Thursday, May 26, 2016

Count On the Nuisance in Counting

Devices for monitoring our healthy behaviors—such as exercising—subtract from the enjoyment of the behaviors. Across six experiments at Duke University, consumers using devices to tabulate the amount of their walking or their reading increased the amount of the activity compared to consumers not using such devices. What gets measured does get done. But the counting consumers enjoyed the activities less. They expressed obligation rather than accomplishment.
     Part of the explanation is satiation. People who do more of the same activity come to enjoy it less. But the evidence is that the conscious tabulation itself adds nuisance.
     Researchers at University of Minnesota and Texas A&M University asked college students to eat. No problem getting volunteers, I imagine. Among the available snacks were the relatively healthful—nuts, raisins, granola bars—and the relatively indulgent—M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey’s chocolate.
     A set of the study participants were asked to count the number of times they swallowed, using a clicker. Others were not asked to click. The result of clicking was that the indulgent snacks were enjoyed less, and the students felt less drive to eat those snacks.
     The lesson for restaurateurs and other retailers is to realize that bringing close attention to consuming or using an indulgence makes it less attractive to the consumer. The clicker effect held for those with low self-control more than for those with high self-control. How to tell if your shoppers have high or low self-control? Watch and listen for the signs.
     Clicking through a list has a similar effect. I’m thinking about how sometimes what a customer buys includes a sequence of unpleasant experiences. The retailer isn’t selling the unpleasantness, but it’s inevitable in order to accomplish the positives.
  • A carpet store requires the purchaser to prepare for the installation by moving items and then, after installation, moving items back into place. 
  •  In applying for membership to a prestigious country club, the prospect must not only gather the funds for the dues, but also complete forms and coax references. 
  • To undergo a medical procedure, the patient needs to carry out a set of steps both before the procedure and afterwards. 
     To be sure all the steps are completed properly, the retailer would do well to compile and present a list. However, researchers at University of Toronto find that when consumers tick off the steps, it ticks them off about the whole experience.

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

Click below for more: 
Monitor Your Progress Toward Objectives
Limit Availability to Overcome Satiation
Be Alert for the Effects of Shopper Attention!
Unpack Unpleasant Experience Time Estimates
Round Up Benefits for the Shopper

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