Friday, November 25, 2011

Limit Variety as Shoppers Approach Goals

For many years, consumer behavior researchers have known that a large variety of offerings attracts shoppers, but as shoppers get closer to wanting to make a purchase decision, they welcome a pruning down of variety. They prefer a smaller assortment to assess.
     Now researchers at University of Maryland find a parallel phenomenon with consumers who are working toward a goal over time, such as a fitness program, a diabetes maintenance program, or physical rehabilitation from a serious injury. At the start of the program, the merchant or professional should offer the customer a broad variety of assistance items. Then as the customer feels closer to achieving the goal, offer a more limited selection.
     In one study, the researchers asked each of a set of college students to write down an individual fitness goal. Next, some of the study participants were given evidence they were close to reaching the goal, while others were led to believe they were far from the goal.
     All the participants were then shown a set of six protein items. In some cases, the items were all protein bars differing only in flavor. Six different flavors. This was a low-variety set. The other participants—some who felt close to their goal and some who felt far from it—were presented a high-variety set that included a protein bar, a protein shake, and four other forms of protein supplement. Six different forms.
     As a last step in the study, each participant was measured on their motivation to achieve the fitness goal. Here’s what the researchers found: Among consumers who felt far from the goal, motivation was higher when the consumer was asked to choose among the high-variety set. On the other hand, among consumers who felt close to the goal, motivation to achieve the goal was higher when the consumer was asked to choose among the low-variety set.
     Based on findings like these, the researchers suggest the plan of offering the goal-seeker a broad variety of assistance items at the start and then, as the customer feels closer to achieving the goal, offering a more limited selection.
     With a self-help group working together toward a goal, the “from lots to little variety” works best when the group feels they are all at a similar progress point. One way to accomplish this is for the service provider to encourage group members to take responsibility for each other’s progress.

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

Click below for more:
Protect Shoppers From Too Many Choices
Perpetuate the Health Momentum

No comments:

Post a Comment