Monday, April 24, 2017

Add Risk Notices to Dilute Risk Opinion

Many consultants advise retailers to arouse enough fear to scare people into action, but not so much that people tune out the retailer. In my opinion, a better guideline is to raise enough fear of a real danger to win the customer's attention, but only to the degree that you've a guaranteed way to substantially reduce the risk. It’s unwise to oversell.
     However, you might be wise to overtell. Tell more risks than you need to, that is. Paradoxically, when you notify the shopper of more risks, this can reduce the shopper’s opinion of the total possibility of harm.
     Researchers at University of Miami and Boston University saw this effect using as an example the dangers of a new drug to treat hypertension. A group of study participants was told the drug could increase the likelihood of seizures. Another group was told the drug could increase the likelihood of seizures, congestion, and fatigue. Then, when all the participants were asked to state how threatening they judged the drug to be, the participants told there were three side effects gave lower threat ratings.
     This “more is less” is also seen on the positive side. The researchers note the finding that consumers were willing to pay more for ten high-value baseball cards than for the same cards plus three cards of modest value. But it’s not true that more of the more is always less. When the researchers told a third group of study participants about five possible side effects of the hypertension medication, the judgment of danger was about the same as with the group told there were three possible side effects.
     Laws, standards of professional practice, business insurance underwriters, and commitment to retailing ethics might all require you to provide customers warning about the risks in using certain products you sell. Beyond this, researchers at European University Viadrina found 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.
     Yet, when shoppers hear possible adverse consequences of using a product, they’ll overestimate the likelihood of the consequences. If the label says “it happens rarely,” they’ll be thinking, “it happens often enough to make a difference.” To dilute the perception of overall danger, start off informing consumers about the most serious risk, then add at least a few of the less serious risks.

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

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Scare Customers into Buying
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Disclose Product Cautions
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gift with Purchase to Cut Item Returns

About 95% of items returned to retailers are in fine shape. The customers most commonly say that they’re bringing back the stuff because of second thoughts about the purchase when they got it home. Even though such items are usually suitable for resale, there are still the costs of checking each item for defects, damage, or usage and then restocking it and selling it again.
     Aware of the hit to profits that item returns can cause, researchers at Seoul National University, using samples of American and Korean consumers, identified a way to reduce item returns: Offer a free gift along with the item purchased.
     This is a method you probably wouldn’t use for every purchase. But it can work well with sales of items where processing returns is especially costly or bothersome. The researchers found it’s even more effective when you allow the purchaser to choose the free gift from a few alternatives you present. The method works for two main reasons. First, the shopper believes that if they return the item, they’ll need to return the free gift, and this makes the psychological cost of the return higher. Second, the acceptance of the gift, and especially of a gift the customer selected themselves, results in a more solid feeling of ownership, and so a hesitancy to surrender the merchandise-gift pair.
     Knowing that you accept returns eases shopper indecision at purchase time, so you want to make item returns as easy as possible while still protecting yourself from financial ruin. There’s research suggesting that a free gift helps at this point, too. Adding a gift to accompany one of the alternatives facilitates the purchase decision. Studies at University of Chicago and Columbia University found that with financial investment decisions, it even works to offer a small gift with both of two alternatives because this moves the decision toward the riskier choice, breaking the tie. Consumer behavior researchers call this the “mere token effect.”
     Use the “free gift” method to augment other ways to reduce item return rates. Consulting with the shopper prior to purchases helps. University of Texas-Arlington and University of Texas-Dallas researchers identified two more factors:
  • Policies that are offer exchanges rather than money or monetary credit reduce the rates of return. 
  • Return rates are greater for retailers who are lenient about the time by which a return must be made or about allowable reasons for the return. 

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

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Argue Strategically with Shoppers

In a 2011 Harvard Business Review essay, Kevin Peters wrote that one of his earliest experiences as head of Office Depot’s stores in North America involved an employee arguing with a shopper. The argument was about whether the store carried a calculator the shopper’s son needed for first grade. The shopper insisted that the store carried that model calculator, the employee insisted that the store did not carry the item. “An employee arguing with a customer—it was unbelievable,” Mr. Peters wrote.
     Not just unbelievable, but also wholly unnecessary. How should that employee have responded to the shopper’s insistence do you think, based on your experiences as a retailer? I’m thinking of something like, “Let me check with the store manager to be sure I’m correct,” and then, if necessary, “You know, we may have carried that item at one time, but my store manager tells me we do not carry that item now. May I help you find an item we do carry which will meet your son’s needs?”
     This fits the situation even if the store never ever carried the item and the shopper is completely wrong in saying the store did. Avoid direct contradiction when arguing against a shopper’s beliefs. Researchers at University of Melbourne verified the value of that advice for arguing against shopper’s negative views of an item or store. A pair of brands were identified that shoppers disliked mostly because they considered it to provide poor value for money or mostly because they considered it to provide inadequate customer service. Then some of the study participants were shown an ad that directly contradicted the reason for dislike. Those who said they got poor value were shown an ad claiming good value. Those who said there was poor service were shown an ad claiming good service. The rest of the participants were shown an ad that argued for the other issue. Those who said they got poor value were shown the ad claiming good service, and the “poor service” people were shown the “good value” ad.
     The second way of doing it was much more successful in changing negative opinions of the brand about both value and service. In fact, those exposed to the direct contradiction came to view the brand even more negatively. People don’t like to be proven wrong, but they don’t mind learning new facts when it’s to their advantage.

