Monday, September 5, 2016

Contribute Vicarious Gratitude to Customers

Multiply the impact of your store’s charitable contributions by encouraging customers to also contribute. That only makes good sense, I realize. Still, perhaps you’ll be taken aback when learning that your encouragement of customer contributions yields bonus results—increased purchase intentions at your store—if the charity you select is not a tight fit with the personality of your retail business.
     The explanation begins with University of Michigan findings that under certain circumstances, the customers of a retail business build gratitude toward a charity when they discover the business has made a donation to the charity. This gratitude leads to the customers wanting to make their own contributions. The circumstances are when the customers believe that the business is socially responsible and the contribution is more than a token amount.
     It is a vicarious gratitude, experienced by the customers at that point not because of their own actions, but instead because of the actions of the store, which signal gratitude toward the charity.
     The sequence is especially likely in senior citizens. Seniors like to give their business to retailers who are compassionate, and they like to view themselves as generous. One dynamic behind this is a desire to leave behind a legacy of love. Maybe behind this, in turn, is a calculation of what will be required on the résumé submitted at the Pearly Gates. A related dynamic is a sense among senior citizens that they want to compensate for other, less positive, legacies their generation seems destined to leave behind—-stupendous government deficits and possible fallouts from global warming, for instance.
     The seniors want to personally participate in the giving, and this fact gets us closer to explaining why it works best when the charity receiving your donation is not a tight fit with your store’s personality. The reason is that this gives the consumers more of a sense of personal participation in helping the cause. They feel noble, and a sense of nobility has been found to increase purchase intentions. This tip for the bonus benefit is courtesy of studies at North Carolina State University and University of South Carolina.
     If luxury stores include a symphony orchestra or art exhibit among their partners, they should also highlight continuing association with a charity providing food, shelter, and education to disadvantaged populations. On the other hand, stores selling commodities should include among their charity partners causes which promote self-enhancement.

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

Click below for more: 
Help Older Customers to Help Others
Fit Contributions to Contrarian Consumers
Double Down on Cause Marketing

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