Thursday, February 4, 2016

Close the Sale Close to the Source

Why is that purchasers of a limited edition production—let’s say a production run of 200 copies before the die is broken—will robustly prefer a lower serial number over a higher one—such as 5/200 over 197/200? Researchers at Yale University say an underappreciated reason has to do with what consumer psychologists call “contagious magic.” This discovery by the researchers is a reminder of the appeal of contagious magic for all sorts of retail sales, not only those of limited editions.
     Contagious magic refers to the belief—commonly encountered in consumers and usually subconscious—that two objects which have been in contact with each other will exert an influence on each other. In a study at Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, golfers who were told they were using a club previously held by a Professional Golfers’ Association Tour winner sunk a third more putts on average than an equivalent group not told this.
     A study at Arizona State University and New Zealand’s University of Auckland used musicians in place of duffers, guitars in place of putters, and supposed replicas in place of supposed actual possessions. Why is it, the researchers asked, that a purchaser of a guitar would find that having a respected rock star sign the guitar caused the guitar to produce better music? This was especially true when the guitar was a replica of the instrument used by the rock star autographing it. The answer: Contagious magic!
     In the Yale studies, lower serial numbers were subconsciously associated with greater closeness to the source, and consequently, catching more of the influence. It worked across item categories ranging from recorded music to fine art to apparel. It had little to do with the consumers’ beliefs about how well the item was made.
     Contagious magic isn’t always to the upside. Researchers at Yale University and Israel’s Bar-Ilan University asked study participants how much they’d like to own clothing and furniture which had previously been used by well-regarded celebrities, like George Clooney, and those with negative reputations, like Saddam Hussein.
     When the association was with a well-regarded name, the consumers felt they could absorb some remnants of the original owner. They said that if the item had been thoroughly cleaned, it was nowhere near as valuable to them. With the negatively regarded celebrities, however, the effect was reversed. Sterilization of the item before purchase was all to the good.

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

Click below for more: 
Enlarge Influence with Contagion
Resist Contaminating with Residue Sensitivity
Sell ’Er Through the Cellar Door

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