Monday, November 7, 2016

Hand Off Intended Hands-Off Items

Most consumer behavior experts I’ve encountered are familiar with the tale of the fresh egg in the cake mix: In the 1940’s, when Pillsbury introduced cake mixes to which the cook needed to add only water, sales were disappointing. Only after the recipe was changed to require the cook to add a fresh egg were the products fully accepted. That was because women felt guilty not participating at all in the crafting of the cake. They didn’t want to be so hands-off.
     Now, of the consumer behavior experts I’ve encountered who know this tale, many of them realize it’s not completely true. First, sales of cake mixes requiring the addition of only water were not disappointing. Housewives in the years during and after World War II sought cooking simplicity. But it is true that sales climbed notably when instructions were changed to “Blend in a fresh egg.”
     And the explanation is incomplete. Chefs agree a cake mix with a fresh egg produces a tastier outcome than one with only dried egg which has been rehydrated. However, the explanation of resistances towards hands-off is not wrong either. It was a factor, research indicates. Consumers by and large enjoy adding their own ingredients when using purchases.
     Studies at University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria and at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands extrapolate those indications to our current era of The Internet of Everything in which our devices take over decision making and then, based on analyzing the results, get progressively better at it.
     The overall finding is that consumers are more likely to purchase smart products that enable them to easily intervene, even when they’ve no intention of intervening in the actions of the product. The motivation goes beyond a concern about safety, as with a self-driving car. The motivation is so deep, in fact, that it springs from a desire to preserve meaning in our lives. Consistent with this, the studies indicate that people are more willing to accept hands-off items when the item reveals its reasoning and intentions at the expense of the efficiency of the item’s functioning.
     As might be expected, the consumers in the studies who were most likely to trust the hands-off items were those most open to innovation. In you introducing such items at retail, look for the Respectable Early Adopters who say, “I want a taste of where the world is heading.”

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

Click below for more: 
Cojoin the Stages of Coproduction
Encourage Customers to Be Innovative

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