Monday, October 23, 2017

Construct Shopper Certainty Using Consistency

Researchers at University of Cologne and Reutlingen University found that shoppers rated both the store and the merchandise in the store more positively when there was a match between the nature of the flooring surface and of the background music. The effect was seen when the shopper heard gentle musical selections while standing on carpeting and when vigorous music was heard while standing on stone tiles.
     These findings remind us of the benefits from coordinating the stimuli in a shopping environment to create a consistent message to consumers. The researchers explain that because consistent stimuli are easier to process, the person’s self-confidence builds, and this spreads to their assuredness in purchases they make and the venue in which they make the purchases.
     The research also reminds us of the importance of touch for your shoppers’ purchase decisions. It expands on this by finding that influential touch information comes not only via the hands and when a shopper seeks it out by picking up items, but also via the feet and when a shopper is exposed to softness versus hardness without seeking out touch information. In university laboratories and retail field settings, researchers at Freie Universität Berlin and Technische Universität Berlin exposed consumers to different feelings of surface hardness. The results indicate that greater amounts of hardness lead consumers to think of a retail business as rugged.
     Incongruous sensations can jar the shopper. Researchers at University of Oregon and York University found that ratings for a bag of coffee beans were lower when the bag looked like burlap but felt smooth like paper than when the surface both looked and felt like burlap.
     However, at the same time that we implement the benefits of coordinated store stimuli, let’s appreciate the value of mild incongruity—something a bit out of place. This is found to kindle processing. Incongruity tickles us cognitively and emotionally, so we devote resources to scratching. A repeated finding in consumer psychology is that retailers should introduce enough surprise to slow down the shopper for a moment to appreciate the sales message. If a store impression is perfectly predictable, the shopper processes it all immediately and then moves on—beyond the range of a sale that benefits both the purchaser and the retailer. But researchers at Belgium’s Hasselt University-Diepenbeek found that in areas with merchandise targeted to women, an incongruent faint male-associated fragrance enhanced store and product ratings.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Coordinate Store Atmosphere Stimuli
Floor Me with Persuasive Flooring
Set Appeals of Product Touch in Concrete
Incorporate Incongruity to Keep Attention

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Unite Choices to Nix Unit Nixing

Shoppers decide in different ways when alternatives are presented at the same time than when alternatives are presented one after another. Knowing about these effects of simultaneous and sequential choice helps you guide the process toward the best outcome.
     Researchers at Ohio State University and Erasmus University looked into the “unit effect,” which refers to times that a shopper emphasizes the numerals at the expense of the units. One example comes from the realm of dishwasher warranties. The researchers asked a group of consumers to state how much they’d be willing to pay for a dishwasher with a five-year warranty compared to one with a three-year warranty. Another group were asked the same question in comparing a dishwasher with a warranty of 60 months with a warranty of 36 months. Notice that 60 months is the same as five years and 36 months is the same as three years. Still, prior studies indicated that people often consider the difference in value to be greater when the warranty length is stated in months rather than years. People paid more attention to the numerals than to the unit of measurement. This unit effect disrupted rational decision making.
     The Ohio/Erasmus researchers identified a way to lessen the unit effect: Present the options all at the same time before asking the shopper to evaluate any one of them. It worked with willingness to pay for TVs when screen size was stated in inches versus centimeters, ground beef in pounds versus ounces, and kitchen knives with customer ratings on a ten-point scale versus a 1000-point scale.
     There are other determinants of the unit effect. When a shopper intends to make the purchase at an indefinite point in the future, they’ll pay more attention to the units than to the numerals. For consumers who want the table delivered today, 48 by 60 inches sounds larger than four by five feet. But people who are gathering information about possibilities will code feet as larger than inches, so “four by five feet” will be remembered by them as larger.
     So you might see the unit effect nixed even with sequential presentation. But researchers at Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University find another disadvantage of sequential presentation compared to simultaneous presentation: The sequential leads shoppers to keep looking for a better alternative with a consequent lower level of satisfaction with whatever choice is made.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more:
Measure Your Magnitude Quotes Situationally

Monday, October 16, 2017

Facilitate Recurring Survey Completion

Retailers who want to stay sensitive to customers might choose to administer satisfaction surveys. With regular customers, retailers might choose to administer surveys repeatedly. Study results from University of San Diego and Boston College argue that you might choose to think carefully before doing so. Surveys administered after each transaction, for example, generally irritate customers. The frequent customers question whether the retailer has been able to use all the information already provided. The infrequent customers view the survey as a trick to stay in touch and sell more rather than as genuine requests for constructive critiques.
     Negative effects of frequent surveys are more likely when the retailer is additionally reaching out to customers in other ways, such as via promotional mailings. The negative effects in the studies included longer times between visits to the retailer and lower purchase amounts from revisits.
     To get the best from a customer survey program, then, take care not to administer the questionnaires too frequently. How to tell the right frequency? Based on my experience in conducting such programs, I suggest that before asking a customer to complete another survey, you analyze results and tell the customer what actions you are taking in response to what you learned. And if you aren’t taking any action, even the action of looking more carefully at a potential problem, why put out another survey request? There are less intrusive ways to stay in touch with your customers.
     Beyond this, keep it easy for customers to feel they are sharing their important thoughts with you:
  • Avoid “and,” “or,” and “not” in items. When an item contains an “and” or an “or,” the customer might agree with one part and disagree with another part. They don’t know how to answer. A “not” in an item, such as, “I am not sure if the repair was successful,” is needlessly complicated. 
  • Include an “Other” or “Don’t know” as a reply alternative. Without this option, survey respondents feel overly restricted. Then follow with “Please tell us more below,” and leave a welcoming, unintimidating inch of space for a comment. In online administrations, allow the respondent to type more as the box scrolls down. 
  • Ask advice, not expectations. Advice questions are of the form, “What items of advice do you have for our store?” Expectations questions are of the form, “What are your expectations of our store?” Expectations can set off customer frustrations. 
For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Unknot Distortions from Using “Not”
Add “Please State” to “Other” Choice
Vent Sour Tastes When Surveying Consumers
To Build Loyalty, Ask Advice, Not Expectations
Monitor Your Thanks to Customers

