Monday, April 28, 2014

Sequence for Sales of Sensory Selections

Have customers fully enjoy that first sample of a product. You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression.
     With sensory-rich experiential products, the order in which you present samples affects purchase preferences. Researchers at University of South Florida, Loyola University Chicago, Columbia University, and Suffolk University presented study participants with a sequence of chocolates, flavored beverages, fragrances, or music. For some of the people, the items had been chosen by the researchers to be similar to each other in primary sensory quality. In the other cases, the choices were distinct.
     With similar alternatives, the study participants tended to favor the first one presented over the others. But when the choices were easily distinguishable from each other, the preference tended to be for the item presented last. The researchers explain the results in terms of consumers becoming accustomed to sensations which are the same and sensory memories fading quickly in the brain.
     Add this to other research findings about sampling sequence and order effects:
  • Research findings from University of Hong Kong and National University of Singapore indicate that when a customer appears to be in an upbeat mood, they’re more likely to select either the first or the last alternative you propose than to select a middle alternative. 
  • When the customer is sad, worried, or angry, but is determined to make the purchase rather than defer the decision, they seek the compromise alternative and will look for it as the middle alternative in the presentation order. 
  • According to researchers from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, if your shopper is considering a lot of information when making a purchase decision, they become willing to buy the higher-priced alternative when the alternatives are presented in order from most expensive to least expensive. The price of the first item becomes an anchor for what your shopper will expect to pay. 
  • When you show the shopper choices arranged horizontally, such as you might do in online selling or in-store shelf arrangement, shoppers will be drawn to an option appearing neither first nor last. If there are five choices, the strongest draw will be to the choice at position four, according to researchers at University of Navarra in Spain, London School of Economics and Political Science, and the U.K.’s King’s Fund. 
     By staying aware of sequence, guide your shopper toward what will benefit both them and your store’s profitability.

Click below for more: 
Talk to Multiple Senses with New Products 
Guide Choice by Sequence of Presentation 
Go Fourth in a Five-Item Horizontal Choice 
Influence the Compromise Choice Process

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tilt Toward In-Store Price Comparisons

You’ve almost absolute control over the pricing of items in your store and almost no control over the prices charged for equivalent items by other suppliers to your shoppers. From this perspective, it makes sense to interest those shoppers in price comparisons within your store rather than between stores. It also makes sense from the perspective of getting the sale whichever price point the shopper settles on.
     Researchers at Babson College and California Polytechnic State University identified factors that make consumers more receptive to within-store than between-store price cues. Using other consumer behavior research to extend those findings, here’s a tip for tipping the comparisons in your favor if a purchase prospect wants to keep the focus on price: Position the purchase as utilitarian rather than hedonic. 
     Consumers make decisions for a mix of utilitarian and hedonic reasons. The utilitarian is to get a job done. The hedonic is to feel pleasure. When buying a power saw, the utilitarian is to have a way to cut things and the hedonic is to experience pride in the clean cuts.
     Even though there’s always a mix of the two, either the utilitarian or the hedonic often predominates. With the power saw, the utilitarian is probably more important to the shopper. With a ticket to a concert, it’s probably the hedonic. The Babson/Cal Poly research finds that a utilitarian mindset tilts evaluation toward within-store price comparisons so guide the shopper’s thinking there.
     Once the shopper’s focus shifts away from price, though, tilt toward the hedonic:
  • Consumers seek more variety in their purchases when there are hedonic than when there are utilitarian objectives. Researchers at University of Pennsylvania used the term “hedonic treadmill” to refer to the ways in which people get bored with hedonic purchases. They buy more. 
  • Researchers at University of Maryland-College Park, Rice University, and Carnegie Mellon University find that after completing a purchase to meet hedonic objectives, the purchaser is more likely to want to add on an extended service contract than if the purchase was to meet utilitarian objectives. ESCs are a high margin item for retailers. 
  • Researchers at London Business School and University of Chicago report that when people shop for hedonic purposes, they’re more likely to follow the retailer’s suggestions. Shoppers love to have choices available to them, but with hedonic items, the choice they’re more likely to make is to let you choose for them. 
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Cultivate Customers’ Hedonic Objectives 
Sharpen Your Price Image

Monday, April 14, 2014

Realize the Implications of Reality Shows

Reality television programming has exploded in popularity, and this has implications for selling in your store. Product placement on a show, for instance. If an episode includes a reality star expressing favor toward an item or a brand consumers might expect to see you carry, stock up in anticipation of an increased demand.
     Researchers at Florida Gulf Coast University and University of North Texas found that characters projecting the greatest amount of authenticity in a reality show lead viewers to feel connected, and this, in turn, cultivates purchase intentions. Yet the reality of reality shows is that many people who are obviously genuine in face-to-face interactions become stiffly unappealing when on camera.
     The favorable attitude shown by the reality star can come from more than product or service usage on the show. “Undercover Boss” features owners of companies in a way that gives viewers human interest stories about each owner, each company, and the employees. This builds good will toward the company’s output. The show has versions in nine countries and reported plans for versions in seven others.
     Research findings from Eastern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, and Illinois Institute of Technology suggest that all this works best when shoppers have seen the product placement in a high-involvement story line while sitting with friends.
     The Illinois researchers instructed study participants to silently watch a situation comedy while beside either a friend or someone the participant didn’t know. Woven into the situation comedy plot line were products with brand names the viewer would remember. After watching the episode, each study participant was asked individually about opinions toward the product.
     In cases where the plot line was of limited interest to the participant, opinions of the product were not affected by whether the co-viewer was a friend or stranger. But when the participant got involved in the plot, attitudes toward the product were more favorable when the silent co-viewer was a friend than when a stranger.
     You might want to encourage your shoppers to watch their reality TV shows with friends who are likely to get involved in the plot. Then stay aware of the product placements in those shows.
     Still, there are always the twists. A few years ago, retailer Abercrombie & Fitch offered “substantial payment” to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and other members of the cast of “The Jersey Shore” not to wear A&F clothing on that reality show.

Click below for more: 
Involve Friends in Product Placement Plots 
Trumpet Endorsements from Your Store Staff 
Disassociate from the Undesirable

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