Monday, July 7, 2014

Time Out for Number-Free Descriptions

Time and money are psychologically different for consumers. Research findings from Hong Kong Baptist University and Chinese University of Hong Kong suggest that a salesperson is wise, under certain circumstances, to bring out to a shopper the time savings the shopper could experience in selecting, using, and maintaining a product or service more than emphasizing cost savings in purchasing or using the item:
  • When you want to keep the shopper from getting bogged down in analyzing numbers associated with item characteristics, instead listening to your number-free descriptions. 
  • When you prefer the shopper to compare alternatives on the basis of benefits rather than on the basis of specific characteristics the items possess. This might be because the alternatives for satisfying the shopper’s needs each do the job in different ways, so don’t share many attributes in common. An example would be asking the shopper to decide between purchasing a motor scooter or a one-year bus pass, both of which provide the benefit of transportation, but in quite different ways. 
     Researchers at National Taiwan University and Chung Yuan Christian University attacked another aspect of “time is money,” an aphorism attributed to Benjamin Franklin: Consumers consider time more valuable than money when thinking about how time is perishable. If you don’t use time now, it’s gone forever, but money not used now can be used later. In fact, if invested properly, the money gains in value.
     If you, as a retailer, establish this mindset in shoppers, they’re more impressed with appeals to saving time than saving money. This appeal also works well when consumers are thinking of time as more subject to having a fixed supply than does money. There’s only so much time available, but a person can use credit to expand the money available now.
     However, unless the consumer has either or both of those mindsets, the consumer will undervalue a savings of time. There’s a tendency to think indefinite amounts of slack time will become available in the future. If your appeal to the shopper is a savings of time, the research findings suggest you start by prompting the shopper to place a greater value on time.
     This doesn’t mean shorter durations always indicate greater value to consumers. In studies at University of Toronto and University of Singapore, people rated services like those of a locksmith as inferior when the service was delivered more quickly than the person expected.

Click below for more: 
Slacken Consumers’ Undervaluing of Time 
Explain How Quick Service Is Worth More 
Sense When Wait Irritation Heats Up

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