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Set Appeals of Product Touch in Concrete

When salespeople entice shoppers to actually touch products being considered for purchase, those shoppers become more interested in purchasing an item, are more willing to pay for higher quality, and are less likely to return purchases they’ve made. These factors can provide advantages for store-based retailers who are competing with online channels. Researchers from University of Michigan, Lanzhou University, and Sun Yat-Sen University find that these advantages are significantly stronger when shoppers are thinking concretely.
     Features of products you sell can be concrete—such as the average time between repairs—or abstract—such as a general claim of high quality. Sales pitches using words and phrases like apple, engine, hammer, “Notice the volume,” and, “What steps do you take to stay healthy?,” are more concrete than pitches using words and phrases like aptitude, essence, hatred, “It livens you up,” and, “What motivates you to stay healthy?”
     There’s reason to believe that guiding the shopper toward the concrete comes not only from the language you use, but also from product arrangement. For instance, studies at Erasmus University, Loughborough School of Business and Economics, and Norwegian School of Management, find that shoppers are more interested in concrete features when gazing down at the merchandise and more interested in abstract claims when peering up.
     With shoppers clearly showing abstract reasoning at the time of sale, don’t bother inviting them to touch the merchandise. Touch does have downsides. Researchers at University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, and Arizona State University verify what most of us would have predicted: Customers have less attraction to an item on a rack or shelf when they're thinking about who else has touched it. They feel disgusted at the idea the product could have been contaminated by other shoppers.
     To cancel out the downsides in shops serving touchers, adjacent to, but separate from, shelving and racks that hold the items to be purchased, have sample items which can be handled. Have staff frequently refold, repackage, and re-shelve in order to remove cues of product contamination. To reduce fears of contamination, space out items on racks and shelves.
     Further, researchers at University of Southern California and University of Texas-Austin say that even with shoppers who are thinking concretely, you should subsequently switch to the abstract after getting the touch. You want people to spend time contemplating why to buy. Abstract words and phrases help accomplish that.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Reach Out for What Will Touch Your Shoppers
Cement Positives by Spotting Concretes
Look It Up: Abstract Benefits Above Shoppers
Head Off Concerns About Touching Products
Sense the Pleasure from Tactile Ordering

Monday, October 9, 2017

Mean More with Mean Ratings

Your shoppers, whether beginning their search in-store or online, are likely to look for ratings when comparing alternatives. An item with an average rating of four stars should prevail over one with an average rating of two stars, all else considered, and the customer will probably feel more satisfied after having made such a four-star choice.
     But does the format of the ratings make a difference in purchase intentions? Is it best for the retailer to present an average four-star rating in a mean format—just the four stars; in a distribution format—the percentage of ratings at each point on the scale from one to five, let’s say; or as both the mean and the distribution?
     Researchers at New Mexico State University and University of Nevada-Reno find that the mean format is the most likely of the three to lead to purchase of an alternative under consideration. The reason is that, of the three formats, the mean format is easiest for the shopper to mentally process, what is easier to process leaves us with a more positive feeling, and positive feelings lead to buying behavior.
     Ease of processing is especially important with rating comparisons because the shopper’s choices are not always straightforward. Consumer psychologists distinguish between “maximizers,” who want to choose the best possible alternative, and “satisficers,” who are pleased to settle for what’s good enough. Maximizers are usually willing to pay more money than satisficers and to spend more time deciding. But some maximizers are bargain hunters, searching for a deal on the very best. Other maximizers are happy to pay top dollar if they can depend on a trusted salesperson to quickly point them toward perfection.
     Researchers at Virginia Tech and University of Michigan showed that another complication arises from how maximizers define “very best.” One group of shoppers were asked to express degree of preference for an item rated 60 on a 100-point scale when all the other choices are rated at no higher than 50. For another group of shoppers, the focus item was rated at 80 and the alternatives topped out at a rating of 95.
     It might seem that maximizers in the “80 versus 95” group would express a stronger preference for their focus item than did maximizers in the “60 versus 50” group. But it turned out the other way around. Maximizers pay attention to relative in addition to absolute ratings.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Loosen Strict Categories
Absolve Maximizers of Solely Absolutes
Shape Customer Reviews to Your Advantage
Correct for Language Preference on Surveys
Explore What’s Behind the Numbers