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

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Change Up with Entitled Customers

Store loyalty programs work best when the customer experiences joy at receiving a program reward. The emotion strengthens the basic relationship in the brain between shopping at the store and pleasure. Eliciting joy at reward redemption is less likely when the reward is the same each time. Researchers at Yale University and Carnegie Mellon University find that, in this situation, customers come to feel entitled to the reward. They experience joy only when the amount of the reward is increased, and only until they again become accustomed to the increased amount. This effect is so strong that when the amount of loyalty program reward granted was decreased, the disruption to store loyalty was greater than if the participant had been told the program was discontinued altogether.
     Customers’ favorite loyalty program reward is a discount on an item of the shopper’s choosing. Progressively increasing the amount of this discount could quickly jeopardize the retailer’s financial viability. A better alternative is to periodically change the nature of the reward. How about a gift of a confection?
     Northwestern University researchers rewarded some consumers with cash and others with a slice of cake. As you’d expect, those who received more cash expressed greater joy than did those who received less cash. However, the size of the cake slice didn’t matter. Because there’s no number easily attached to the slice size, the happiness was determined by the flavor of the treat. So let them eat cake.
     Well, okay, I admit a piece of cake might not work as a reward for every type of store, or maybe any type of store beyond a bakery. Still, the lesson is that you can neutralize the entitlements trap with the language of merchandise rather than money.
     Yet you’re still facing the fact that the favorite reward is a discount. The solution to this one is to add the merchandise to the discount and periodically alter which merchandise item you award as a surprise bonus. Studies of loyalty programs find that small rewards given unexpectedly build a desire to reciprocate by giving future business to the retailer. Change and surprise meet the well-documented desire of consumers for moderate variety.
     In a New Yorker cartoon, the devil himself stands behind the host station at the entrance to Hell, preparing to write on a clipboard as he asks the new arrival, “And lastly, for all eternity, French, blue cheese, or ranch?”

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

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Check Back for Complementary Add-Ons

An ad in the California Milk Processor Board’s highly successful “Got Milk?” campaign featured the protagonist eating a chocolate chip cookie and then afterwards yearning for some milk to go with it. Studies at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Italy’s Bocconi University verify that the delay built into the sequence makes sense: Our yearning for a complementary item grows after consumption of the partner item. Our thirst for milk is greater after eating the chocolate chip cookie than if the milk has been sitting there from the start.
     Is this only because the cookie is dry and sticky? No, the study results indicate. It’s because we associate the two items in our minds. Cookies go with milk, pizza goes with cola, crackers go with cheese. The partnering is to specific items. That this is true was shown in the studies when participants were asked to imagine consuming one of the items rather than actually consuming it. The imagining was enough to whet targeted appetite for a partner item. Other evidence was that, in this multinational study, the effect was found only for items considered to be partners in that consumer’s culture.
     So let’s use our own imagination to see ways to make use of these study findings. Imagine that a restaurant patron has ordered an item, but not the partner item. It could work well for the server to check back after the patron has started to consume the ordered item and suggest adding the partner item. The whetting effect would have increased interest in the second item.
     This works for a restaurant, where checking back with the diners is common. What about in a food truck, where the customer disappears after the order is delivered? In this situation, mobilize the customer’s imagination by suggesting a partner item at the time of order, using the format, “As you think about chomping down that pizza you just ordered, do you imagine you’ll want some cola to go with it?”
     The general principle of checking back for a partner item after a delay also applies to nonfood retailing. When there are optional add-ons to an item intended for imminent use, begin with the basic model and then build by suggesting the options, asking the shopper to think about the outcomes of using the purchase. And check in with customers after purchases to propose ways to enhance usage pleasure.

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

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cut Out Trying Item Tryouts

Prune away for your shoppers any conditions which try their good will when they’re getting sample experiences with items they’re considering for purchase. Researchers at Iowa State University showed that doing this improves intentions for shopping with you during the present store visit and in anticipated future store visits.
     The particular issue those researchers explored was the frustrating experiences of older women while trying on clothes in dressing rooms. But the researchers’ suggestion applies more broadly to anyone with a physical challenge, such as the handicapped, to make it more likely they’ll persevere when shopping with you. Easing the sampling also improves satisfaction for every other visitor to your store.
     The methods assessed by the researchers constituted adherence to the Universal Design principles developed in a collaboration among interior designers, architects, product designers, and engineers. Here’s my version of highlights from that manifesto, some of which are also found in ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business:
  • Ease access. Position tryout areas in convenient locations. 
  • Ensure that shoppers feel free of vulnerability, such as by adequately protecting their privacy. Have adequate lighting. Point out places for shoppers to safely put aside packages and belongings so they can turn their attention to the prospective purchases. Some retailers use an ottoman and mirror arrangement for easy visibility. 
  • Provide choices in how the shopper can accomplish tasks, such as by having illumination dimmers within easy reach for people with a limited range of motion. 
  • Present important information in pictorial, verbal, and tactile formats. 
  • Allow space for companion help, service animals, and assistive devices like walkers. Keep the dressing room uncluttered. Make it easy for the shopper to have staff do any re-shelving. Perhaps place a “Not for me” container by the dressing room exit. 
     Parallel guidelines apply when the items being tried out are not just being tried on. Researchers at University at Buffalo-SUNY and Indiana University verify our common sense notion that people master novel products best when given the opportunity to experiment with the product repeatedly. The measures of mastery included attraction to the product, a willingness to pay a premium price for it, and an ability to use the product’s capabilities in a variety of situations. By allowing the shopper to try out the product, you’re more likely to make the sale and have a happy purchaser. That’s best done for all shoppers in circumstances where they feel safe.

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

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Commit to Ads that Guide the Committed

You might sometimes be tempted to say to shoppers something like, “The choice I’m recommending is the only alternative which makes sense for you.” What keeps you from actually saying this could very well be concern that the shopper’s freedom of control would be threated and they’d push back. 
     The pushback is called “reactance.” Classic consumer behavior research finds that if you tell a shopper what to do, they’ll move away from your persuasion. If you put a whole bunch of sales pressure on a customer, they’ll rebel, becoming determined not to do what you’re trying to convince them to do. They start debating each idea you present and physically distance themselves from you.
     Yet there are instances in which directive language can rope in a sale instead of whipping the shopper away. It works better in an ad than in face-to-face selling. An ad maintains greater psychological distance from the consumer than does face-to-face interaction so the person feels less trapped. Your shopper will tolerate more bossiness.
     Still, researchers at University of Central Florida, University of Alberta, and Duke University recommend caution when using highly assertive ad language with an audience committed to patronizing your store. For these consumers, the assertive language leads them to fear shame if they don’t comply, so even though they’ll feel pressured to go along with your recommendations, they’ll develop resentments toward you.
     Aim away from shaming your committed customers. Guilt’s okay, though. What’s the difference? With guilt, the people acknowledge they’ve done something wrong or failed to do something right. With shame, the added element is that the people believe others will hold them responsible.
     So how to explain the success of the “Just Do It” tag line for Nike, when so many consumers are committed to the brand? Researchers at Georgetown University and Ben-Gurion University find that highly directive language works best with items which bring happiness. The happiness might come from immediate sensual pleasure. The salesperson for the day spa says, “You belong on our massage table.” The candy shop advertises, “You must try our chocolates.” Or the happiness might come from an anticipated sense of accomplishment. Running the marathon in Nike shoes qualifies “Just Do It” under this prong.
     Unless what you want to sell your committed customers is clearly hedonic, be cautious using highly assertive language in ads and in face-to-face interactions. Guide instead of shaming.

