Monday, January 6, 2014

Size Up the Change from Wish to Worry

When a consumer is attracted to an item, this attraction distorts the consumer’s perception of the item’s size. A classic finding in psychology is that the person who wishes to have the item will perceive the item to be larger than does the person with neutral feelings toward the item. Researchers at University of Chicago and Chinese University of Hong Kong use the example of a cake: The consumer who wants to eat a piece of cake sees the piece as larger.
     That research team also augmented the classic research finding: After the person has the cake, they’ll see it as smaller, no longer as larger, than does the neutral observer. Wish turns to worry as the consumer wonders if the piece of cake really will be sufficiently satisfying.
     This progression is a signal to the smart retailer that the customer is open to buying more cake immediately following the purchase.
     There’s an interaction between desire and ownership. In one study, thirsty consumers estimated a given quantity of beverage to be greater than did those who were not thirsty if told the water was for another person. However, if told the water was for their own consumption, thirsty consumers estimated the quantity to be less than did those not thirsty.
     Also involved in the interaction is desirability. A larger piece of cake and a larger quantity of beverage are desirable to the hungry and thirsty. But sometimes, less is more desirable. In another study, estimates of a rope’s thickness were affected by whether it was identified as to be used for rock climbing—thick is better—or jump roping—thick is worse. As another example, if the customer will need to carry the merchandise, smaller rather than larger numbers are better. Before merchandise acquisition, the weight will be underestimated, and after acquisition, it will be overestimated.
     There are certainly other influences on estimates. Showing a product on the right-hand side increases average estimates of package size, warranty length, and other quantitative attributes. Why? Researchers at Chinese University of Hong Kong found two related explanations:
  • Consumers familiar with the labeling on tape measures and graphs assume that numbers appearing to the right are of a higher magnitude than those appearing to the left. 
  • Those in cultures which read from left to right mentally process items to the right later than the left, so will associate a higher number with it. 
Click below for more: 
Assume Higher Anchors for Right-Side Items 
Enlarge Influence with Contagion 
Placate Lighter Diners with Smaller Plates

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