Sunday, December 1, 2013

Avoid Overloading the Imagination

Research findings from West Virginia University and Georgia State University find value in asking a shopper for a product to imagine the benefits of usage by whomever would end up actually consuming the product. Usually, this is the person who is making the purchase. But with products like pet foods and gifts, the user is different from the purchaser.
     Asking a shopper to use his imagination can be mentally taxing. Even more so if he’s imagining his dog as the consumer. To make the sale, make it easy for the shopper. Avoid overload.
  • Limit the amount of visual prompting. Consumers often are more comfortable with visual depictions then with verbal descriptions of choice alternatives. Retailers who know this might decide to present many images at once to the shopper. Researchers at University of Miami and University of Pennsylvania found that an abundance of visual depictions led to inferior decision making if the consumer started just scanning through the images. Another result of the overload was the shopper deferring any purchase decision and leaving the store. 
  • Including illustrations in advertising is good. However, be sure the illustrations are effortless to interpret. Arizona State University researchers compared the effects on prospective vacationers of an ad with a high-resolution photograph and an ad with the photo modified to resemble a creative abstract painting. The stimulation of creativity was outweighed by the trouble of interpretation. Those people shown the version with the literal photograph were more positively persuaded by the ad.  
  • Separate requests to imagine from requests to analyze product features. The Arizona State University researchers asked consumers to logically analyze sets of product features and then make rational purchase decisions. For some of these consumers, the researchers described the products using vivid language intended to evoke imagination. Those called upon to use their imagination were less likely to choose a product to purchase. 
  • Give aids for imagination. As long as you’re not asking the shopper to analyze or compare, use the vivid language designed to stimulate the senses: “As you enter your room, you’ll be tempted to take off your shoes immediately so your feet can sink into the plush carpeting.” Allowing the shopper to handle a product, hear sounds associated with circumstances in which the product would be used, and smell any fragrances associated with use of the product or service will all facilitate imagination that can be focused on feelings.
Click below for more: 
Help Shoppers Use Their Imagination 
Pinpoint Feelings in Imagining of Benefits

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