Sunday, September 22, 2013

Swoop In for the Sale After Disrupting

Over your store’s loudspeaker, you announce to people browsing through the shelves and racks, “We will be closing in fifteen minutes. It’s time to make your purchases.”
     Moments afterwards, some of the browsers bring purchases to the counter. But aside from those prompt responders, the others wander out of the store without buying anything.
     Part of the explanation of what happened has to do with the content of your announcement. Closing time is close. The shopper, having seen an item or two he or she likes, is motivated to complete the transaction before there’s any rush at the cash register by shoppers intent on beating the deadline.
     But in the story I’m telling you, there is no closing-time traffic. Why is it those who didn’t promptly make purchases instead walk away? Research findings from Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology indicate something else is at play: What you observed is due to the mixed effects when disrupting a shopper’s train of thought.
  • The initial reaction is to mobilize attention. The unexpected sound puts the browsers’ brains on alert for all the stimuli in the store. This increases the probability of immediate purchase, especially if the shopper had been dawdling over what are usually habitual purchases. The researchers found that the selling potential grows even if your interruption or the quality of your voice irritates the consumer. The attention arousal is an involuntary response. 
  • Not too long after the initial reaction, however, all the irritation at the interruption by the announcement makes the shopper want to leave the store. It’s become an aversive environment. This is bad in the short-term. You missed out on sales. It’s also bad in the long-term, since shoppers don’t like being in aversive environments. 
     When you disrupt a shopper’s train of thought, climb through the window of opportunity to close the sale, since opportunity opens wider for only a few moments.
     Researchers at University of Cincinnati, University of Indiana, and University of Twente told study participants that a candy bar would cost 100 cents, membership in a student interest group would cost 300 cents, and a tuition increase of 7500 cents was slated. The participants given this information, rather than the amounts in more conventional dollar figures, became increasingly anxious to make a purchase decision and increasingly certain of any positive judgments of the product, activity, or cost.

Click below for more: 
Number Costs and Benefits for Desired Effects 
Put Customers to Sleep After Irritating Them

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