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Move the Food

You will sell more food when shoppers consider the food to be fresh. An intriguing technique for suggesting freshness is to show the food in motion, according to researchers at Cornell University and Israel’s Ono Academic College.
     In a series of studies, participants were shown photos of foods and beverages such as pretzels, cornflakes, yogurt, and orange juice. In some cases, the photos showed the item sitting in a bowl or cup. In other cases, the photos were of the item being poured into the container.
     Consumers judged items to be fresher and predicted items would be tastier in those instances where the foods and beverages were shown being poured.
     The researchers hypothesize the effect is due to both evolution and learning. Running water is less likely than still water to harbor bacteria. Plant-based foods are less likely to be spoiled while still on living, moving trees. Asian wet markets keep live edible animals on hand because this reassures shoppers about the freshness of the meat.
     Other studies suggest that perception of motion can facilitate sales because this involves the viewer. Researchers at Northwestern University and University of Minnesota point out how when people see a baseball hit with great force, they often have a momentary feeling of certainty the ball will go out of the park. They get involved.
     Notice that in the Cornell/Ono research, photos, not videos, were used to portray motion. It’s not necessary to keep mechanically moving the food around on a shelf in order to move the food out the door in customers’ shopping bags.
     Further, packages you carry on your shelves which include green in the label are more likely to be perceived as fresh. Show consumers from throughout the world green product packaging and you'll probably hear descriptions like new, organic, healthy, and refreshing. If the packages themselves don’t have green, you can use green in the signage or even on the shelf tags. The freshness appeal of green is stronger when the store environment is tidy and there is a scent of pine.
     Still, the researchers in many of these studies caution that these ways of signaling freshness are not the same as ensuring the food is actually fresh. We’ll always want to back up the claims, especially when those claims are depending on evolutionary predisposition and subconscious triggering. When food’s expired, move it for sure, but to the trash.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Portray Freshness in CPGs
Beware Flawed Predictions from Animations
Show Shoppers Selective Transparency

Monday, October 2, 2017

Schmooze Away Problems for Seniors

When fashion retailer Eileen Fisher was sensing a disconnect between customer expectations and store salesperson behavior, management hired consulting firm IDEO to spot the problem. What IDEO determined was that as the retailer moved their target markets toward younger consumers, shopper sought quicker, less intimate interactions. Analyzing the incident later, researchers at Harvard University, Boston University, and GfK said the customers wanted more of a fling than a love affair with Eileen Fisher.
     But as retailers move in the opposite direction, appealing to the burgeoning audience of senior citizens, the changes should be toward increased socializing, not less, and store staff should be coached accordingly. Older adults go to stores as much or more for the recreational experience of shopping than for the merchandise they purchase.
     Still, as researchers at Indian Institute of Management state in a comprehensive review of the literature on selling to seniors, the schmoozing should be more than idle chatter. It should be addressed toward understanding problems presented by the shopper and then helping to resolve those problems. Some problems are strictly logistical, such as trouble reading labels in small print, fetching an item that’s out of reach, or getting a small enough size of the item. Other problems facing the shopper, and by extension the retailer, might require sustained effort and referrals in order to remedy. 
     The desire for socializing comes when younger family members pull away or because physical problems make it more difficult or more fearsome to socialize freely. The attractiveness of diving into problem solving arises in part because as we age, we become increasingly aware that our time on earth does end. Older people generally perceive themselves as having more time than money, but with their bank of time still being limited. The Indian Institute of Management researchers propose that retailers segment target audiences of seniors on the basis of how far away from the end of life they perceive themselves to be. This differs from the approach we take to market segmentation with children and younger adults, which we base on the duration since birth.
     Along with schmoozing, notice any companions with the shopper. If the companions are clearly younger and the senior defers to their judgment, this shopper likely has a higher cognitive age. If companions are of similar age to the senior shopper and the senior participates actively in purchase decisions, the cognitive age is probably lower.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Fling Shoppers for Thrills
Emphasize Emotions with Older Consumers
Supply Quality Time to Senior Shoppers
Retire Hopes for Unitary Retirement Marketing
Store Goodwill with Seniors

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Be Up Front with Quality Sales Pitches

When targets of our influence consciously realize we’re selling to them rather than only informing them, those targets’ resistances to persuasion might grow mightily. It would seem you’d want to avoid this reactance. However, study results from Seattle University and Northwestern University make a case for activating “persuasion knowledge” in customers and clients early in the influence process. They say it can bolster credibility instead of inducing skepticism. This happens when the sales pitches are recognized as genuinely in the interest of the recipients, benefits claims are believable, the agent of persuasion is seen as having kept promises in the past, and the agent of persuasion is up front about intent. Candor at the start builds trust.
     Other study results indicate when early notice of your influence intentions is especially crucial in steering the person away from skepticism and toward credibility:
  • Studies at Georgia State University and University of Leeds find that shoppers who ask questions about the relative value of items are likely to have accurate impressions of how pricing is used to persuade and to feel confident about their pricing tactics persuasion knowledge. Shoppers who love using coupons are less likely to use PTPK. 
  • Researchers at University of Western Ontario, University of Connecticut, and Mississippi State University say that salespersons’ use of guilt appeals brings persuasion knowledge to the fore. Sources of shopper guilt include a client being late for an appointment or succumbing to temptation to make a purchase previously resisted. In the experiments, use of persuasion knowledge led those who started out feeling guilty to instead experience less guilt about themselves and more anger toward the sales agent. So early intervention can head off irritation as well as skepticism. 
  • Rhetorical questions in face-to-face influencer-consumer interactions or in ads raise persuasion knowledge. A rhetorical question is a yes/no question to which the answer is felt to be so obvious that no reply is necessary. Examples include “Wouldn't it be fun to have this couch in your living room by tonight?,” and “Do you want to miss this wonderful opportunity?” 
  • Researchers at Tilburg University and University of Amsterdam looked at instances where a branded item is shown as part of the story in a movie or TV show in order to lead the viewer to want to acquire that brand. If the product placement was pointed out, the viewers became skeptical unless the viewers were feeling fatigued. 
For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Unbox the Resistant Customer
Put Foot-in-the-Door to Build Trust
Tip Off Shoppers Before Manipulation
Improve Sales Using Guilty Self-Improvement
Show Impatience to Noncompliant Patients
Use Rhetorical Questions to Close Sales
Thread Success with Three Claims
Arouse Curiosity for Special Effect

