Monday, October 26, 2015

Get A Head, Except for Ladies’ Clothing

Who would’ve thought that in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll slyly implanted a priceless gem of advice for retailers of ladies’ clothing? And this was way back in 1865! It’s right there when the Queen of Hearts says, “Off with her head.”
     It now seems clear to me that Mr. Carroll was presaging a Stockholm School of Economics research finding: Female shoppers give higher ratings to fashion items on models whose heads aren’t shown. So in your ads and on your mannequins, leave off what’s above the neck. But only if the shoppers are women and the model depicts a woman. In all other gender combinations of shopper and model, the Stockholm researchers found no reason to cut off their heads.
     The explanation for this from a body of research on body image is that female clothes shoppers are quick to compare themselves to others. If they see an especially attractive woman wearing a particular outfit, they tend to think to themselves, “That dress wouldn’t look as good on me.” Models in ads and mannequins in stores generally have pretty faces, so that can depress purchase intentions.
     Researchers at Arizona State University, University of British Columbia, and University of Alberta found that when a woman who is unsure about her appearance tries on a dress and then sees a pretty saleswoman wearing the same dress, that shopper loses interest in buying it. Importantly, this doesn’t happen if the salesperson is just carrying the dress, not wearing it, or if the shopper sees the saleswoman only before or after trying on the dress herself.
     However, as you might expect, it did happen if the woman, while wearing the dress herself, sees the same dress being worn by another shopper who is especially attractive. The researchers suggest retailers provide full-length mirrors in private dressing rooms so that a shopper isn’t required to step out into the store to use a publicly shared mirror.
     Jealousy of the attractive could become hostility. Researchers at University of Saskatchewan and Santa Clara University explored the success of a grotesque Dolce & Gabbana ad portraying one woman skewering another in the neck. The sharp reader of Alice’s Adventures would have already known all about such things, though.
     Now I’m thinking there must be other gems of retailing advice in the story. Such as the idea that items claiming to shrink female shoppers would sell well.

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

Click below for more:
Fashion Profits by Thinking Bigger
Shock Consumers, But Morally

No comments:

Post a Comment