Thursday, May 5, 2016

Look Down For, But Never On, Customers

There are circumstances in which telling a customer they’re better than others will motivate the customer to buy more. This might seem to run counter to the traditional wisdom that people strive to purchase and display items they associate with groups they look up to. Researchers at University of Texas-Austin and Switzerland’s University of Bern found that when a consumer’s self-esteem is extraordinarily high, the consumer starts aiming for the status quo.
     Still, that same team also found consumers are more likely to form emotional attachments to items at retail if the consumers see the items as fitting their image of their current self rather than of the person they aspire to be. Shoppers hesitate stretching aspirations out too far.
     Conclusions from more recent studies at San Diego State University, Georgetown University, and Medical University of South Carolina point out that there really is not a contradiction at all. Each of us has many identities and therefore multiple comparison points for esteem. Your shopper might feel superior as a parent, but inferior as a driver, for instance. With the right blend of self-perceptions in the shopper, the retail salesperson can cultivate purchase motivation.
     An example of the twists this can take is seen in studies at New York University and Israel Institute of Technology. College students were more interested in learning about a T-shirt tattooed with a sophisticated design when the T-shirt was worn by a grocery store packer than when by another college student. In another study, students developed a higher likelihood of buying a wireless charger when they saw it used by a security guard than by a college student.
     The irony here is that the attraction to the product depends on aspirational drives. Who was using the wireless charger made a difference only if the college student study participant considered technological innovativeness to be important. The motivation for slumming in product choices appears to have been shame.
     Harvard University researchers asked students to judge the professional status of a teacher. Some were told the teacher was clean-shaven and wore business suits; the others were told the teacher had a beard and wore T-shirts. The ratty dresser got higher status ratings than the natty dresser if a professor at a prestigious university, not an instructor at a community college. The logic seems to be that you must earn truly high credentials to get away with rejecting conventions.

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

Click below for more: 
Convince Shoppers to Reach for the Stars
Flatter Shoppers with Care and Caring
Plumb for Consumers’ Desire to Slum
Raise Your Community’s Aspirations
Confirm the Status Lift from Nonconformity

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