Thursday, April 9, 2015

Get Strange to Ease Shopper Guilt

Want to ease your customers’ guilt about buying items they might otherwise deny themselves? Prominently display on the walls of your store photos of people engaging in unusual exciting activities. The reason this works, say researchers at University of Texas-Arlington and Quinnipiac University, is that such photos increase the flexibility of consumers’ thinking.
     In their studies, the researchers saw other tactics working in the same way:
  • Asking shoppers to talk about strange pleasant experiences they themselves have had 
  • Encouraging shoppers to focus on similarities among items being considered for purchase rather than emphasizing the differences 
  • Describing to shoppers foods primarily associated with one meal during the day—such as sausages for breakfast—as also being able to fit well on menus for the other daily meals 
     The tactics made the most difference with shoppers concerned that what they were ready to purchase wouldn’t be good for them. They were the kinds of people who worry excessively about what might go wrong in the distant future.
     To be sure, things can go wrong in the future and there are items shoppers would be unwise to purchase. Sugary treats for diabetics and expensive construction for financially-strapped homeowners. The Texas/Quinnipac researchers remind you and me to use the cognitive flexibility enhancement tactics ethically.
     On my own, I’m also reminded of an experience in 2011 at Sterling’s, the white tablecloth establishment in Reno, Nevada’s Silver Legacy hotel. I was in the area to fulfill my periodic intensive-format course responsibilities on the teaching faculty at University of Nevada-Reno Extended Studies, as I’ll be doing again next week.
     During my 2011 visit, the Sterling’s waiter asked if he might tell me about “a very special special,” a Kobe beef hamburger. He leaned down to speak more softly into my ear. “It is priced at $39 tonight.”
     I was ready to reply, “Does the $39 include the pickles?” But what stopped me was the realization, popping out of my longer-term memory, that Kobe beef comes from only one country—Japan, and my more recently stored memory of all the nuclear trauma there. So I replied, “Does the Kobe beef hamburger shine in the dark?”
     Judging by the glance I received from the waiter, I concluded mine had not been a white tablecloth question.
     Consumer psychology research findings argue that my waiter should have shown me or asked me to visualize pleasant scenes of exciting adventures in Japan.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Use Store DĂ©cor to Create Shopper Excitement
Introduce Unfamiliar Products Like Old Friends
Ease Fears with Detail-Oriented Shoppers
Flood with Attractive Country-of-Origin Images
Cultivate Customers’ Hedonic Objectives

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