Thursday, April 28, 2016

Infect Unsealed Packages with Positivity

A rotten apple spoils the barrel, says the proverb. It’s a truth not just for the food biologist, but also for the insightful consumer psychologist. Even if the spoiled item hasn’t physically injured its neighbors, shoppers considering a purchase from the barrel will sense contamination and consequently hesitate buying items anywhere near the rot.
     Researchers at National Central University in Taiwan verified that, as we’d expect, the perceptual contagion effects aren’t seen if the food items are shelved in sealed packages. A rotten apple has much less physical or psychological influence on the perceptions of its neighbors in the barrel or on the shelf when isolated by wrapping.
     But the researchers then proceeded to explore other influences on perceptual contagion with unsealed versus sealed food items. For instance, does a perfectly gorgeous apple seen in the barrel influence the purchase potential of its less attractive neighbors? Yes, concluded the researchers. Positivity is infectious, too.
     And that extends to positivity of the shoppers themselves. Happy people experience stronger contagion effects in the positive direction than do people in a sad or neutral mood. People in a negative mood still do show contagion, especially when faced with one rotten apple or other evidence of item defects.
     These findings have implications beyond food retailing. With produce, pluck out the rotten ones and plant in their places beauties. With other merchandise, you might actually choose to introduce flawed items. For instance, when your customer is unhappy with a product of any sort that came in a package, you’ll want to accept—even encourage—a return, since dissatisfaction sabotages future sales. So what to do when the returned item is now in an unsealed package? If the merchandise itself is in good condition, you could decide to put the opened package back on the shelf, offering the item at a discounted price. Your suppliers, pleased at not having to take the items back, might very well be happy to reimburse you for all or part of that discount.
     An opened package, compared to a factory-sealed box, implies a product defect. But if the surrounding packages are sealed, any negative impressions become less likely to spread. University of Utah research suggests that to isolate contagion even further, you should space out the items on the shelves or racks.
     Plus, when unsealed packages are your presentation method of choice, retailer, infect the entire shopping situation with positivity.

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

Click below for more: 
Show Shoppers Selective Transparency
Punch Up Offerings with Distinctive Labeling
Return to Reconsider Your Return Policy
Space Out “Bad News” Products on Shelves

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