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

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mess Around with Merchandise Arrangement

When your shelves, racks, and showcases contain inventory that’s been systematically arranged, shoppers can more quickly find what they’re looking for. This speeds up each sales transaction and allows for more shopper self-service. It also pleases those of your customers who are Mission Shoppers—people who enter your store wanting to go directly for a particular item and, if the value is right, buy the item as soon as possible.
     But there’s also an advantage to having those who enter your store browse for a while, treating them as Possibilities Shoppers, who even if they have a specific item in mind, enjoy considering the alternatives. This is more likely to occur when the items are not so strictly organized.
     Moreover, researchers at San Diego State University, Arizona State University, and Washington University advocate retailers moving further—toward quite disorganized merchandise arrangements—in certain circumstances. They found that disorganized shelves which are not fully stocked increase sales of nonfood items. The disorganization and lack of full facing imply that the items are in demand, drawing extra interest from shoppers. In addition, when the merchandise is not packed in closely, the spacing around each item makes it more readily noticed by prospective purchasers.
     This was not true, however, for foods and beverages, where a scarcity of packages can imply old stock and disorganization can imply spoilage or lack of sanitation. Still, lack of a strict organization here can increase browsing, which would elevate sales so long as it doesn’t irritate the shoppers. 
     Long ago, I’d hear grocery store operators claim that shoppers buy more varieties of soup when the varieties are shelved in random order rather than alphabetically. The explanation went like this: The shopper’s interested in finding a particular variety. They look for that particular variety, but because there’s no order, the shopper’s eyes run over many varieties. As they do so, they start thinking, “Gee, maybe I could use that variety, too.”
     Researchers at University of Pennsylvania and University of Illinois confirmed that random arrangement of a product set can lead to more buying, but with a different explanation. The reason the random arrangement works, they said, is it gives shoppers a feeling of there being more to choose from. It takes time for the shopper to run their eyes over what’s there, and the increased time translates in the shopper’s mind to the impression of a larger assortment.

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

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Shape Ads for Future Use Purchases

In your advertising, use relatively pale hues to depict what you’re selling for customers’ future or long-term use. The ultimate pale hues are black and white. Ohio State University researchers say that color scheme might be the best of all for the situation.
     The rationale actually has as much to do with shapes as with colors. People considering purchase of an item are influenced by the shape and the color of depictions of the item in ads. The shape and color of illustrations of the product or of the box containing the product, of before-and-after pictures showing the benefits of product use, of text boxes in which the benefits of the service are described. When the people are thinking about use of the item in the future, the influence of shape is greater than the influence of color. Here, vibrant colors can interfere with the brain’s processing of shape, so it’s best to keep down the vibrancy.
     Once you’ve muted the hues, recognize how different shapes deliver different messages. For example, researchers at University of Miami and University of St. Gallen report that bold, solid, angular, and sharp characteristics enhance brand masculinity while airy, delicate, round, and smooth characteristics enhance brand femininity.
     In the ad itself, shoppers like balance, with elements of matching size on the left and right. But there also should be a few contrasting asymmetries with ratios which intrigue the shopper. University of British Columbia studies found that consumers in a culture that reads from left to right evaluated an antique more favorably when pictured on the left side of an ad than on the right side. With a modern art item, placement on the right side of the ad garnered more favorable ratings.
     Top and bottom matter, too. Research at York University suggests that shoppers will prefer a brand or store they see as powerful in the marketplace when the logo is placed high rather than low in the ad, while a placement low in the ad is better received when the brand or store is seen as an underdog.
     The different shapes in the ad should be seen as fitting together to constitute a group. Shoppers find visual pleasure in the repetition of themes. And there’s bonus appeal when the group of shapes represent to the consumer a familiar story. The familiarity may come from a principle of design common in the consumers’ culture.

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

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Soften Customer Upset Using Friendship

An advantage available to smaller retail businesses is the enhanced opportunity to create perceptions of friendship with customers. Large retailers with headquarters at a geographical distance find it harder to maintain impressions of authentic closeness. Not all small retailers take advantage of this competitive advantage. Those who do can find that, when negatives occur, the customers are more likely to take responsibility themselves. The blame on the retailer is partially or wholly softened.
     This was seen in a University of Washington simulation of the reactions of a night club’s customers who had previously qualified for the premium level in the club’s loyalty rewards program. In the study scenario, participants were told that the required level of annual spending for premium benefits had been raised and that they were losing their premium benefits. In some cases, the customers would have fallen short even with the old limit. Their spending had gone down compared to the period in which they’d qualified. In the remainder of the cases, the expiration of benefits was because of the tighter standard. They would still have qualified under the old limit.
     Customers who felt no close relationship to the night club were more likely to blame the club than themselves for being dropped. It made no difference whether they would have qualified under the old standard. For the customers who felt a close relationship, it did make a difference. Yes, those who would have qualified under the old standard blamed the club. They felt that a friend had betrayed them. But those who would not have qualified blamed themselves.
     Still, being a friend isn’t enough. Clarify expectations. Researchers at Lingnan University in Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong presented study participants with a scenario: You’ve asked the owner of a restaurant with whom you have a close business attachment to hold an ocean-view table for your birthday bash. When you arrive, the owner explains, with a tone of regret, that all the ocean-view tables are taken.
     Many of the consumers empathized with the owner. However, for others, the reaction was anger. What made the difference was whether the study participant, taking on the role of a customer, had clarified in advance their own expectations and obligations and those of the retailer. With this clarification for transactions based on close business attachments, there was more likely to be customer acceptance of the owner’s needs.

