Saturday, December 21, 2013

Monitor Variety Seeking

Whether a particular shopper seeks change from what she’s purchased before or chooses to stay with the tried-and-true has to do with the shopper’s personality structure and with the situation the shopper’s in. To increase the size of the sale to that shopper, monitor for variety seeking. It affects what you choose to show. 
     As it happens, it also affects the size and delay of payoffs the shopper desires. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University find that variety seekers are more likely than tried-and-truers to accept rewards which come later, as long as the rewards are sufficiently larger than those which come immediately.
     The research also indicates that a retailer can influence the degree of a shopper’s variety seeking. Most shoppers are tempted to switch what they buy for no reason other than that people enjoy variety. If you want to introduce the customer to a new brand, his interest in switching is fine. However, if the brand the customer has been buying delivers good value for him and high profits for you, I’d think you’d prefer to at least delay the brand switching, even if you can’t completely eliminate it.
     Research findings from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Minnesota, and New York University suggest that we can slow down switching by encouraging the variety-seeking customer to think about other alternatives they’ve already tried. If the shopper talks about purchasing a different brand “to break out of my routine,” ask, “What are some other brands you’ve used in the past, and what convinced you to start using our brand you’re using now?”
     If the customer is talking about holding off on a purchase so she can try out a store that opened recently in the area, ask, “What are some of the stores you’ve shopped at before or in addition to shopping here, and what about our store keeps you coming back?”
     We also can satisfy variety seeking by showing the shopper different ways to use the same items he’s been using up to now. A few years ago, a Poultry Consumer Trend Report concluded that 90% of Americans already eat poultry at least once each week. However, about 25% of chicken consumers said they’d be very likely to order chicken for breakfast if it was available.
     A relatively simple change in the circumstances under which you propose your product be used could add enough variety to prolong shopper interest.

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Add Variety to Shoppers’ Thinking

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