Monday, September 25, 2017

Remember the Consumer Appeal of Forgetting

Why would people purchase items only to promptly put the items away out of sight? Perhaps because the acquisition was made as an investment and the secure storage is for safekeeping. Maybe because the consumer has plans to use the purchased item only in the distant future. And researchers at HEC Montreál find still another reason: There are circumstances in which consumers will buy souvenirs of an experience and store the souvenirs out of sight in order to help forget about the experience.
     The circumstances are ones in which the experience is unpleasant, yet the consumers believe they are obliged to endure the experience. The researchers used as an example visits to the World Trade Center 9/11 memorials. Tracking a cadre of site visitors over a period of eight years, the researchers saw many instances in which souvenirs of the visit were sought, purchased, and then kept in the home without ever being looked at or shown to others. The purchasers spoke about wanting to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks, then using the act of storing away the souvenir as a way to compartmentalize the anger and grief aroused by the visit.
     Other consumer motivations for thanatourism—visiting places where death, tragedies, and atrocities occurred—include an intellectual curiosity about history and a wish to preserve lessons from the past. These visitors, too, might want to engage afterwards in the motivated forgetting which souvenir items provided by retailers could facilitate.
     More generally, remember the appeal to consumers which can come not only from remembering, but also from forgetting. When the shopping trip is intended to help put away unpleasant feelings arising prior to the visit, we could call it retail therapy. Researchers at University of Michigan say the mechanism of action is restoration of control. Sadness generally arises from perceptions that situations are controlling one’s life. Deciding to go shopping and subsequently doing it verifies to the person that they can assert themselves in the face of difficult situations. Making choices during the trip is another signal of being in control.
     Moreover, rubbing elbows with other shoppers meets the need not to be alone in the world. Solicitous store staff jack up our sense of importance. Spending money bestows mastery. In these cases of retail therapy, any souvenirs of the shopping trip are likely to achieve their intended purposes for forgetting by being displayed rather than being stored away.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Craft the Investment Appeal of Art Items
Release Those Pajamas from Purgatory
Shadow Dark Tourism
Shorten the Term of Retail Therapy
Reinvigorate Heirloom Value Presale
Celebrate the Celebrity Appeal

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Help Store Shoppers Positively Interact

For many people, an important advantage of in-store over online shopping is the sense of community provided by the interpersonal interactions in the store. One form this takes is customers observing and assisting others who happen to be shopping in the store at the same time. Beyond providing opportunities for socialization, this Customer Citizenship Behavior (CCB) can lead to frequent customers giving suggestions to the store operator for improvements as well as enforcing store standards, such as tipping off staff about a shoplifter. CCB is of increasing value to retailers who are installing self-service technologies or experiencing staffing shortfalls.
     Researchers at Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hanyang University, and Harbin Institute of Technology verified the common sense hypothesis that a shopper is more likely to show CCB when they’ve experienced or seen an employee being helpful to a customer or another employee. The researchers also reinforced findings from prior research that a show of CCB by a shopper acts to increase that shopper’s identification with and positive impressions of the store and/or of the salesperson.
     But the study findings do lead to a caution: If the shopper considers the overall level of customer service in the store to be low, their engaging in CCB produces a strong attachment to the helpful salesperson who inspired them, but not to the store itself. If that salesperson is no longer available to that shopper in future store visits, the shopper’s draw to the store fades fast. The solution is to maintain a good level of customer service in general so that the employee’s helpfulness is not seen as an exception. The researchers find that in this situation, shoppers’ show of CCB leads to identification with the store to a greater extent than to a particular salesperson or small set of salespeople.
     Research findings from Seoul National University uncovered another risk with CCB: Sometimes shoppers prefer not to be helped by their peers. In these cases, the offers of assistance from other shoppers produce a negative impression of the overall shopping experience.
     This might occur because the shopper isn’t comfortable with the purchases they’re considering. Assistance from other shoppers can cause embarrassment. Offers of help from salespeople are more acceptable than CCB because the salespeople have seen many purchases of these potentially embarrassing items. The advice: If your store carries items with high embarrassment-potential, don’t encourage CCB.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Tell Shiitakes from Shinola
Naturalize Citizens to Serve Your Store
Maintain Customer Faith
Hold Off on Hand-Holding the Experienced
Dim the Lights for Low Down Purchases