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

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Smoke Out Which Models Motivate Teens

When people yearn for something they can’t yet have, they often fantasize about having it. Featuring those fantasies in your store advertising can facilitate favorable impressions. But it could be favorable impressions of an item other than the one in the ad.
     How this operates in adolescents was explored by researchers at University of California-Irvine. Teens are more responsive to clothing ads showing teen models than those showing young adult models. But it was different with age-restricted products. The researchers created mock magazines that included cigarette ads. For some study participants, the ads featured young adult models, for another group, teen models, and for a third group, middle-aged models. After perusing the magazine, each participant was asked a number of questions, including how likely they thought it was that they’d smoke in the future.
     The participants showing the highest intent to smoke were those viewing the young adult models. This differential effect was strongest for adolescents who also had expressed dissatisfaction with their current age.
     The researchers’ advice for marketers who want to protect adolescent health: In your ads for cigarettes, feature models who are 45 years old. Study participants seeing those models were the least likely of all to say they intended to smoke.
     Better yet, I propose, is not to advertise tobacco products at all. But the underlying point is that knowing an item is forbidden to them will result in an increase in attractiveness to teens, and this happens more strongly when the teens view use of the items by those they aspire to become.
     Once they get the items, however, the struggle might lead the teens to like the items less. In a Stanford University study, the average price people who failed to obtain an item they wanted said they’d pay was 43% higher than the average willingness to pay among those who got the item. But when the jilted group were given the item later as part of this perverse experiment, they were substantially less likely to want to keep the item than were those who had received the item at the start.
     Such ill feelings even generalize. Some people were told they might win Guess brand sunglasses, then later were told supplies had run out. These frustrated folks rated Guess watches lower and a competing watch brand higher than did an equivalent set of people never promised the possibility of getting Guess sunglasses.

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

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Experience How Experience Is Price-Quality

Many findings in shopper psychology are obtained by exposing consumers to novel situations. In applying those findings to making sales in your store, it’s important to recognize how consumers’ familiarity with the characteristics of the transaction changes the consumer’s response.
     The price-quality link is one example. Decades of research have clearly established that people purchasing a higher-priced alternative from a set with equivalent features generally expect to receive a more reliable embodiment of those features. When people buy at what they consider to be deeply discounted prices, they start out feeling the benefits are less than if they’d paid full price. They love having saved money, but as a rule, they are less in love with the item. And whenever they pay top dollar, they’re primed to believe what they’re acquiring is top quality.
     Studies at University of British Columbia and China’s Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business document that, if these anticipations are violated, the price-quality link is not so much dissolved as it is twisted. After having consumed the item, people evaluate a low-quality product with a high price more negatively than the identical low-quality product with a low price.
     Such violations are fairly common. Any consumer with a few years of purchases behind her can tell you about the high-priced national brand items she came across which were inferior to the discount-tagged house brands and the many episodes in which low-cost items included the reliability of basics not seen in the over-the-top-priced alternatives.
     When your customers come to you with the price-quality link intact, they are willing to pay you more for what they believe has higher quality. This occurs most easily with first-time purchases of the types of items behavioral economists call “experience goods” and “post-experience” goods.
     The values of experience goods are difficult for the shopper to assess until they’ve been purchased and used for a while. Unfamiliar foods, innovative tools, gym memberships, and insurance policies are experience goods. Nutritional supplements and investment portfolios are examples of what are generally considered to be post-experience goods. These are items for which it is difficult to evaluate the advantages of having made the purchase even after the use. Because of this, the influence of the price-quality link lingers long after the first-time purchase, and the effect of the link depends heavily on the consumer being convinced of the quality of the items through advertising and salesmanship.

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

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Sidle Eyeballs for Variety Purchasing

Shoppers are attracted to stores that offer a broad variety of choices within product categories. This provides a challenge for smaller retailers, whose display spaces and inventory budgets are more limited than those of large retailers. Researchers at Ohio State University, University of Pennsylvania, University of California-Davis, and San Jose State University suggest that, to up the impression of variety, arrange alternatives horizontally rather than vertically. This works because our eyes move more smoothly from side to side than from up to down.
     The researchers found that shoppers under time pressure will perceive there’s a broader range of alternatives in a horizontal than in a vertical display. The result is a greater interest in buying one or more of the items. When the shopper’s time is not tight, a horizontal display, compared to a vertical, elicits greater amounts of browsing. For those circumstances in which a shopper could use more than one alternative from the selection, the result of the extra browsing is purchase of a larger number of items.
     All this was verified in college students pretending to be shoppers by tracking their eye movements and in mall shoppers by tracking their purchase patterns. The researchers even saw the effect work with how candy selections were made by Halloween trick-or-treaters.
     For using these findings in a retail store setting, the researchers caution about choice overload. Some years ago, studies at University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University found that expectations of large product assortments do indeed attract shoppers to a store, but once there, many of the people avoid making a purchase because they’re not sure what’s best.
     If you encounter this problem, encourage the consumer to think in more abstract ways, such as about features the items have in common rather than considering each item in the choice as unique. Similarly, researchers at University of Delaware and University of Pennsylvania discovered that a way to keep shoppers engaged is to encourage them to focus on product features rather than item alternatives. With the features in mind, the person can start rating each alternative until coming to a decision.
     So in your marketing, point out how you offer a large number of choices. When a shopper starts the shopping with you, display categories within categories to highlight the abundance of alternatives. Arrange the choices within categories horizontally instead of vertically. Then recognize the potential for choice overload.

