Monday, December 2, 2013

Put It to People to Put It in Writing

During the item selection process, there’s much to be said for allowing shoppers to say much. The oral expressions allow you to adjust your guidance to take account of the shopper’s characteristics, preferences, and any misunderstandings.
     However, once the shopper is ready to become a purchaser, there are advantages to getting it in writing. Research findings from University of Pennsylvania indicate that, compared to oral communication, consumers’ written expressions are usually richer in information valuable to a retailer. The researchers identified two interrelated reasons for this:
  • It takes longer to write than to speak so the person has more time to consider what’s being expressed 
  • People feel more responsible for what they write than for what they say, so they aim to give more interesting tidbits. 
     This argues for you encouraging customers to spread praise for your store in writing. It also argues for you exercising caution when surveying shoppers. The results you get in an interview will be of a different sort than the results you get on a written form. In this case, the oral won’t necessarily be better. Skilled interviewers can ask followup questions to probe and clarify. Moreover, studies at Duke University and London Business School indicate that speaking an attitude activates a different representation in the consumer’s mind than does writing an attitude.
     When you do ask people to put it in writing, you can up the sense of responsibility by asking for a signature. As University of Alberta researchers point out, the act of writing our signature has more than legal implications. The act is tied to our psychological identity.
     In one project, some of the participants were asked to print their name as part of a task, while the rest were asked to write their signature. Then each of the study participants was asked to shop for a pair of running shoes while the researchers watched.
     Among participants who considered running an important component of their self-identity, those who had written their signature ended up spending more time in the store and trying on more shoes than those who had been asked to print their name. People who spend more time in your store are likely to see more items to buy. Signing the name accomplishes this by strengthening an association between the customer’s self-identity and the personality of the store. As a result, we’d also expect to see more repeat business.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Sign Up Customers for Store-Self Identity 
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