Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lumber Through Forest or Trees

Sometimes your shoppers can’t see the forest for the trees. They’re concerned with the details instead of the overview. Consumer psychologists call these shoppers “low-level construal thinkers.”
     In a Journal of Consumer Research article titled “Selling the Forest, Buying the Trees,” researchers at University of South Carolina and University of Southern California identify characteristics of retail situations associated with shoppers going for the low:
  • The shopper has come into your store with thoughts of how to select the product rather than why to make the purchase. 
  • The main attributes of an item being considered for purchase are inferior to those of the alternatives, but the other attributes are superior by the shopper’s comparison.
  • The shopper is deliberating more about the process of installing or learning to use the product than about the payoffs from the product use. 
     By moving shoppers toward higher-level construal thinking, you increase the willingness of shoppers to pay more for merchandise. One method is to talk with the shopper about the longer-term.
     Then at the other end of the consumption cycle—the disposal of merchandise—there are times you might save some trees by saving the tree-level thinking.
     Researchers at University of Calgary and University of British Columbia explored how to increase the rate of recycling. They tried out two sorts of arguments with citizens:
  • Loss-framed, like “If you don’t recycle, we could run out of places to put our piles of trash.” 
  • Gain-framed, like “If you recycle, we’ll be better able to save trees and reduce pollution from manufacturing.” 
     The researchers paired each of these with either concrete “how to recycle” instructions or with more abstract “why we’re telling you about recycling” information. Both the how and the why influence consumers. But is one type of pairing better than another?
     The researchers found that the loss-framed arguments were most effective with the “how to” instructions and the gain-framed arguments were most effective with the “why we’re telling you” information. Effectiveness measures included the volume of material and the variety of materials recycled.
     The improved power of these proper pairings wasn’t a flash in the dustpan, either. It persisted for the six months that the researchers tracked results.
     The power of the loss/instructions pairing was even greater if the researchers talked about short-term results. On the other hand, the power of the gain/information pairing was even greater if the focus was on the longer-term.

Click below for more: 
Empathize to Ease the Endowment Effect 
Give Customers Long-Range Perspectives 
Trash Ineffective Appeals to Recycle

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