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

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Brand Discounts Risky If Discouraging Purchase

How is it that a promotional discount on an item in your store would discourage people from buying the item again? Researchers at University of Iowa and Washington University found it happens when consumers think a special price on an item signals that another promotional discount will be coming soon. When shoppers see the regular price on the item after the promotion, they put off purchasing it, believing they’ll get more for their money by waiting until the next sale. In the meantime, you’re missing out on the sales revenue from the item.
     The discount has devalued the item in a way similar to the effects of a “Buy one, get one for free” promotion. When a product is seen by the shopper as being offered for free as part of the BOGO, the shopper resists paying full price for it afterwards. The remedy for the BOGO is to offer, along with the free sample, a coupon for a discount on the regular price, helping to develop a habit to purchase the item.
     In running promotions, your hope is probably most often for the other sort of interpretation studied by those researchers: A good sale on an item indicates it won’t be going on sale again in the near future. This interpretation can motivate quantity purchases. In fact, when it comes to products that are otherwise highly popular, you might decide to limit how many can be purchased at the discounted price. Otherwise, you could run out, irritating your other shoppers.
     With the commodity category the researchers studied—paper towels—this second interpretation occurred less often among shoppers than did the first one. Overall, the promotional discount was leading people to purchase the particular item less often, not more often, in subsequent weeks.
     This effect is risky for a retailer, but not always bad. It’s found to occur most strongly with brand loyal customers. Therefore, if you want to switch a customer to another brand—such as from a nationally advertised to your private label brand—a discount followed by a return to the regular price could facilitate that. Offer a discount on the private label brand at the same time that you restore the standard price on the nationally advertised brand.
     Analyze purchasing patterns to determine which of the two interpretations of your promotional discounts is happening more often. Then take the steps which best serve your store.

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

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Give the Dissatisfied an Apology & Remedy

When a customer comes to you highly upset about how they were dealt with in your store, which of these personalities would give the best results for your business?
  • The empathizer listens sympathetically and takes time to understand the whole situation. 
  • The hard worker finds out what store procedures fit the situation and then strictly adheres to those. 
  • The controller takes charge of the conversation, promptly and decisively proposing a solution. 
  • The accommodator eagerly offers discounts or refunds until the customer is satisfied. 
     Those personality names and admittedly very brief descriptions come from a multinational cross-industry study by consulting firm CEB of 1,440 frontline customer service workers. Of the four I listed from the typology, which type would you prefer to have dealing in your store with any of what the researchers called “unbelievably impatient” complainers? Please make your choice, and then read on.
     I listed the four in order of prevalence in the CEB sample. About 32% were empathizers, and about 11% were accommodators. The measures used by the researchers to determine what type did best included the time to resolve the issue and the customer’s reported satisfaction with the resolution.
     The researchers report that when managers were asked which type they thought would do best, the empathizer won the vote. That no doubt accounts for why this was the most frequent type in organizations. But according to the metrics, the type that did best was not the empathizer, but instead the controller. The researchers explain this by saying, “Customers don’t want an apology, they want a solution.”
     Based on my review of other research, I’d advise you, retailer, that disgruntled customers want both an apology and a solution from you, not only one or the other. For instance, researchers from Chinese University of Hong Kong and Fudan University in China found that empathy toward customers influenced satisfaction to a greater extent than did service outcome factors, such how well the clothes dryer works after being repaired or if the cruise ship vacation met expectations.
     The CEB study was of call center staff. Your in-store staff who handle complaints are usually conversing face-to-face, not over the phone, and should be aiming to develop and maintain a lasting sales relationship with the customer, not just a dialogue for the duration of the complaint resolution. Still, the CEB study reminds us of the value of decisive action with the disgruntled.

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

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Show Complainers Respect, Concern, & Empathy
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ease Irritation by Eliciting White Lies

The salesperson or cashier briefly looks away from the person they’re serving and says to the people waiting, “I apologize for the delay. I’ll be with you soon.” Based on your experience as a retailer, what do you think the most likely response will be from those in line? Probably an accepting nod or an “It’s okay.” The retailer’s acknowledgement that they’re waiting in itself eases the irritation.
     Researchers at University of Alberta and Stanford University say there’s another dynamic at work here, too: If someone who is inconvenienced nods or verbalizes acceptance, they are taking on some responsibility for enduring the bother, this gives them a feeling of control, and that feeling eases their irritation.
     In many cases, the expression of acceptance is a white lie, generated to be nice. When customers in a setting they find to be otherwise pleasant believe they’ve figured out what the retailer wants them to do, they typically mold their behavior to fit.
     This irritation amelioration also occurs in restaurants when the diner with the slightly overcooked steak tells the server that everything is perfect even though it’s not. And with the woman who leaves the hairdresser the usual tip, although she’s not at all comfortable with the unexpected new look. Actually, in the study of waiting lines, the shoppers who told the white lies ended up spending more money than did those who were not induced to lie by the retailer’s acknowledgement and reassurance. It was as if the irritated shoppers wanted to go overboard in convincing themselves they felt better.
     In areas where shoppers often need to wait, the placement of mirrors can ease the irritation. Because most people are entertained by looking at themselves, you’ll get from the shopper less than the average 36% overestimation of the service delay. But again, there’s also the shared responsibility perspective. When a consumer sees an image of herself, her self-awareness increases. This leads to the consumer subconsciously considering what part she played in the unsatisfactory experience.
     Researchers at Bayer Healthcare, Columbia University, and Maastricht University found that placing a mirror behind places where you accept complaints reduces the intensity of customers’ dissatisfaction. Mirrors cause us to pause and look at ourselves. Moreover, the reflection in the mirror helps people sense emotions they’re experiencing, again arousing self-awareness which can ease extreme irritation. Signage including words like I, my, and mine also works.

