Thursday, September 6, 2012
Be Alert for the Effects of Shopper Attention!
One of the party holds out a camera phone and asks you to take a shot. Ah, another opportunity to create memories of indulgent abandon as reflected in a photo the diners can pass around to look at right away.
Oh, one thing, though. Take care to include only the people and omit the delicious dessert from the picture. Otherwise, you risk spoiling their appetites.
It’s not that the dessert is ugly. It’s that attention to the indulgence can produce guilt about indulging.
Some years ago, researchers at University of Wisconsin-Madison asked study participants to keep a diary of what they ate. They were to take a photograph of each meal beforehand and then, after the meal, write down what they consumed. Interviews with the participants gave evidence that the photos put a damper on deviating from a healthy diet. The effect was greater than from the written diary.
Was this because pictures speak louder than words? Could be, but an equally likely possibility is that the effect of the photos was stronger because it came before the eating commenced.
In a more recent study, researchers at University of Minnesota and Texas A&M University asked college students to eat. No problem getting volunteers, I imagine. Among the available snacks were the relatively healthful—nuts, raisins, granola bars—and the relatively indulgent—M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey’s chocolate.
A set of the study participants were asked to count the number of times they swallowed, using a clicker. Others were not asked to click. The result of clicking was that the indulgent snacks were enjoyed less, and the students felt less need to eat those snacks.
So it seems the lesson for restaurateurs and other retailers is to realize that bringing close attention to consuming or using an indulgence makes it less attractive to the consumer. Be alert for the effects of shopper attention.
But wait, there’s more! The clicker effect held for those with low self-control more than for those with high self-control. How to tell if your shoppers have high or low self-control? Watch and listen for the signs.
Click below for more:
Balance Healthy and Indulgent in Merchandise
Lean Away from Big Fat Shopper Decisions
Ventilate Frustration When Promoting Self-Control
Posted by Bruce D. Sanders, Ph.D. at 9:00 AM