Monday, June 9, 2014

Cue Indulgence with Cute

Products, product containers, signage, and store décor that portray playful cuteness increase shoppers’ urges to indulge themselves and others.
     Researchers at Boston College and Florida State University found that consumers given a cute-looking ice cream scoop served themselves bigger helpings than did consumers given a plain scoop. Study subjects who were provided a cute-looking stapler were more likely to say they’d use the stapler for arts and crafts projects than did those subjects given a plain-looking stapler. Those with the plain stapler talked more about work-related projects.
     Experiments at Claremont Graduate University found that seeing something cute sets off the release into our brain of a substance called oxytocin, which has been called “the love hormone.” That hormone increases our willingness to spend money if we believe it will be helpful to others—such as helpful to people for whom we’ll buy a gift or the salespeople from whom we’ll buy it.
     Moreover, with the tendency toward consumer self-gifting, oxytocin also frees up the urges to indulge ourselves. A marketing line used by Macy’s late last year was, “This holiday season, get an unforgettable gift for a loved one (or yourself).”
     The Boston/Florida researchers considered chubby cheeks and large eyes as qualifying features for cuteness. Other consumer studies find that hints of children, such as toys or even pictures of toys, are interpreted as cuteness, with the indulgence-activating benefits which follow.
     The Boston/Florida researchers also pointed out that their results seem to contradict a set of earlier studies which concluded that cuteness cues led to shoppers becoming more restrained in their behavior, exhibiting the opposite of the effusiveness we associate with indulgence.
     I think the puzzle’s solution is that the caution stimulated by cuteness takes the form of caring about the effects of our behavior. Researchers at Harvard University and University of North Carolina found that adults behaved themselves better when in environments where childhood playthings—such as teddy bears and crayons—were around. In the study, participants doing their tasks around the playthings lied less and were nicer to each other than were those in surroundings lacking items associated with childhood. For instance, the frequency of cheating dropped almost 20%.
     The implications for retailing? If you’ve childhood cues in your store, then shoppers are at least slightly less likely to yell at each other or steal the merchandise. They’re also likely to put more indulgences into their baskets.

Click below for more: 
Respect the Limits of Your Influence 
Prime for Good Behavior with Family Cues 
Present Self-Gifting

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