Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Appeal to Vanity

A recent article in the Pulitzer Prize winning Chicago Sun-Times blatantly exposes a scam in which customers are gleefully mislead by retailers. The scam is “vanity sizing.” A twist, however, is that the glee in the misleading might be felt as strongly by the customer as by the retailer.
     Fashion retailers intentionally mislabel the sizes on clothing so that shoppers think they can fit into a size 10 when a standard measurement chart would tag the item as a size 12. The phenomenon is seen most often with women’s clothing, but a number of British retailers are also using “manity sizing,” labeling trousers as a smaller size than they really are. Debenhams, Next, and Topman were selling pants up to one inch larger than labeled. The objective is to have customers say, “I feel better about myself when shopping at that store rather than elsewhere, so I’ll make more of my purchases there.”
     The Sun-Times article reports on research at University of North Texas which finds that:
  • More expensive clothing is more likely to use vanity sizing. Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein clothing items were especially tolerant of size label distortions.
  • Consumers 20 to 29 years of age are more pleased with vanity sizing than are consumers 40 to 49 years of age. As our population ages, people want more accurate sizing information. Macy’s and Lane Bryant have begun to provide such information online.
     Researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology found that even phony flattery can facilitate sales. This works best if the customer is distracted from thinking about the flattery having been phony, such as by being rushed or making a selection after some time has passed.
     Still, for best long-term results, give genuine praise.
  • Flatter expertise. Researchers at Duke University saw that a motivator for many experts is showing off their knowledge. Say to the expert something like, “It is clear that you know a lot about this type of product. May I share with you some of the latest versions we have and ask you what benefits you see that these new products hold for our customers?”
  • When customers are completing their purchases, 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, and invite them to return to tell you how their purchases worked out for them.
Click below for more:
Check that Vanity Appeals Aren’t in Vain
Praise Your Customers
Flatter Shoppers with Care and Caring

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