Thursday, July 30, 2015

Leapfrog Generations to Sell Experiences

The Experience Economy was published in 1999, long ago within the ever-changing world of retailing. But its subtitle, Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage, has inspired success for many merchants. And even though the authors used America Online as a chief example of its premise that consumers aim to buy entertaining encounters, the book has inspired many retail consultants to recommend their brick-and-mortar clients attract shoppers away from the internet by entertaining them live face-to-face.
     Now in a set of seven studies, researchers at New York University and UCLA point out that the experience economy does best when consumers feel financially confident. If the consumers instead feel highly financially constrained, their preferences shift to buying material goods that will last for a while. This is true even if the material items to be purchased are frivolous and indulgent. Emphasizing to prospects that fun experiences give enduring memories was not sufficient to overcome the effect.
     But other studies indicate that if you are in the business of selling experiences, you can continue to have success during economically challenging periods by leapfrogging the memories to the purchaser’s grandchildren. Psychological research at Cornell University and then later at San Francisco State University concluded that possessions used just by the purchaser bring less happiness than experiences shared with others. Many grandparents want to buy experiences their grandchildren will enjoy along with them and then remember as a legacy. Researchers at University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Virginia, Duke University, and University of Bologna report that consumers are often operating on the assumption that they'll have more time in the future, but not necessarily more money. To sell family-oriented experiences, advertise the benefits for shared enjoyment.
     Build in anticipation. Tell shoppers where they and their grandchildren can go online to see photos and descriptions of family groups like theirs enjoying the activities. Be sure the variety of ages, ethnicities, and other demographics in the photos and text are broad enough to establish identification for the spectrum of family groups you’d like to attract. Keep in mind the value of showing older children, since this can start the mental wheels turning about “what we’ll do next year when we come back here again.”
     It’s best to offer all-inclusive packages. Use the ocean cruise business model. Grandparents will get irritated with you if you require them to say no too often to a grandchild’s requests.

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

Click below for more: 
Offer Family-Oriented Experiences
Assess Shoppers’ Cloaks of Confidence
Offer Grandparent/Grandchild Experiences

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