Thursday, August 25, 2016

Have Comfort with Shoppers’ Decision Comfort

For years, I’ve been advising retailers to dazzle their customers. This was before the research from Georgia State University, Columbia University, and China’s University of International Business & Economics which concluded that customers comfortable with their purchasing, compared to customers who are thrilled, are not much less likely to recommend the retailer.
     It would seem that retailers can save themselves time, money, and trouble by being comfortable with customers being no more than comfortable with purchase decisions.
     The explanation for the researchers’ findings has to do with the different categories of emotions consumers experience related to their purchases. Consumer psychologists talk about integral, incidental, and task-related emotions.
  • Integral emotion comes directly from the item being considered for purchase. It might be the delicious pleasure arising from the experience of tasting the sample of ice cream or the piercing grief when deciding on funeral arrangements for a loved one who has died. 
  • Incidental emotion consists of the complex set of feelings the shopper brings to the situation. The husband might be relieved at finally being able to buy a new TV, and the wife might be irritated because her mate cajoled her into coming to the store to shop for that same TV. Incidental emotion is open to change once the shopper has arrived in your store. But there are limits. Some people are, by nature, happy or sad or angry or tolerant. The amount of emotion the retailer expresses also makes a difference. 
  • Task-related emotion arises from the process of choosing among alternatives in the store. The expert might feel pride from the process, but task-related emotion is much more often a negative feeling like frustration. When the frustration is strong, the consumer goes for shortcuts. This might be choosing the last item you showed them just to keep it easy. 
     The Georgia/Columbia/China research finding has to do with task-related emotion. People are pleased to get the decision over with and fly away. They don’t need to be thrilled to conclude they’ve received fair value.
     Still, I’ll continue to urge retailers like you to dazzle. It has advantages other than stimulating store recommendations. And it does not need to incur high costs. Research and experience indicate all it might require is consistently keeping your promises. Do you promise the lowest prices in the area? The broadest selection? The latest distinctive merchandise? The quickest checkouts? Whatever it is, provide it.

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

Click below for more: 
Dazzle Your Customers
Tally the Costs of Customer Service
Feel Where Shopper Emotions Come From
Perfect Your Salesmanship for Perfectionists

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