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

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Charge for Savoring

Two groups of basketball fans were shown the stats for a fictitious player’s performance over five seasons and asked to state how much this player should be paid in year six. The fans in one group were told that the stats were for actual performance. Those in the other group were told the stats were expert predictions of a rookie’s first five years in the league.
     For which group of basketball fans was the average of the statements of deserved pay higher do you think, and, based on your own years of performance as a retailer, why do you think that?
     The correct answer from the study, which was headed up at Stanford University: The salary estimates were about 20% higher for the rookie than for the experienced player. The researchers attribute the finding to consumers’—sports fans and others’—excitement in thinking about potential. One name for this type of excitement is “savoring,” and savoring does carry with your shoppers a definite value which allows you to set a higher item price.
     The value of savoring shows itself in ways other than money paid. In a study at University of Chicago and Chinese University of Hong Kong, some participants were asked something like, “How much effort are you willing to exert for a bag of Godiva chocolates? Oh, before deciding how hard you’ll work, you want to know how many chocolates are in the bag? Well, it’s either two or four.”
     Those participants worked noticeably harder than did those told that the bag was guaranteed to contain four chocolates. The researchers explain this by pointing out how the tickle of uncertainty stimulates consumers. They had parallel results when offering one group a guaranteed reward of two dollars and the other group only a guarantee that it would be either one or two dollars.
     The value augmentation from savoring is most pronounced with novel experiences. When shoppers have had ample familiarity with a certain type of purchase, the tickle of uncertainty fades. Also, what we see as effects of anticipation might actually be due to reality testing. Those Stanford analysts of the basketball player performance stats should note that other stats show the average career duration of a National Basketball Association player is 4.8 years. The rookie might legitimately garner a higher estimated salary because the player with five years of experience is heading into a downward performance path.

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

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Tickle with Uncertainty
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Facilitate Downsizing for Senior Shoppers

The Detroit-area condominium developers couldn’t figure out why so few lookers were turning into buyers. The target market consisted of retirees ready to sell a larger home now that other family members had moved on or passed on. Careful research, including focus groups with prospective purchasers, had provided ideas for pricing and physical designs of the units—ideas which were carefully implemented. But this wasn’t enough, it became clear.
     Then, report the business consultants from Cambridge Group and Innosight who analyzed this case, there was a breakthrough in the form of three words: Interviews with those who had purchased units already often included the phrase “dining room table.” Once the condominium shopper figured out what to do with the big dining room table from the larger home, they came closer to signing the contract for the condo. Further inquiry revealed that the underlying themes were wanting places to socialize with family and the challenge in disposing of possessions. The condo builders reconfigured the floor plans to allow for more hosting areas. They also began offering buyers two years of on-site storage space and use of a “sorting room” to use for pruning down the possessions.
     In the retail store, too, you can bolster business by facilitating downsizing for senior shoppers.
  • Shorter aisle lengths require less walking by senior citizen shoppers. Shorter aisles also look less intimidating. In areas of your store where you stock merchandise primarily of interest to elderly shoppers, divide up long aisles with cul-de-sacs. And can you fit in a bench on which shoppers might take a brief break? 
  • If you carry a broad assortment of brands and models in a category, feature a few of them within easy reach for the elderly shopper. This makes decisions quicker, especially later in the day, when the older brain is more readily confused. 
  • Keep package sizes small. That makes them easier for older hands and arms to lift from the shelf and accurately place into a basket. The elderly generally prefer smaller package sizes for additional reasons. Perishable products can spoil too quickly if the customer is no longer living with a full family. When retirement checks barely cover expenses, smaller item sizes are more affordable. And the elderly often have limited storage areas at home. 
     A skilled retail store operator also can provide opportunities for in-store socializing, completing the lesson from the “dining room table” case study.

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

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Qualify Discount Effects by Item Quality

Analyze records on the reasons for your promotional discounts along with the amounts of discounts. The more you do this, the better you’ll get at using promotions. And as part of it, you might solve some puzzles about why certain discounts of equal amounts on seemingly comparable items produce widely varying degrees of sales lift.
     The reason, according to a set of studies at Miami University, could be that consumers have different quality perceptions of the items. The researchers saw how discounts on items viewed as of high quality are substantially more effective than are discounts of equal amounts on items viewed as being of lower quality. Another way of viewing this is that a smaller discount is necessary to achieve the same sales lift on higher quality than on lower quality items. And still another angle is saying that to get the best from your promotional discounts, highlight the quality of the discounted items.
     The dimension of perceived quality also comes into play when analyzing discounts of equivalent percentage or dollar amounts on house brands versus national label brands. Researchers at Monash University explored the situation in which a retailer introduces a value version of a house brand to add to a premium version on the shelves. Here’s what happens:
  • Prior to introduction of the value version, the premium version is likely to be considered by consumers to be of standard, not premium, quality. 
  • After introduction of the value version, consumers’ quality assessments of the premium version increase. 
  • If a premium version is introduced to an existing value version, the assessment of the value version doesn’t change noticeably. 
  • The price consumers expect to pay varies directly with their perceptions of the quality. 
     On the other hand, researchers at Miami University and France’s ESSEC Business School found that addition on store shelves of a value version to a premium version of a national label product leads to lower quality ratings of the premium version. The researchers used as examples the introduction by Charmin of a lower-quality Charmin Basic product and Foster’s Beer producing a lower-quality Foster’s Grog.
     All this is a reminder to discover not only how well a promotion is working, but also why. The best promotions pull a variety of triggers. A prospective purchaser might respond to one more intensely than to another, and every prospect is more likely to purchase when there’s a bunch of triggers.

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

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Elicit Sameness for Practical Satisfaction

A skilled retailer’s interactions with a customer differ from pre-purchase to post-purchase. For instance, according to studies at Stanford University, University of Utah, and University of Iowa, customers usually want specifications pre-purchase, but after making the purchase, they're usually seeking reassurance. So right after the purchase, tell the customer that they’ve made a good decision. Keep it general. Then when the customer returns to your store later or contacts you to place a telephone or ecommerce order, deliver a different sort of reassurance about their prior purchase: Emphasize cause and effect. Point out to them how what they obtained from you generated benefits important to them.
     Subsequent research at Duke University and University of Florida indicates that when the item was purchased primarily for practical, utilitarian use rather than for pleasure-oriented, hedonic benefits, your inquiries should emphasize usage sameness, not variety. Ask, “What are the one or two ways you’re using the item?” rather than, “What are all the different ways you’ve found uses for the product?” Limiting the scope of consumption experiences led to more positive evaluations of the product and the purchase experience, higher intentions to purchase the product again when a new one is needed, and a greater willingness to recommend the product to others.
     The researcher’s explanation is that when consumers think of the variety of ways they’ve used an item, they’ll tend to think of using it less often than when they think of only the primary way they use it. This leads to perceptions that the product is less valuable, since it’s been used less often.
     This is true just for utilitarian items. With hedonic items, post-purchase questions about the range of consumption situations did not worsen evaluations.
     All this highlights another difference between pre-purchase and post-purchase tactics. Prior to purchase of any item, we’ll want to advertise the range of ways in which the item can be used. This catches the attention of a wider range of shoppers and helps each shopper justify the cost of the item.
     But here, too, usage frequency counts in ways we might not expect. In a set of studies at University of Maryland-College Park and Georgetown University, consumers became less likely to purchase items they were led to believe they would use substantially less often than their peers. So when discussing predicted frequency of use, talk about each shopper as an individual. Avoid comparisons with others.

