Monday, April 7, 2014

Feel for the Female In Us

Even mild sexual stimulation prompts consumers to part with their money. But the sexual orientation of the consumer influences which sensory channels retailers should depend on.
     Female and male heterosexual participants in a study at KU Leuven in Belgium were told that a clothing store wanted their quality ratings of an item the store might want to stock. For some of the participants, the item to be rated was a T-shirt, while for the others, it was either a bra or boxer shorts. To compare the effects of touch versus sight, some of the participants were given the item to feel, while for the rest, the item was placed behind translucent Plexiglas, allowing the study participant to only look at it.
     After doing the rating, each participant was asked how willing they’d be to purchase a variety of consumer items. Some of the items, like a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates, were considered by the researchers to be pleasure-oriented. Other of the items, like a computer mouse and a chair, were considered to be utilitarian. The experimental question was whether being exposed to underwear used by the opposite sex would potentiate urges to buy.
     It turned out that the women who had spent time running their hands over the boxer shorts expressed a higher interest in purchasing the wine and the chocolates than did the other women afterwards. Feeling the bra or T-shirt or just seeing the boxer shorts had no noticeable effect. And the effect was not there for the utilitarian items.
     The results for the men indicated that either feeling or visually inspecting a bra, but not boxer shorts or a T-shirt, increased the willingness to buy any of the other items offered, not only the wine or the chocolates.
     So for both men and women, fondling underwear of the type used by the opposite gender increases the likelihood of purchases of other items. But for the women, touching the merchandise is more important. Seeing it is not nearly as powerful. And for the men, the rising willingness to buy is more generalized than with women.
     Additional research indicates that for gay men, the importance of touch is greater than in straight men, but that gay men have a greater concern than straight men about contamination from touching. One solution is to have staff frequently refold, repackage, and re-shelve to remove cues of contamination.

Click below for more: 
Reach Out for What Will Touch Your Shoppers 
Head Off Concerns About Touching Products 
Go Over the Rainbow for LGBT Retailing

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