Monday, February 1, 2016

Say, Are You Being Ethical?

Life is easier for small to midsize retail businesses that conduct themselves ethically. You’ve less concern about interference by regulatory agencies or about fighting legal actions a deep-pockets large retailer could afford to take on. You’re also better able to assume the mantle of a community-loyal enterprise, thereby strengthening your marketing position compared to those large retailers with their far-away headquarters.
     Research findings from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Northwestern University suggest one simple way to both stimulate virtuous behavior in your store staff and say to your shoppers that you follow the rules: Include mottos of integrity in text on store documents. In one of the studies, exposure to the quote, “Success without honor is worse than fraud,” produced substantially more ethical behavior than did, “Success and luck go hand-in-hand.”
     Previously, researchers at University of North Carolina along with colleagues at Harvard University had found that adults behaved themselves better when in environments where childhood playthings—such as teddy bears and crayons—were around. In the study, participants carrying out business around the playthings lied less and were nicer to each other than those in surroundings lacking items associated with childhood. For instance, the frequency of cheating dropped almost 20%. Still other research finds that it’s not only reminders of the little kids, but also of oldsters that can encourage us to behave.
     Keep the cues subtle and light, though. You could put the mottos on sales receipts and post on the shop floor and in the break room some photos of kids, senior citizens, and playthings. If the cues are overbearing rather than subtle or come across as “holier than though,” staff and customers can easily come to feel they’re being manipulated and so ignore the message or react with the opposite of what we intend. Researchers at University of Miami, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and University of California-Berkeley found that happens with store slogans people are asked to think about closely. In the North Carolina/Northwestern studies, the participants who were affected couldn’t always even remember the motto they’d read.
     The effect of the sayings is not necessarily in changing the morality in people’s personality. It’s in reducing the probability that people will ask each other in the situation to commit improper acts. That’s plenty enough for a retailer to aim for, and it allows for the fuzzy nature of real-world retail ethics.

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

Click below for more: 
Prime for Good Behavior with Family Cues
Give Shoppers Permission to Spend More
Cuddle Up to Fuzzy Requests
Steal Attention with Rascal Appeal

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