Monday, March 14, 2016

Gently Slant to Produce Proper Happiness

“As retail professionals, let us transform the epigram ‘Money can’t buy happiness’ into the motto, ‘Whoever said money can’t happiness just didn’t know where to shop.’”
     It is with those words in my book Sell Well that I move toward closing Chapter 1, where I detail the two major types of happiness for retail shoppers—excitement and calmness.
     University of Washington researchers say we can tilt consumers toward one or the other of the two by a diagonal slant on store signage. When text moves upwards as the text is read, it arouses happiness through excitement, and when downwards, happiness through calmness. This is also true with upward and downward angled logos, but the effect is less than with text. In my opinion, the decreased effect is because consumers don’t scan logos in one primary direction as with text.
     The types of benefits statements most compelling to shoppers also relate to upwards and downwards. Features of products you sell can be concrete—such as the average time between repairs—or abstract—such as a general claim of high quality. According to researchers at Erasmus University, Loughborough School of Business and Economics, and Norwegian School of Management, shoppers are relatively more interested in concrete features when gazing down at the merchandise and relatively more interested in abstract claims when peering up.
     I’ll also add that any slant must be gentle, not severe, or people will have so much difficulty making sense of the sign that the directional effect on happiness fades completely. Or worse yet, a severe downward slant can depress a shopper. A substantial history of laboratory experiments and anecdotal evidence shows how consumers subconsciously associate upward movements with positivity—such as high self-esteem—and downward movements with negativity.
     When the downward slant is gentle, though, it can motivate viewers to improve themselves. In studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Baruch College, and Copenhagen Business School, people instructed to imagine moving downwards performed better on a set of challenging tasks later than did an equivalent group of participants who had been asked to imagine moving upwards.
     These findings help explain why beauty products are most often sold on the ground floor of department stores. The Wisconsin/Baruch/Copenhagen research conclusions indicate you should stock self-improvement items close to store entrances. If a shopper has to exert an effort to get to the items, they may feel they’ve already moved sufficiently toward greatness.

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

Click below for more: 
Keep ’Em Down on the Firm
Look It Up: Abstract Benefits Above Shoppers
Look Lively!

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