Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Analyze Rather Than Reject Surprising Findings

Most consumer psychology research findings reinforce and refine rather than contradict what experienced retailers already know. However some findings do fly in the face of expectations. With such cases, it’s important to consider something statisticians call “moderating variables.”
     For example, an analysis of study results at Loyola University-New Orleans indicates that stores named after the owner garner less consumer trust, on average, than other stores. Mike’s Auto Repair is less trusted than Downtown Auto Repair, all else being equal.
     It seems to me that including the owner’s name would add to the trust, not disrupt it. Consumers prefer to conduct transactions with people than with anonymous organizations. It’s nicer to know who you’re dealing with. It’s one of the many advantages locally-based retailers can offer.
     The explanation for the surprising finding is in a moderating variable identified by the Loyola researchers: The degree to which the consumer trusts retailers in general. For those who think most store owners are out to rip you off, the mistrust antennae are indeed activated when they see the owner identified in the store name. But this was not true for consumers who aren’t highly suspicious of retailers. For them, there was no big difference in trustworthiness between Mike’s Auto Repair and Downtown Auto Repair.
     When the Loyola researchers gathered their sample, they were combining people for whom the name didn’t make a difference with those for whom it did. Statistically, it turned out that there was an overall tendency to distrust the Mike of Mike’s.
     The implication of all this for you: If you choose to include your name in the name of your store, work especially hard to earn and maintain the trust of prospective customers.
     Identifying the moderating variable also can help untangle confusing findings: Researchers at National Chengchi University in Taiwan found that a happy consumer is more likely than a sad consumer to believe a retailer’s claim a promotional offer is high value. But this difference between happy and sad consumers is less pronounced when statements about the product being promoted are about attributes highly important to the consumer.
     Here, the moderating variable was the value of the promotional offer. For high-value offers, mood made a difference. For low-value offers, it didn’t make a difference.
     Since you’ve less than absolute control over a shopper’s mood, present product attributes and benefits you find are highly important to that individual shopper.

Click below for more: 
Take Personal Responsibility for OOSs 
Relax Guardedness with Gricean Norms 
Moderate In Using Research Findings

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