Monday, September 18, 2017

Check for Empowered Shoppers’ Compliance

A worldwide trend among health care providers is to empower consumers with the responsibility of making medical decisions for themselves. The argument is that informed consent supports ethical patient interactions, increases compliance with the expert’s advice, and relieves providers of blame for flawed outcomes.
     Researchers at Erasmus University and University of Navarra outlined the process as beginning with a statement of major options: “Here are two possible courses of action.” Next, the provider describes tradeoffs (“The downside of option X is….”) or fit with the consumer’s characteristics (“I believe option Y is compatible with your preferences because….”). The full process concludes with the decision assigned to the consumer: “We’ve discussed the options, and I’ve answered your questions. Please make your choice when you are ready.”
     Consumer psychologists view this as empowerment because power is defined as an individual’s control over resources and outcomes. Concerning the medical decisions analyzed by the researchers, the resource is information. But the researchers found that the empowerment from information can lead to bad outcomes.
     The study sample was certainly comprehensive, including a total of 11,735 respondents in 17 countries spanning a total of four continents. The study conclusion was that the amount of information necessary for true informed consent often disrupts adherence to expert advice. One way in which this happens is that an abundance of information overloads the consumer’s reasoning and emotions, resulting in unintentional non-adherence. Another way it happens is that the wealth of information bestows overconfidence, leading the consumer to subsequently listen less well to qualified experts and discount expert views different from their own premature conclusions.
     Researchers at University of Texas-Arlington and University of Calgary find that empowered consumers of products and services in realms other than health care also fail to adhere to expert advice. In fact, the consumers rebel against the advice. If they feel confident in their conclusions, the rebellion arises from a desire to see themselves as self-sufficient shoppers. If the consumers feel less than high confidence in their conclusions, the rebellion reflects a drive for independence in the face of uncertainty.
     Both sets of researchers say this downside of consumer empowerment can be alleviated by giving decision makers information only as they ask for it. It’s the overload which triggers the effects. Still, the wise provider will also check for degree of compliance with expert advice when the consequences of flawed decisions could be serious.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Acknowledge Customers’ Willful Ignorance
Confide in Shoppers for Calibrated Confidence
Empower Indirectly Using Co-creation
Show Impatience to Noncompliant Patients

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Upgrade Your Upselling

Upselling—convincing a customer who has already made a purchase decision to change to a more expensive alternative—has a bad reputation. When upselling takes the form of drawing in shoppers with ads for bargain goods which turn out to be flawed and then pressuring the shoppers to buy costly alternatives, it’s called bait-and-switch.
     But researchers at Albstadt-Sigmaringen University of Applied Sciences, RWTH Aachen University, and University of St Gallen document that many consumers appreciate the options offered when upselling is done properly. One of their interviewees, a 28-year-old woman said about her hotel upgrade, “The room belonging to the higher category was available for only a small extra charge, maybe 10 Euros, and the room was larger and more comfortable. Access to the swimming pool was also included. I accepted that offer immediately.” Yes, her original purchase would have banned her from the hotel pool, but she didn’t see the upselling as an unethical bait-and-switch.
     Following their interviewing, the researchers experimented with different upselling tactics to determine which made the sale without causing ill will. They found that a critical factor was how much mental energy the shopper had invested before coming to the initial decision, before the upselling pitch. In some cases, there would be noticeable effort.
  • With services like hotel reservations and car rentals, people often book online, where they’re presented an abundance of options. Sorting through these while considering tradeoffs in price and benefits can be exhausting. 
  • Someone for whom a vehicle purchase is an infrequent benchmark event is likely to find the process more taxing than will someone who regularly purchases a replacement vehicle. 
  • When a purchase is being made for indulgent pleasure rather than for strictly utilitarian reasons, shoppers generally need to deliberate longer in order to convince themselves the purchase is deserved. 
     Serving such consumers, upselling works best when the salesperson’s argument focuses on what would be lost by not selecting the more expensive option. On the other hand, when it seems that the customer has placed little effort into making the initial decision, upsell with a blend of gain-based and loss-based reasons.
     Results from other studies suggest that you show the shopper the items or photos of the items while describing the benefits they’d personally enjoy or miss out on.
     And present price differences in round numbers: “For only $20 more,” when the difference is actually $19.25, for instance.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Stimulate Consumption Visions with Ads
Expect Exceptions to 99-Ending Pricing

Monday, September 11, 2017

Influence with Trustworthy Scarcity

Why does interest in a product, service, or experience climb when it’s described to the shopper as scarce? An abundance of studies on that question say the appeal is generally due to one or more of the following:
  • Desirability. “People in the know are wanting what’s available.” 
  • Distinctiveness. “I’ll have something others don’t have.” 
  • Status. “Many aren’t able to afford what I have.” 
  • Nostalgia. “I’ll preserve memories of expired possibilities.” 
  • Quality. “Lavish attention must have been devoted to each item.” 
  • Competitiveness. “Others who don’t have this are comparative losers.” 
  • Reactance. “I want to have what others tell me I can’t have.” 
     Successful marketers use these levers. Scarcity opens opportunities for higher profit margins as long as customers accept that the reason for the scarcity is genuine. Florida International University researchers wondered whether any suspiciousness is greater with supply-related explanations (“Buy it before supplies run out” “We won’t be getting a new shipment for a while”) or demand-related explanations (“Someone else has made an offer.” “We’ve already sold more than 500 of these.”)
     The answer is that it depends on what the consumer trusts the seller to know. A manufacturer is expected to be more current about supply channel logistics than about store demand, so supply-related explanations would be trusted. A retail salesperson is on the front lines of purchase patterns, allowing for trustworthy demand-related explanations.
     Whatever the type of explanation, trust is more likely when shoppers have been warned in advance about possible out-of-stocks. Financially profit from pricing scarce items higher, but for long-term good will toward the store, provide ample notice to customers about impending shortages. Tell them how long you expect the shortages to last. Suggest alternatives they could purchase until the shortages ease. Have those alternatives in stock.
     When consumers learn that an item you carry is in scarce supply, they get emotionally aroused. Researchers at American University and University of Arizona found that one result of this is that the difference in preference between a sought item and the other alternatives grows. Therefore, the degree of disappointment if the item ends up out-of-stock (OOS) is keener.
     You don’t want disappointment generating irritation directed at your store. To head this off, take personal responsibility for the OOS. University of Bologna research indicates that outrage about the outage will be less when the salesperson says, “I didn’t adequately anticipate demand,” rather than, “We didn’t adequately anticipate demand”

