Monday, October 12, 2015

Tickle with Uncertainty

“How much effort are you willing to exert for a bag of Godiva chocolates? Oh, before deciding how hard you’ll work, you want to know how many chocolates are in the bag? Well, it’s either two or four.”
     Now here’s the amazing thing: Study participants given instructions like the above worked noticeably harder than did those told that the bag was guaranteed to contain four chocolates. The researchers, from University of Chicago and Chinese University of Hong Kong, explain this by pointing out how the tickle of uncertainty stimulates consumers. They had parallel results when offering one group a guaranteed reward of two dollars and the other group only a guarantee that it would be either one or two dollars.
     Consumers are, by and large, an optimistic lot. If you advertise “Up to 45% off regular prices,” they’ll think the item they’re seeking will be one of those tagged for the full discount. But the Godiva chocolate setup went beyond this. Decreasing the probability of getting the top payoff paradoxically increased the purchase motivation.
     The researchers attribute the effect to what’s called “savoring.” That’s the fun which comes from anticipation of discovering the contents as we unwrap the gift or plan for the rock concert two weeks hence. People say they’d prefer not to wait, but that’s not how they end up behaving. Consumer behavior researchers at University of Miami and Greece’s ALBA Graduate Business School say a retailer’s use of a gift as a promotion will benefit from uncertainty if love’s involved. When the product considered for purchase is for pleasure, not knowing which of a set of possible gifts will end up being the bonus tends to increase purchase likelihood.
     In times of high turmoil or when the retail transaction already involves risk, don’t add lots of extra uncertainty about the payoff. People going to the dentist or an auto repair shop prefer to know the parameters of the pain. But in these circumstances, a touch of uncertainty can still be helpful for making the sale. In an article wonderfully titled "Believe Me, I Have No Idea What I'm Talking About," researchers from Stanford University reported that expert restaurant reviewers are more influential when saying they're less than completely certain about their conclusions.
     To help the shopper become more comfortable asking you questions and expressing concerns, avoid coming across as absolutely certain in the recommendations you're making.

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

Click below for more: 
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Give the Gift of Uncertainty, Love
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Sell More by Being Less Certain

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