Monday, June 1, 2015

Bare Asinine Oversights That Embarrass

A set of studies at Northern Kentucky University and University of Tennessee concludes that shoppers who fear embarrassment about the items they’re about to purchase will buy additional items to serve as masks. The researchers point out the profitability advantages in letting the embarrassment rein. I see it differently. The basket total may be higher with all those masking items, but a customer who is embarrassed in your store is less likely to come back again to fill another basket.
     Among the 33 product categories assembled for the studies, those evoking the most fear of embarrassment for prospective purchasers were incontinent pads, yeast infection treatment, and douche. Hardly surprising. But romance novels held rank 7, so it’s not just with personal care items. In an earlier study at Northwestern University, study participants were asked how embarrassed they’d feel buying just a book titled The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Improving Your IQ. A parallel group of participants were asked how embarrassed they’d feel buying the book along with a purchase of the scholarly Scientific American magazine and the mind-challenging Rubik’s Cube. The add-ons evaporated the embarrassment.
     As a kindness to your customers, have your store staff think through which items might set up purchase embarrassment and then:
  • When you can, stock those items on shelves which have limited exposure, such as in small alcoves, rather than on endcaps. This is particularly useful when purchase of an additional item makes things even more embarrassing. In the Kentucky/Tennessee studies, toilet paper wasn’t a sensitive item to buy unless the purchase also included anti-diarrhea meds. To promote the items in these less visible areas, you could include store locations or aisle numbers in ads or on store signage in other areas. 
  • Position adjacent to the potentially embarrassing items other items which give the opportunity for an opposite impression. Next to the anti-gas tablets, you could feature bottles of fine spices, and next to the foot deodorant, offer a pedometer which measures running distance. 
  • At the cash/wrap, don’t ring up sensitive items first or last, since that would give them prominence. The Kentucky/Tennessee research uncovered the habit of the embarrassed shoppers burying the critical item under other items. Keep it buried during checkout. And it would be an absolutely asinine oversight for the cashier to, let’s say, call out over the loudspeaker, “Price check now for Register 3 please on Preparation H Hemorrhoid Cream.” 
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Counterbalance Embarrassing Purchases
Feel Where Shopper Emotions Come From

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