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

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Opt for Full Disclosure of Opt-Out Defaults

A pre-conference announcement sent to about 300 registrants from over 60 federal agencies described the default lunch option: Bean sprout and soy cheese sandwich on gluten-free soda bread. The recipients of the announcement were invited to opt out and choose an alternative in advance of the conference. But only 20% did so. How surprised many of the other 80% were when their inaction was discussed at the keynote address, the theme of which was information disclosure to consumers!
     The pair, based at University of Chicago and ideas42, who conducted this little demonstration project went on to point out to the conference attendees that few consumers thoroughly read any terms and conditions given by sellers. That reality opens possibilities for merchants to swindle, and even endanger, their customers. Consumer advocates argue for assertive disclosure to shoppers of any opportunities to opt out of defaults.
     Would doing this encourage opt-outs? Not so much, say researchers at Northeastern University, Indiana University, and University of Cincinnati. They conducted a series of experiments involving opt-out configurations for food choices, financial incentives, energy usage, and privacy permissions. Rejection rates for the default option were about the same whether or not the consumers were told the purpose of the opt-out structure was to encourage them to accept the default. As long as consumers feel in control, they usually prefer simplicity, and accepting the default keeps things simpler.
     But the assertive disclosure did make a positive difference in another way: Those given it developed higher trust in the seller and were more likely to say they’d give the seller future business.
     This argues for using defaults and making full disclosure to consumers that you have opt-outs. Further, in choosing what defaults to use, be aware how your choice shapes behavior. For instance, this applies to charitable contributions. In a field study based at France's ESSEC Business School, a request for a small amount increased the willingness of the person to make a donation, and the larger the greatest amount in the same request, the higher the eventual donation.
     Researchers at State University of New York-Buffalo and University of Chicago obtained similar results, plus finding that because of these countervailing effects, a high default amount with opt-out doesn’t reduce net funds raised. The high default will actually increase the average donation amount over a low default if full disclosure is paired with an effective argument for donating at all.

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

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Use Rejection to Learn About Shoppers

Analyzing how your customer chose among the available alternatives provides you valuable information about what to offer the customer subsequently. Analyzing how customers go about rejecting alternatives also can give you useful insights.
     Researchers at University of Miami and Babson College noticed that when asked to begin the choice process by eliminating alternatives, shoppers became more likely to end up selecting one of those alternatives they were considering for rejection. This happens because attention to any item makes it more likely people notice characteristics of the item they find attractive. Along with this, the process of deciding what to reject brings concern about missed opportunities, a concern people ease by selecting rather than rejecting.
     But once the rejection occurs, the rejected item becomes even less likely to be subsequently selected. A laboratory example of the effect was seen in a study at University of Florida, Louisiana State University, and London Business School. The study used soda, cheese, shampoo, and chocolate brands which the researchers knew were not familiar to the participants.
     In displays of items, each participant was asked to locate a specified brand of an item category, such as a specified brand of chocolate. The task was repeated with different item categories. Then afterwards, when the participant was asked to select between the brand of item previously located and a brand that had never been seen before, the previously located one was chosen much more often.
     That’s expected, you might say. But there is more. In the initial location task, there were always precisely two brands of the item type. Therefore, in locating the one brand, as requested by the experimenter, the participant was neglecting another brand. The consumer was rehearsing rejection.
     What happened when, later, the participant was asked to express a preference between the previously neglected brand and a neutral brand which had not been seen before? Yes, the neutral brand was more likely to be favored.
     I’ve regularly heard from retail salespeople that once a shopper has rejected selection of an item, the shopper seems resistant to changing their mind. This could be attributed to a fear of looking indecisive. However, I’ve found many exceptions, in which the shopper does have second thoughts and will end up going back to an already spurned alternative. University of Toronto research indicates one technique is to introduce an alternative which is obviously inferior to the previously rejected choice.

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

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Divert Multitaskers from Why to How

Multitasking is a common consumer behavior, often out of necessity but especially with younger consumers, from a preference for packing the maximum amount of enrichment into precious time. When selling to multitaskers, retailers do best to command attention quickly and dramatically. Use colorful, stimulating content.
     You’ll also want to attend to a fork in the road of consumer decision making which directs shoppers toward asking either why they’re considering the purchase or how they’ll complete the purchase. Researchers at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Concordia University in Montreal, and BVA Group found that multitaskers who take the “why” prong have a harder time coming to a satisfactory decision. Their deliberations about motivations cause them more stress than happens with the “how” multitaskers, who are closer to achieving implementation, such as the actual purchase.
     The researchers suggest that you guide multitaskers toward considerations of how they’ll complete the purchase and best integrate the product or service into their life. Or in circumstances where the multitasking shopper seems stuck in considerations of why, ease the stress. Encourage the shopper to go on to another item to be purchased and come back later to the previously stressful decision. Guide the shopper toward a less crowded area, perhaps one with live foliage—an environmental feature documented to ease stress by studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Leuven. When the “how” concerns the mechanics of completing the purchase, you could turn the talk to credit terms or layaway.
     When the “how” concerns the mechanics of integrating the item into the purchaser’s life, think about product training. People often buy more features in a product than they know how to use and then become more likely to return the product when they’re unable to master the features.
     This bifurcation into how and why is also seen in other consumer psychology areas:
  • A financial planner client with a short-term savings objective will reach that objective more quickly if asking “how” more often than “why.” With longer-range objectives, spending time navigating the “why” path is more motivational. 
  • In encouraging recycling, loss-framed arguments (“If you don’t recycle, we could run out of places to put our piles of trash.”) are most effective paired with “how to” instructions while gain-framed arguments (“If you recycle, we’ll be better able to save trees and reduce pollution from manufacturing.”) are most effective paired with “why we’re telling you” arguments. 
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Encourage Prompt Use of Discounted Items

