Monday, August 29, 2016

Dial In to Dialectical Thinking

Even when reviewers give your store and brand five-star notices, there will almost always be at least a few cranky-pants posts, too.
     A set of studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University, William Paterson University, and University of South Carolina finds that the effect on the shopper depends on the nature of the shopper’s thinking. What philosophers call “dialectical thinking” consists of accepting that two apparently contradictory statements could both be true. The positive and the negative reviews could both be completely accurate in this case. People in the habit of dialectical thinking would integrate the critique into their reasoning. They’d probably ask you about the negatives, which gives you the opportunity to respond.
     The reviews used by the researchers in these studies were of movies and cameras. Presumably, they’d also apply to the projectors used to show movies taken with cameras. Participants in the studies received different mixes of positives, like “This is one of the year’s best movies” and negatives, like “The only good thing about this movie was the end credits.”
     In the research studies, consumers low in dialectical thinking struggled with purchase decisions and had limited confidence in making a purchase decision when faced with contradictory reviews.
     Dialectical thinking is most common among Asian cultures. It’s represented well by the yin-yang symbol. Most North American and European consumers are low in dialectical thinking. For them, when a sprinkling of negative reviews contradicts an abundance of positive reviews, they’ll do their best to push away awareness of the negative ones. They will look at the average number of stars and try to ignore the bothersome details. The problem is that the negatives still nag at them subconsciously and so can interfere with building customer loyalty.
     However, this was less true when the shopper was an expert about the product category. The best way around the problem, then, is to build the shopper’s expertise.
     An odder way to handle the problem comes from New York University and Arizona State University research: Tilt the shopper’s mind toward dialectical thinking by showing symbols of Asian culture. They took some of their study participants, all Americans of European descent, on a walk through New York’s Upper East Side and the rest through Chinatown. The Chinatown strollers became more dialectical afterwards.
     Oh, can’t take every one of your shoppers out for a stroll? Having the yin-yang symbol in view worked a bit, too.

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

Click below for more: 
Encourage Shoppers to Post Trustworthy Reviews
Welcome Shoppers’ Questions About Negatives
Shape Customer Reviews to Your Advantage
Scope Out the Fix on Fate

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