Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pull My Leg Vaguely

When we say that a retail sales promotion “has legs,” we mean it has lasting benefits. That’s worth bragging about. But according to researchers, there are circumstances where both the retailer and the shopper are better off if we don’t admit, let alone brag, that the item for sale has legs. Such as if we’re selling bugs for our customers to consume.
     Those researchers, from the Korean Edible Insect Laboratory and the University of Massachusetts, found that successful marketing depended on being somewhat vague in our description of the contents. The researchers go on to say that these lessons apply to other retail products which have negative or unfamiliar reputations. It’s what in other contexts is called TMI. We’ll accept that bugs can be safe to eat. We’ll digest the United Nations report saying crickets need only one-sixth the amount of feed as do cattle to produce an equivalent amount of protein and the crickets emit fewer greenhouse gases. But please don’t show us the legs. Save us from Too Much Information.
     More generally, do people prefer to see what they’re about to eat? Researchers at Ohio State University and University of Texas-Austin aimed to answer that question by assessing the effects of transparent versus opaque packaging on attitudes toward foods in retail stores. They found two opposing effects:
  • Salience. Being able to see a food item facilitates imagination of consumption, usually making attitudes more positive. 
  • Monitoring. Seeing the actual food item activates scanning for flaws, usually making attitudes more negative. 
     Here’s how that tug-of-war played out in the studies:
  • For foods in large packages, monitoring won when transparent packaging was used. Opaque packaging with an illustration of the item resulted in higher sales. 
  • For foods with interesting colors and/or shapes sold in small transparent packages, salience won. The likelihood of purchase and amount consumed increased because of the transparent packaging. 
  • For other situations selling food, the Ohio/Texas researchers said the effects of transparent packaging on consumer attitudes were not—well—so clear-cut. The outcome does still seem to be influenced by the package size and the characteristics of the items. 
  • With non-food merchandise, consumer psychology research finds overall advantages in letting shoppers see the item rather than hiding it inside opaque packaging. Do allow enough package surface to list usage benefits, though. People buy things for the benefits offered more than for the physical characteristics of the items.
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Bifurcate the Implications of Eye Magnets
Arouse Curiosity for Special Effect
Beat Around the Bushwhack
Show Shoppers Selective Transparency

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