Monday, October 27, 2014

Mix or Match to Affect Perceived Duration

Retailers who sell experiences—a positive experience such as a day at the amusement park or a necessarily less pleasant experience such as a root canal in the dentist’s chair—can influence how long the consumer perceives the experience to last.
     The tool to use is categorization. Researchers at University of Chicago and New York University find that when we group the different parts of the experience into categories, it makes the whole experience seem shorter. When we unbundle the components, the total experience seems longer.
     The amusement park retailer could make a day at the park seem longer by emphasizing individual components rather than categorizing them. A guide brochure to the park would point out the mix of rides, games, eateries, and restrooms in each area. A listing of all the attractions in each category could be provided in the brochure for the visitor’s convenience, but the visitor would be encouraged to move among a variety of types of experience. The tour operator who wants the trip to seem like the customer is getting more for the money would intersperse music events, historical stops, and sporting events on the schedule rather than group the different types together.
     On the other hand, the dentist could begin by describing to the patient the three major stages of the procedure, let’s say, and then, as each of the individual steps is undertaken, refer to it being a part of the first, second, or third stage. This will help the patient to perceive the entire procedure as shorter.
     All of this happens at a subconscious level. That’s important to keep in mind because the rules get reversed if the consumer starts focusing on the actual duration. Researchers at University of Toronto found that being told how long a bad experience will last makes it seem less tolerable.
     In this situation, encourage the consumer to unpack the time estimates, guessing on their own how long each step will take for them rather than only accept a time for the total given by somebody else.
     The reason this works is that we don’t like to spend time on unpleasant tasks, so we tend to predict we’ll get them done quickly. It operates the other way around for a list of experiences a consumer finds pleasant. Here, when the time estimates are unpacked, the total predicted duration grows. The customer thinks it will take longer.

Click below for more: 
Stick It to Shoppers with In-Store Experiences 
Sell More by Adding Variety 
Extract Uncertainty When Pulling Teeth 
Escort Shoppers on In-Store Travel
Unpack Unpleasant Experience Time Estimates 

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