Monday, July 11, 2016

Shape Shoppers with Their Negativity Bias

People have what consumer behavior researchers call a “negativity bias.” Consumers hear praise so often from advertising and from friends wanting to convince themselves that whichever store they went to had to be the best. It’s the negatives which help narrow choices.
     Researchers at University of Mississippi and Ohio State University find that the negativity bias operates differently at different points in the purchase process. Earlier, when your shopper has yet to favor one alternative, including the alternative to buy nothing at all, the attention to the negatives is to help reduce ambivalence. The shopper wants help narrowing the choices. In addition, shoppers are concerned that if they select a product with negative reviews online, others will think less of them.
     However, once a purchase decision is made, interest in negatives is mostly to comfort the consumer that they’ve done their homework.
     With this in mind, retailer, shape shoppers depending on the degree of ambivalence. Early on, use the negativity bias to earn credibility. Researchers at European University Viadrina find that when a salesperson volunteers negative information about a product that’s being considered by the shopper, the shopper becomes more likely to trust everything the salesperson says.
     Start by presenting a good choice, but one other than what you think is the best choice for both the shopper and the store’s profitability. After presenting a downside of that choice, move to presenting the best choice. Keep the words and logic simple. Research finds that if there’s too much complexity, the shopper won’t hook the talk of negative information to the salesperson’s credibility.
     In the same vein, encourage your customers to post balanced reviews so that those looking at the reviews early in the decision process will develop trust. Also, reviews which include both strong positives and a few negatives develop curiosity in prospective shoppers. The curiosity can lead to the shoppers wanting to check things out for themselves at your store or website. Research at Rutgers University concluded that store experience affects how negative information is interpreted.
     Then late in the purchase process, satisfy the shopper’s negativity bias by providing reassurance. According to researchers at Stanford University, University of Utah, and University of Iowa, customers usually want details pre-purchase, but after making the purchase, they seek generalities and praise. So tell the customer that they’ve made a good decision, pointing out how they did take into account the tradeoffs.

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

Click below for more: 
Accentuate the Positive Customer Feedback
Speak the Language of Helpful Reviews
Disclose Product Cautions
Encourage Shoppers to Post Trustworthy Reviews
Clarify Cause & Effect with Users

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