American college kids.
To trigger aspiration, build self-esteem.
- Flatter expertise. Researchers at Duke University saw that a motivator for many experts is showing off their knowledge.
- For the best long-term results, give genuine praise. But researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology find that even insincere flattery can be effective.
- Each time you personalize the selling message by referring to a characteristic of the shopper, you’re delivering a compliment. Even the smallest things can give you a retailer’s edge. For example, researchers at Universiteit Leuven in Belgium find that across languages and cultures, people’s self-esteem is heightened if their name is used.
- When the customer is completing their purchase, they are more interested in reassurance than in benefits statements. This is a prime opportunity for praise. Compliment them on the good decisions they made. Invite them to return to tell you how their purchases worked out for them.
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers
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Praise Your Customers
Notice Customers’ Cultural Aspirations