Friday, December 27, 2013

Close Out the Purchase

After making a purchase, the customer might have second thoughts about whether she acted wisely. These second thoughts are one important cause of product returns. Because product returns can create inventory and customer service problems, we’d like to reduce the post-purchase doubts, a form of what psychologists refer to as “cognitive dissonance.”
     Following analysis of responses from a sample of Walmart and Target customers who returned items because of cognitive dissonance, researchers at University of Alabama-Birmingham suggest that liberal return policies will, ironically, reduce the extent of returns. People mentally wrestle less with themselves when feeling they’re in control.
     Researchers at London Business School suggest another method: Have the consumer engage in a physical action to close out the purchase. In one of the studies, shoppers were presented 24 chocolates and asked to select one to eat. Some of the people were asked to replace the lid on the tray before eating the chosen chocolate. The rest of the people were not asked to replace the lid. In another version of the experiment, diners were given the opportunity to select an item from an extensive menu and then either directed to close the menu before tasting the item or not directed to do so.
     Afterwards, the participants in the laboratory were asked how much they enjoyed what was selected. Those who replaced the lid or closed the menu reported higher enjoyment and more confidence they’d made a good choice. The London researchers believe this physical closure effect makes the most difference when there are many alternatives available to the decision maker.
     The researchers also say that if the retailer performs the act of closure—such as replacing the lid on a candy tray or closing the menu—it will be less effective than if the purchaser does it.
     In the real world, as opposed to the university laboratory, we might hesitate directing a shopper to perform a specific physical action upon making a selection. It’s reassuring, then, to know that the salesperson’s act of closure also can be effective, even if not as effective as the purchaser’s.
     Give sounds of confirmation as the transaction progresses. When placing the purchased merchandise into a bag, fold the top of the bag over in a way that’s easily visible to the customer. Hand the bag or the unbagged item to the customer decisively, with a “thank you” and nod which signals completion.

Click below for more: 
Head Off After-Order Regrets 
Simplify Item Returns for Customers 
Sound On When the Purchase is Completed

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