Thursday, July 7, 2016

Incorporate Incongruity to Keep Attention

If you’re wanting to convince shoppers what you’re offering them is valuable, you’d like those shoppers to mentally process the information. In our fast-paced world, processing increases purchase probability.
     Mild incongruity—something a bit out of place—kindles processing. Incongruity tickles us cognitively and emotionally, so we devote resources to scratching. A repeated finding in consumer psychology is that retailers should introduce enough surprise to slow down the shopper for a moment to appreciate the sales message. For instance, if a store layout is perfectly predictable, the shopper processes it all immediately and then moves on—beyond the range of a sale that benefits both the purchaser and the retailer.
     Researchers at Belgium’s Hasselt University-Diepenbeek found this to be true with scents used in stores. My standard, research-based advice to retailers is to use pleasant fragrances which are already familiar to the shopper or which you make familiar through repetition. If a smell hasn’t been encountered before, with associations stored in the brain, it will be complicated for the shopper to decode, so the advantages of instant, subconscious influence are lost. Moreover, it’s best when the interpretation of the scent matches the other sensory signals in the surroundings. If the merchandise is intended for a male audience, use male fragrances.
     But the Belgian researchers found that when a mild scent with mildly female associations was used in that setting, shoppers rated the store and the items in the area more highly. It worked the other way around, too: In an area with merchandise targeted to women, a faint male-associated fragrance enhanced store and product ratings.
     Severe incongruity often doesn’t work well. When something doesn’t fit at all, consumers—especially older consumers—are motivated to reject the situation. You can adjust the degree of incongruity by the way you prepare the consumer. Consider a study at University of Southern California and Ohio State University in which it was found that people gave higher ratings to concert music with decisive rhythms and dynamics when told the conductor was male than when told the conductor was female. The ratings were about 14% higher. Not a huge difference, but enough to possibly affect future ticket sales.
     Yet with other participants, who were convinced of the female conductor’s competence, the degree of perceived incongruity was reduced. Then the incongruity was found to deepen consumers’ thinking about the merit of the music they were hearing.

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

Click below for more: 
Tease with Incongruities
Manage Store Clutter Strategically
Spice Up Store Sales
Precede Gender Attributions with Competence

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