Sunday, December 15, 2013

Border Shoppers’ Uncertainty

What’s the effect on store shopping of giving a customer a running total of purchase costs? A real-world answer comes from a study conducted in a set of Atlanta grocery stores using shopping carts containing a panel displaying that. This is one variant of what are being called “smart shopping carts.”
     The study was conducted by researchers affiliated with Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Groningen, Maastricht University, and Wageningen University. The results of using the smart carts were determined by whether the shopper was highly sensitive or not to staying within a budget. But this operated in a way you might not expect: Confronted with the running total, budget shoppers spent about 22% more than those without the smart cart, while non-budget shoppers spent about 19% less.
     This is an example of how consumers under normal shopping circumstances often appreciate having the retailer set limits that the consumers themselves have not set. The budget shoppers felt comfortable that they were in control, so they allowed themselves to spend more. On the other hand, the shoppers without a budget used the smart cart device to constrain themselves.
     In stressful circumstances, consumers’ desire for structure grows greater still. Researchers at University of Pennsylvania exposed study participants to loud sirens, bells, and alarms. Some of the participants were allowed control over the amount of the anxiety-producing noise, while the rest were not.
     Later, each of the participants was asked to express preferences between two sorts of items. Some of the items had borders; the others did not. For instance, the participant could choose a postcard to keep. The sole difference between the two cards was the thick border around one of the cards.
     Yes, the study participants who had been granted no control over the noise were more likely to select the postcard with the border around it. In subsequent experiments, people who felt little control preferred retail settings that the researchers report as being “highly bounded.”
     Here are a ways to fence in stress to make the shopping experience better for your customers:
  • Keep shelves orderly and fully faced. That’s like avoiding gaps in the fence. 
  • Unclutter aisles regularly. 
  • Wherever shoppers need to wait, make it abundantly clear who has what place in line. 
  • Remind customers of any time limits, and perhaps even establish time limits. “Please remember that this offer is good for the next three days.” 
Click below for more: 
Fence In Consumer Anxiety 
Influence Shopping List Behavior

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