Friday, December 6, 2013

Track the Trajectory of In-Store Impressions

Professional mystery shoppers make it a point to record separately their assessments of each encounter during each store visit. The greeting upon entering the shop might have been superb, but the wait to get help from a salesperson was excruciating, and the experience when paying for the merchandise was only acceptable.
     Typical shoppers don’t dissect their judgments in that way. Instead, they remember and talk about the visit as overall impressions. Researchers at University of Texas-San Antonio and University of Virginia find that those overall impressions are influenced by whether the shopper is accompanied by others.
  • Primacy. Shoppers in a group are greatly influenced by what happens early on. First impressions set the scene. The initial sights, sounds, and smells play an outsized role in the global opinions about shopping with you. 
  • Recency. Solo shoppers are greatly influenced by what happens to them in the store late in their visits. If customers are asked afterwards by their friends, family, or survey researchers to recall their experiences in your store, the memories most likely to bubble up to the top are about the interactions which occurred when they were paying for their purchases, exiting the store, or finding the car in the parking lot. 
     Primacy and recency effects occur for all visitors to your store. But whether the shopper was accompanied by others influences the shopper’s interpretation and memory of the trajectory.
     Researchers at University of Miami and University of Southern California explored two additional determinants of overall impressions:
  • Similarity. How do consumers infer the quality of service in settings like hotels. What’s the effect of flawed service at the front desk on the guest’s expectations when she considers using the hotel’s tour arrangements? The Miami/USC researchers found that if the guest sees the same manager talking to the front desk and the concierge, the guest becomes more likely to conclude that what holds true for one holds true for the other. The similarity principle also applies when it comes to employee dress. If your personnel dress in a distinctive store outfit, the impact of spreading impressions is greater. 
  • Contiguity. The Miami/USC researchers found that if two staff members work physically close to each other, the consumer generalizes impressions from one to the other more strongly. This also applies to contiguity in time, when the interactions with one staff member come soon after prior interactions with the other staff member. 
Click below for more: 
Stress the Impact of Spreading Impressions 
Pair Preferences with the Shopper’s Entourage

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