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Offer Scam-Free Scarcity
Show Them What They’ll Never See Again
React When Faced with Reactance
Sweeten Scarcity with Ample Warning
Steer Shoppers Away from Settling

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Steer WOM Away From Surprise Bonus News

Why would researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan say that certain sorts of positive word-of-mouth put a retailer at a potential competitive disadvantage? The answer has to do with surprise, exclusivity, and price wars.
     If a customer is given an unexpected bonus at the time of purchase, the surprise endows extra value. But when the customer then tells others what happened, they won’t be surprised if coming into the store to get the bonus. Further, if the customer perceives the bonus to be exclusive to them plus a limited number of others, widespread news of the bonus award program raises expectations by other shoppers.
     Widespread news also alerts other retailers who could decide to meet the offer. The exclusivity is disrupted and the competitive advantage erased. In fact, paralleling what happens in a price war, the competition might raise the bonus offer or lower the base price, requiring you to meet a more profit-sapping threshold.
     The researchers’ advice is to under-promise and over-deliver with a surprise item or service of modest value, but not encourage your customers to spread news of the surprise value they received. Instead, satisfied customers could be asked to tell friends and family about other aspects of the transaction.
     All this bother is worthwhile because bonus gifts have been found to break ties among decisions difficult for the shopper as well as reduce returns of purchased items. The best bonus gift is one which helps the purchaser get more out of the main item they’re buying. But if you can’t easily do this, separate the purchase from the gift, such as presenting the gift after the purchase has been completed. Bundling an expensive with an inexpensive item actually detracts from the perception of value for the expensive item unless you’ve described synergy.
     And explain the reason for the gift. Otherwise, the customer might get angry, thinking that your store policies are highly arbitrary or even discriminatory. According to studies at Baruch College, University of California-Berkeley, and San Francisco State University, consumers having a Western mindset prefer demographic explanations (“We’re giving a gift to senior citizens”) or marketing-determined (“A special gift for first-time purchasers”). For consumers having an Asian mindset, the researchers found it best if the customer concludes they earned the good fortune (“You are lucky enough to have selected an item for which we’re adding a free gift today”).

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Avoid Price Wars with Price Guarantees
Break Ties When There’s Limited Selection
Worm Your Way into WOM with Self-Discovery
Gift with Purchase to Cut Item Returns
Offer Exclusive Price Discounts Cautiously
Bundle Expensive & Cheap Synergistically
Dazzle Your Customers

Monday, September 4, 2017

Certify the Value of Certainty in Persuasion

Whether wanting to convince people to make a purchase, a donation, or a commitment, presenting your case confidently will help, as long as your degree of confidence doesn’t outpace your audience’s judgment of your accuracy. The assessment of accuracy precedes the impact of the influencer’s degree of certainty.
     But what about circumstances in which accuracy information isn’t easily available? People will tend to assume what they’re being told is accurate, according to study results from Georgetown University, Harvard University, and University of California-Berkeley. Further, the higher the salesperson’s confidence, the less likely it is that audience members will choose to check for accuracy.
     This sets up circumstances in which consumers could be misled. It’s more likely to happen with experience and credence goods than with search goods.
  • Search goods have features, the value of which can be relatively easily assessed before purchase. A refrigerator and a car are search goods. 
  • The values of experience goods are more difficult for the shopper to assess until the goods have been used. An insurance policy, gym membership, or unfamiliar food is an experience good. 
  • Vitamin pills and investment portfolios are examples of what are considered credence goods or post-experience goods. These are items for which it is difficult to evaluate the advantages of having made the purchase even after use. 
     To exercise ethical influence, especially when selling experience or credence goods, check that your confidence is justified. The same rule holds when attempting to convince people to donate to an unfamiliar charity or to commit to a set of beliefs with hidden consequences.
     It also helps for you to project a little bit of uncertainty. That can make you more accurate about your deserved confidence. As it happens, it also makes you more influential in circumstance where people are judging your advice. In a Journal of Consumer Research article wonderfully titled “Believe Me, I Have No Idea What I'm Talking About,” researchers from Stanford University reported that expert restaurant reviewers are more influential when the reviewers say they're less than completely certain about their conclusions.
     Avoid coming across as absolutely certain in the recommendations you're making. A bit of doubt makes people more comfortable in asking questions and expressing concerns. Those questions and concerns are highly valuable to you when facilitating the sale. You can present counterarguments or you can steer the customer toward an alternative which will better fit their preferences.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Post Dramatic Tales for Post-Experience Goods
Sell More by Being Less Certain

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Show Impatience to Noncompliant Patients

Sometimes consumer guilt improves customer satisfaction. When a health care provider induces guilt in a patient for noncompliance with instructions, the patient builds respect for and satisfaction with the professional’s technical expertise and communication skills, according to studies at University of Northern British Columbia. This was true for nagging about medication regimen adherence, maintaining lifestyle changes, and keeping appointments. Patients expect negative regard from doctors about noncompliance.
     But it doesn’t work so well if what’s induced is shame rather than guilt. What’s the distinction?
  • With guilt, the consumers acknowledge they’ve done something wrong or failed to do something right 
  • With shame, the added element is that the consumers believe that others hold them responsible 
     Adults in individually oriented cultures, like the U.S., UK, and Australia are especially likely to bristle at efforts to arouse shame. “Aim to shame me about not following your instructions and I’ll start searching elsewhere for what I need. I don’t like spending my time and money with people who pin me with responsibility when I’ve failed.”
     The best approach, according to research at University of California-Santa Barbara, is to start by showing positive concern for the noncompliant patient and then follow this with an analysis of the reasons for the compliance shortfalls. The health professional’s attitude when showing positive concern should be enthusiasm. The attitude during the analysis and subsequent corrective action plan should be disappointment and impatience, but never blame.
     This works so well because it fits patient expectations. Health care professionals are expected to be both caregivers and problem solvers. However, expectations can also get in the way. The UCSB study plus another study at University of North Carolina, New York University, and Providence Everett Medical Center found that due to gender-specific expectations, when either the provider or the patient is female, the communications about noncompliance are less decisive and more ambiguous than when both the provider and patient are male. Expectations are for women to be the gentler gender. Health could suffer as a result. Check for understanding, especially in male-female noncompliance discussions.
     Health care professionals also should assess whether the patient expectations are for a promotion-focused or prevention-focused dialogue. The promotion-focused light up with a “What are some things you can do to make sure everything goes right?” approach. The prevention-focused take comfort in, “What are some of the things you can do to avoid anything that could go wrong?”

