Thursday, June 9, 2016

Vaccinate Shoppers Against Disappointment

How could it be that glowingly positive online customer reviews ended up denting the retailers’ financial performance? Researchers at University of Groningen and University of Münster say it had to do with unrealistic promises. When the reviews portray what the retailer cannot actually provide, shoppers do buy more, but the number of item returns and people saying they’ll never shop there again climb dramatically.
     Set realistic expectations for your shoppers. Stay aware of what you’re promising and update the promises whenever necessary. In the research, damage to financial performance was most acute with newer customers and lower-quality items, so candor is especially important in those cases. Reminding customers to believe “You get what you pay for” can be to your benefit. To strengthen the price-quality link in the shopper’s mind, a retail salesperson might talk about what other people have paid for the item in the past or what other suppliers are charging. This should be done in a way that highlights the good value offered by your store.
     Researchers from European School of Management and Technology, Loughborough University, Ruhr University Bochum, and FOM Hochschule Hochschulzentrum Berlin suggest that service providers “psychologically vaccinate” shoppers against disappointment. In their study, a group of 1,254 airline passengers were sent a pre-flight email saying the company’s commitment to service quality had earned it several awards. A set of passengers within the group also received, in their email, phrasing that said long waiting times at the baggage claim cannot be eliminated.
     Among the passengers who did experience long waiting times, customer satisfaction was clearly higher for those who had received the added message. Importantly, the added message did not decrease customer satisfaction among passengers whose waiting times were shorter. The psychological vaccine only helped. It didn’t hurt.
     Notice that the retailer set the expectations. This is better than asking your shoppers what their expectations are. Researchers at University of California-San Diego and Northwestern University suggest you survey your shoppers for their advice rather than their expectations. The researchers found that advice questions were most likely to lead to purchase intentions. This is because asking for advice gives rise in the consumer to feelings of closeness to the store and a readiness to experience happiness if the store succeeds. In contrast, expectations questions distance the consumer from interest in the fortunes of the store except as a place to satisfy the consumer’s self-interested desires.

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

Click below for more: 
Return to Reconsider Your Return Policy
Dazzle Your Customers
Guarantee with Care
Strengthen the Price-Quality Link
Depend on Interdependency for Price-Quality
To Build Loyalty, Ask Advice, Not Expectations

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