Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bear with Care When Wanting Self-Control

University of Minnesota researchers asked study participants to spend six minutes writing down every little thought. Sounds simple enough, and it was. For half of the total group. But a complication was added for the other half: “Each time you think of a white bear, do not write that down. Instead, place a checkmark on the paper.”
     What better way to get people to start thinking about white bears than to bring up that they might do so? Not thinking about white bears after those instructions would require substantial self-control. It also would require self-control to remember not to document any breakthrough white bear thoughts except with a checkmark. 
     This all was part of what the researchers were looking at. The rest came when each of the study participants was given $10 to spend on items at a bookstore and told that any unspent money could be taken home. The experimental question: “Would consumers who had exerted the self-control be less able to limit their spending?”
     The answer turned out to be a clear yes. The participants not given the “white bear” instructions spent an average of $1.21 and took home the other $8.79. The “white bear” group spent $4.05.
     It seems that higher purchase totals will come at your store from people who aren’t exercising high self-control, such as being on a diet.
     However, what if your retailing consists of asking people to be on diet or otherwise exert self-control?
  • Weight-loss programs keep their customers by convincing the customers they can make sacrifices and then seeing to it that they do. 
  • Merchants who allow purchasers to pay off an item over time, such as on layaway, depend on the person disciplining themselves. 
  • When the retailer is selling to children who aren’t footing the bill, the retailer almost comes to expect the child to say, “I don’t want this one or that one. I want all of them, and I want all of them right now.” 
     In those sorts of situations, strengthen the relationship with the customer by providing outlets for frustration. Allowing the customers to ventilate their anger briefly helps. So can encouraging the shopper to socialize with others.
     Researchers at SUNY-Buffalo find that the socializing can be virtual. People who watch TV shows with characters familiar to them are better able to restore self-control. Similarly, family-themed photos could be effective in a retail outlet wanting customers’ self-control.

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

Click below for more: 
Ventilate Frustration When Promoting Self-Control

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