Thursday, December 12, 2013

Present Self-Gifting

As the holiday gift exchange began that evening, some of the children in our large gathering noticed a package more plainly wrapped than the others. The children looked at the gift tag and announced what it said. Since the gift was from a husband to the wife to whom he’d been married for many, many years, we were all confident the gift inside had been selected with careful consideration for the recipient. Indeed, when one of the children brought it to her, there was a wide smile on her face.
     It didn’t take at all long for her to pull away the wrapping paper to see what was inside, and therefore not at all long for her smile to change to a glower toward her husband as she pointed to the box. “An electronic denture cleaner? You’re giving me an electronic denture cleaner as my special gift here in front of our family?”
     That incident occurred too long ago for me to now get permission from the giver and the recipient of the gift to identify them to you, so I’ll say only that they qualify as highly beloved relatives.
     I thought again about the incident when reading a recent front page article in The New York Times in which Hilary Stout wonders at Macy’s featuring as their holiday “gift of the day” the Estée Lauder Anti-Wrinkle Essentials Value Set.
     The explanation is self-gifting—people purchasing presents for themselves along with shopping for others. Macy’s marketing messages also included, “This holiday season, get an unforgettable gift for a loved one (or yourself).”
     In your store, how about making it, “an unforgettable gift for a loved one and another for yourself”? Research at Stanford University and Yale University suggests this type of bundling will be most attractive to consumers when one of the pair is seen as serving a utilitarian purpose—satisfying the obligation of purchasing a gift for somebody else—and the other is seen as hedonic—giving oneself the pleasure of a personal acquisition.
     If I’d only known in advance of that holiday exchange long ago what the research would reveal, I might have adapted the tactic to head off trouble. “Make sure she understands that this fancy machine can be used to clean jewelry as well as dentures,” I’d have told the loving husband, “and then be sure to include a silver necklace in the gift box.”

Click below for more: 
Bundle Utility, Discount Hedonism 
Influence Who Uses Gift Cards

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