Monday, January 25, 2016

Drive Personalization by Fostering Narcissism

The use of digital technologies in retail sales at each step from the manufacturing floor to the store floor generates shoppers’ thirst for item personalization. Personalization goes beyond customization in that personalization takes into account the characteristics of the particular consumer.
     The degree of thirst depends on the nature of the item. In a Washington State University, University of St. Gallen, and Ruhr University Bochum study, the interest in personalization was greatest for vacations, computers, and autos among the twelve categories asked about. It was lower for perfumes, shirts, and athletic shoes. But the overall likelihood across the categories was about 47%.
     Because purchasers are happier with personalized items and less likely to return them to the retailer later, encourage personalization. A further set of studies by the Washington/St. Gallen/Ruhr team found that fostering narcissism in a shopper will drive an urge for personalization. The experimenters found that all it took in some cases was a phrase: “You impress” produced higher narcissism and, consequently, a greater thirst for personalization, than did “You belong.” One reason it’s not so tough is the trend in society toward greater narcissism.
     Extreme narcissism as a long-term personality trait is considered by mental health professionals to be a psychiatric disorder, since it disrupts activities of daily living. But raising narcissistic tendencies for the duration of a sales transaction is a far cry from producing pathology. The short-term narcissist wants to be the center of attention, enjoys influencing others, and believes they deserve exceptional treatment. A skilled retail salesperson can make all those happen.
     When selecting a gift, personalization requires the shopper to think in depth about the recipient and so enables presentation of the gift in an especially meaningful way. This dynamic holds true for more than adults. People like to personalize for the children and even for the pets they love.
     At the same time, personalization demands knowledge of what alternatives are available and of the tradeoffs when selecting among combinations of options. The shopper may ask you for help. How much direction should you provide?
     Research findings from University of Colorado, Florida State University, and Indiana University indicate you should guide the shopper toward brands that carry a less dominant product personality. When trying to personalize strong brands, the gift shopper felt they needed to share credit with the brand’s design staff for the outcome. They ended up less pleased with their personalization.

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

Click below for more: 
Limit Design Support for Personalized Gifts
Cojoin the Stages of Coproduction
Read Kit Yarrow’s New Book

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