Saturday, July 13, 2013

Make Virtual Bundle Shoppers Feel Smart

Let’s say you offer a price discount almost identical to one offered by another retailer except that yours requires more work to obtain. In most cases, consumers will steer toward the other retailer’s offer. If they do accept yours, the “smart shopper” feelings from getting a good deal may fade fast when the consumers think about the extra work they put into getting it.
     Researchers at Paris West University Nanterre La Défense saw this phenomenon in their studies of what are called “virtual bundles.” Virtual bundles are promotional offers where a savings is received when the shopper purchases a certain number of designated products shelved separately in the store. Contrast this with “physical bundles,” for which the items to be purchased at a discount are all packaged or shelved together. In France, where virtual bundles are popular, a common variant is “Buy One of These and Get One of Those at Half Price.”
     Compared to a physical bundle, taking advantage of a virtual bundle is more complicated for the customer, and this is what later detracted from the “smart shopper” feeling, according to the Paris researchers. The virtual bundle customer must devote mental energy toward figuring out the terms of the offer and then physical energy and time to retrieving the components of the offer. It’s like a scavenger hunt. That’s the game where you give participants a list of items to find and maybe clues to finding the items. The first player or team to fulfill the list wins.
     But lots of people like scavenger hunts! In fact, putting out an effort can make the purchase more attractive. In a classic study based at University of Texas-Arlington, researchers found that people offered potato chips in a difficult-to-open polyvinyl bag rated the taste of the chips more positive than did people offered chips from the same batch in an easy-to-open wax-coated bag.
     Maybe those results would have been different if the people could have chosen from chips in the easy-to-open and the hard-to-open bag, where the people could realize the chips were all the same. They’d be bothered by the additional work in opening the polyvinyl bag in the same way that consumers who could have gotten the discount without the extra effort would feel less smart.
     If you use virtual bundle promotions, keep it easy enough. Some French retailers provide special bags labeled with instructions for the hunt.

Click below for more: 
Bundle Utility, Discount Hedonism 
Party Hearty with Scavenger Hunt Promotions 
Portray Freshness in CPGs

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