Sunday, December 8, 2013

Arrange to Save Your Shoppers

In your store, what’s the best way to arrange the item assortment within each product category? Researchers at University of Pittsburgh and University of Southern California say that the answer depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to help your shoppers save money when meeting their needs, organize by benefits rather than by features.
     Consumers in the studies were asked to choose a nutrition bar from an assortment. For some of the participants, the items were organized by features, with separate sections for fruit bars and nut bars. For other participants, the items were organized by primary benefit, with separate sections for fat-burning and muscle-building.
     Those consumers facing the benefits arrangement were more likely to mentally place the items into homogeneous groups. This simplified the choice task, since they’d then be selecting from, let’s say, six groups instead of thirty different items. Making choices easier for shoppers is a good idea. It means the time in your store is less tedious, so it opens the opportunity for you to show the shopper other item categories.
     Yet, because the items within each group seemed quite similar, study participants in the benefit-arrangement condition were more likely than those in the features-arrangement condition to select on the basis of price. In most cases, this meant choosing the least expensive nutrition bar. That lowered the amount of the total sale, a fact which taken alone would make benefits-arrangement a poor retailing practice.
     However, customers who conclude that they’ve gotten a good deal are likely to return to shop with you again. It’s good business to arrange the merchandise in a way which helps your shoppers save.
     Why were the consumers in the benefit-arrangement condition more likely to place items into categories than those in the features-arrangement group? Because, although there are important exceptions to the rule, the rule is that people shop for benefits rather than for features.
     You do have other assortment alternatives. Arrange by brand when that’s an attribute significant to shoppers. All the Nike shoes together. With commodity items like toilet tissue for which many shoppers are price sensitive, arrange by price point.
     Or you could arrange items randomly. University of Pennsylvania and University of Illinois researchers claim this leads to more buying because it requires shoppers to run their eyes over all the choices. Of course, it also could irritate the devil out of your customers.

Click below for more: 
Feature Functions with Ugly Innovations 
Randomly Arrange Limited Product Sets

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