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Aim Away from Shame
Sell Either Protection or Promotion
Relax Guardedness with Gricean Norms

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dare Not Dare Consumers to Excess

For a fear appeal to move consumers into action, the consumers must believe what’s being warned against has at least a fair possibility of happening to them and that the consequences would be noticeably unpleasant. Then beyond the susceptibility and the severity, consumers must be convinced that what is being suggested to eliminate the fear will be effective and that they are themselves capable of carrying out what you’re suggesting.
     With all those hurdles to jump, each of them long recognized by consumer behavior researchers and insightful retailers, it’s no surprise fear appeals often don’t work as planned. A set of studies at University of Adelaide and Monash University provides evidence of another spoiler in the mix: Some people treat warnings of dire consequences as a dare. The more strongly you portray the susceptibility or severity, the greater the probability the target of your persuasion will see it as a challenge.
     This feeling of challenge then can move the recipients in one of two directions. For some, they’ll dare themselves to prove you right and so do what you recommend. Others will dare themselves to prove you wrong and so continue doing what you’ve warned them not to do. The researchers find this second response is more likely to occur with males than with females. It’s especially likely to occur among young males, who through genetic predisposition and cultural expectations are attracted to risks and show an optimism bias.
     The Adelaide/Monash researchers discuss this happening with problem gambling, tobacco smoking, and speeding on roads. They advise counselors to avoid daring male clients to change. But the advice to avoid overselling applies broadly to areas where receptivity to persuasion can be enhanced through fear. Raise enough fear of a real danger to win the customer’s attention and motivate action, but only to the degree that you’ve a guaranteed way to substantially reduce the risk.
     Researchers at Auburn University find that if the fear becomes too intense or the audience doesn’t see a way out, they get defensive and start thinking about why they don’t need the item you’re wanting to sell them. Or if they do end up making the purchase, chances are they’ll associate negative feelings with your store, making it less likely they’ll come back again. This might be truer of males than females on average. Still, remember there are broad differences within consumers of each gender.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Threaten Shoppers Craftily
React When Faced with Reactance
Toss Positive with Heavy Abusers
Overcome Gender Stereotypes

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Redesign Your Store for Loyalty

Retailers redesign the configuration and decorative themes of their stores for a number of reasons, ranging from changes in the nature of the merchandise to a desire to stay fresh. Researchers at Dublin Institute of Technology, Massey University in New Zealand, and University of Surrey warn that, regardless of the reasons, such store redesigns can disrupt customer loyalty. Mission Shoppers—those who want to come in, make the purchase, and leave—were taken aback by the new layout. And all types of shoppers became more price-sensitive in the redesigned store. They felt that the prices were relatively higher, even when there were actually no changes in the prices.
     Still, the upsides of store redesign outweigh the risks. In the research, many longer-term customers liked the novelty and the opportunity to explore. As long as the difference between old and new is not too great, what is surprising and unfamiliar improves recall, which, in turn, can trigger repeat business. Other studies, at Monash University, found that announcements of a grand reopening drew in new customers, with higher spends per visit and, for a time, more frequent visits than was true for the longer-term customers.
     Maximize the upsides by respecting visual aesthetics. Research results from Brazil’s University of Paraná indicate that if shoppers judge the exterior and interior design and décor of your store to be visually beautiful, the shoppers are more likely to become loyal customers. What different target populations of consumers judge to be visually pleasing may seem to vary widely. And those judgments do. Research does find three fundamentals:
  • Symmetry with a few surprises. The underlying design should be balanced, with matching elements on the left and right and on the front and rear. But there also should be a few surprising asymmetries. 
  • Unifying themes. Customers find visual aesthetic pleasure in store designs and décor which repeat themes. If a visual design theme is also reflected in sounds or aromas in the store, this augments the aesthetics. 
  • Familiarity. The arrangement of shelves and aisles should balance novelty with familiarity. The familiarity may come about because of a principle of design common in a culture. 
     Then, too, lessen the risks of store redesign: Forewarn customers of changes. Keep the store items most popular with Mission Shoppers in locations similar to where they were in the old configuration. And at the time of the grand reopening, run promotional discount sales.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Have Shoppers On a Mission Look at Possibilities
Design Stores with Visual Aesthetics
Impress from the First
Lead Your Customers Through Changes Gradually

