Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Thankful for Consumer Suggestibility

It’s not unusual for a retailer to consider one of my shopper psychology tactics and respond, “I do exactly the opposite, and that is working great for me.”
     If I hear this repeatedly, I’ll eliminate the tactic from my toolbox. I’ve plenty more I’m confident will boost retailers’ profitability.
     If I’ve heard the counterpoint only once or twice so far, I’ll reply, “I rarely argue with success. I encourage you to keep doing what you’ve been doing, while at the same time asking yourself why it’s working and what the longer-term consequences are. Knowing the reasons empowers you to improve the tactic further. Knowing the longer-term aftereffects broadens your perspective in assessing what you’ve been doing. And please let me know what you learn so I can continually sharpen up what I suggest to other retailers.”
     As I say, I rarely argue with success. However, I do regularly explore what’s behind it and speculate on the longer-term, even when the success comes from following my research-based advice. An example:
     I advise RIMtailing readers to raise prices noticeably, although selectively, in order to curb consumer hoarding caused by natural disasters and then donate the premium to a fitting charity. In addition, for some time, I’ve advised retailers to craft fear appeals to build sales.
     In response, a store operator whose knowledge I highly respect wrote me the following, which I’ve edited only slightly:
     Well, rain is coming, and I am raising prices, and I did induce fear in one woman who bought more.
     Early in the afternoon I got an email from the city that they were opening their sand bag center.
     So when I saw a tarp in a customer’s cart, I said to her, “Looks like you are preparing for rain.” She said yes. I told her the city was opening their sand bag center, and she said maybe she better buy more.
     It looked like she put three more in her cart.
     Ah, gotta love panic. 
     The retailer gained by selling four tarps instead of one. The customer gained by having the security of extra coverage with a big storm approaching.
     And what’s my point? Well, there’s a tone of, “I sure put one over on that customer!”
     The profitability tactics I propose can be used to mislead shoppers. Shoppers hold a grudge when they conclude they’ve been tricked. If this happens, my tactics have also misled you to favor short-term revenues over long-term success.

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

Click below for more: 
Curb Hoarding 
Craft Fear Appeals 
Relax Guardedness with Gricean Norms 
Say Thank You, Dear

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