The interval between purchase and use of items your customers buy at a substantial discount influences their interest in purchasing from you again. Getting a price break pleases people, and pleasure usually translates to wanting to patronize that retailer again. But paying the lower price also reduces a need to justify the purchase and therefore firmly remember there was a substantial discount. This diminishes the impact of the discount on motivation to buy again.
     In studies at Columbia University and University of Toronto, participants with a sweet tooth were given sufficient money to purchase chocolate truffles at either the regular price of one dollar each or a 50%-off price of fifty cents. Some of the people were asked to eat the chocolate right after purchase, while the others were asked to wait a week before consumption.
     Among those purchasing the discounted items, the people who had to wait rated the transaction as less satisfactory. The researchers found the same pattern with purchases of other merchandise types such as orange juice and with purchase of experiential items such as music selections.
     This doesn’t necessarily mean people experience no pleasure from waiting. Researchers at University of California-San Diego and Duke University discovered that although people say they would never pay more money if it meant waiting longer for delivery, those same people report experiencing substantial pleasure from anticipation during the wait. And with items for which there is no discount at purchase, the wait can add noticeably to the consumption pleasure. Psychologists at University of Chicago found that with products like theatre tickets and premium chocolate candies, the average purchaser obtained more total enjoyment if there was a delay before use. Savoring feels good.
     An important function of retailer’s discounts is to create a positive price image among potential customers. Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam found that the pricing of a certain class of items was especially influential in shaping the price image. Among these “lighthouse items,” the researchers said, are those usually bought in large quantities and then stored, and for which consumers believe higher product or service quality requires a higher regular price.
     But with stored items, consumption is delayed, so the power of the discount is lessened. The remedy is for the retailer to encourage purchasers to promptly use as least some of these lighthouse items, along with promptly at least sampling other items purchased at substantial discounts.

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

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Enhance Subjective Knowledge via Identity

What your shoppers think they know might not match well what they do know. This is of concern because consumers’ impressions of what they know—their subjective knowledge—is often more important in purchase decisions than is their actual, objective level of knowledge. Moreover, salespeople can inadvertently decrease subjective knowledge while trying to build objective knowledge. As shoppers learn more, they become sensitized to how much more they should be learning.
     We’d like our customers to feel confident in the decisions they make. Researchers at University of Hong Kong, University of China, and Peking University say that’s most likely to happen when our customers have excellent self-esteem in general or when they believe they have superb expertise about the particular product or service category they’re considering.
     But for the many who harbor lingering self-doubts, those researchers discovered another successful technique: Help the person become aware of the different roles they occupy in life. Ask them about their job, their family status, their leisure pursuits, their community activism.
     None of this needs to relate directly to the particular item category where the shopper starts out feeling like they don’t know enough. They could bring to a shopping trip for tires concerns that their acquaintance with tire selection is lacking. You’ll enhance their confidence in their knowledge by asking about their occupation, then about their kids, and then about what they like to do in their off-hours. None of it needs to directly reference the shopping for tires.
     Often, you’re more likely to make a sale when you chat up the person first. Researchers at University of Minnesota, Utrecht University, and University of Twente saw how brief chitchat at the start, such as, “How are you today?,” softens up the prospect’s resistances to a solicitation which follows. But this tactic of talking specifically about different identities of the shopper goes beyond unfocused chitchat. Purposefully widening the perception of range of identities also heightens the perception of subjective knowledge about a range of products and services for sale.
     In using this tactic, stay aware that we don't want customers making misinformed purchase decisions or misusing what they buy. They could hurt themselves. They also could damage the merchandise. We want our patrons to be not only confident, but also what consumer psychologists call “well-calibrated.” In well-calibrated customers, the discrepancy between subjective knowledge and objective knowledge is small. Their shopping confidence is deserved.

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

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Reference Prices for Referrals

Customer referrals are an excellent source for building your business. There will be more people to purchase from you. And a referral reduces price sensitivity. Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt and University of Pennsylvania found that the revenue value from a referred customer averages about 16% higher than that from a non-referred customer.
     Yet because of the referral process, these new prospects may come into your store, shop, or office with distorted impressions about what you charge. This is especially likely in services retailing, where price tags are usually less prominently displayed than with merchandise retailing.
     The distortions can be in different directions:
  • In a Yale University study, a group of MBA students were asked what they’d be willing to pay for a set of DVDs of a popular television series. They were then asked to estimate what others would be willing to pay. The difference averaged 48%. Similar findings were obtained for chocolate truffles, teddy bears, artwork, and even a trip to the moon. People usually think others will pay higher prices for items than they themselves would pay. If this attitude is reflected in the referral process, the referred shopper may come to you with hesitation, expecting to pay a premium price. 
  • Friends brag about savings they’ve obtained, even if this means lying. Researchers at University of Alberta, University of Calgary, and University of British Columbia concluded that when people believe they might have been able to wrangle a better deal on a product or service, this belief leads to them feeling a threat to their self-esteem and their self-image. They fear not only that others will see them as being suckers, but also that they’ll see themselves that way. The researchers found that people are especially likely to lie to coworkers about the good deals they got. Since a natural follow-up question from a coworker is, “Where did you get such a good price?,” you—the retailer—should expect some people to come into your store looking for discounts you’re not offering. They were lied to. 
     To handle this issue, reference your regular prices on documents salespeople can present to prospects and have each employee on your sales floor and at the checkout area carry copies of your store’s current ads and discount announcements. These, along with price tags, take it away from being customer versus store employee. There’s the objective source both can look at.

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

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