Monday, August 21, 2017

Parade Sparkle for the Jealous

We know the value of selling to the emotions. People feel better about purchases made on the basis of feelings than on those made strictly on an intellectual accounting of advantages and disadvantages. But knowing which emotion to sell to can get tricky. Researchers at Northwestern University, Nanyang Technological University, and Chinese University of Hong Kong showed that shoppers who feel jealous prefer items that attract attention. In the study, such people selected a brightly colored coat over one with a neutral hue, an unusual-looking pair of sunglasses over a less conspicuous design, and a handbag with a large logo over one with the same logo in a smaller size.
     This preference operates even if the customer believes that the attention grabber will strike friends and family as ostentatious. But the preference doesn’t operate with personal use items friends and family are unlikely to observe, such as the packaging on a deodorant stick. Jealous people want to be noticed.
     However, the researchers want us to understand that they consider jealousy to be different from envy, and what they suggest for serving the jealous customer won’t work as well with the envious customer. As the researchers conceptualize it, envy arises when a consumer is disturbed that someone else is considered superior to them or has something they want but don’t have. Jealousy results from the loss of special attention the consumer already had: A child shopping with family might be jealous of a sib who is receiving more notice. A young adult might reflect a jealous state by talking with a shopping companion about a partner who was wooed away. Inattention from a preoccupied salesperson can stimulate jealousy.
     If you detect evidence of jealousy, guide the shopper toward items with extra sparkle.
     While jealousy and envy are negative emotions, the value of subtle distinctions is seen as well with positive emotions such as pride. Researchers at University of Toronto, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and China’s Sun Yat-sen University say you can do a better job of satisfying the proud shopper by determining if the consumer thinks they were successful mostly because of special abilities or hard work. If it’s special abilities, suggest a distinctive product or experience. If hard work, the distinctiveness of the item is less important. For the first, the barkeep should suggest a limited-edition hand-crafted microbrew, for the second, the signature best-selling cocktail.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Know How Much Emotion to Deliver
Dump Sadness on Some Dumped Shoppers
Irritate Me Rather Than Ignore Me
Redirect with Evil Envy
Celebrate Shoppers Who Celebrate

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pain a Stimulating Picture

Consumers endure pain if the upside payoff is sufficient. People go to the dentist knowing discomfort is often inevitable. They put up with sore muscles after working out at the gym to improve physical fitness or after skydiving for the thrill of an exotic experience. Customers can transform emotional pain into enjoyment when finding bonus pleasure in waiting for a concert following the purchase of the tickets—the process of savoring.
     But why would people pay for the opportunity to wallow in a ditch of cold mud, run among four-foot-high flames, and crawl through electric wires generating 10,000 volts? The appeal of these and about two dozen similar challenges offered by Tough Mudder intrigued Rebecca Scott, a graduate student at University of New South Wales who was herself a Tough Mudder participant.
     After systematically analyzing results from observing and interviewing Tough Mudder customers, Ms. Scott and her research partners say the pleasure from the pain is explained by a major factor beyond the challenge of endurance and the fun of doing it with teammates. The additional factor is how the pain sharpens sensitivity to one’s own body for people who are missing this.
     The researchers note that a major target market for Tough Mudder is knowledge workers, whose focus on intellectual activities stifles body awareness. Tough Mudder participants talked to the researchers about the mental stimulation when their arms and legs hurt too much to function properly and how the wounds they suffered prolonged the stimulation beyond the day of the event.
     The desire for bodily stimulation, even if painful, underpins the psychiatric disorder masochism. Consumers can even get off reading about the pleasure from pain, as they did with the E. L. James book Fifty Shades of Grey, which has sold more than 125 million copies. The psychiatric disorder, the erotic passages in the book, and the findings from the Tough Mudder analysis all have another common element—the ritualization of the discomfort. Recipients want to feel in control.
     Best not to assume your store customers are masochists who’d thrill at being greeted at the entrance with a zing from an electric cattle prod, let’s say. Instead, I suggest you assume that because so many people in current society are knowledge workers who spend much of their lives out of touch with their bodies, you use the Tough Mudder findings as a reminder of the sales appeal of physical experiences.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Mix or Match to Affect Perceived Duration
Impress with the Exotic
Charge for Savoring
Challenge Smart Shoppers
Provide Group Support with Customer Discomfort

Monday, August 7, 2017

Tune Up by Varying the Store Music

Changing your store or restaurant during the business day to fit the preferences of the shoppers can build sales revenues. Retail consultant Paco Underhill talked about a bookstore he worked with that used rotating shelves to showcase retirement advice for early morning mall walkers, child care books for the young mothers shopping before noon, and business books later in the day.
     However, such daily configuration alterations could quickly prove impractical for most retailers. If you want to make changes, it would be easier to vary the music playing in the background, let’s say. Researchers at University of Hamburg, Macquarie University, and Seoul National University, after reviewing dozens of published inquiries into the effects of music in retail settings, provide suggestions:
  • Experiment with different playlists used at different times. Assiduously monitor the effects on purchase amounts and longer-term revisits. Getting it right usually takes time, but it’s worthwhile. In one of the studies, in-store music used properly increased average per customer purchase amounts by 68% compared to the no-music situation. Such results are due in large part to appealing music convincing shoppers to stay in the store longer. Further, a number of studies find that when the music is not appealing, customers leave and hesitate returning to shop again. 
  • In general, it’s best to keep the music volume low and use tunes with clear rhythm and moderate tempos. Switch to somewhat higher volumes and slightly faster tempos at times that there are lots of other ambient noises in your retail establishment, such as talking or equipment sounds. In these circumstances, the masking effect of music increases shoppers’ ability to consider making purchases. 
  • Model what you play on the ways in which other retailers like you are using music, then improve on it. Customers are more likely to accept whatever music you play when they’ve encountered similar play lists at stores or restaurants they consider to be of the same type as yours. To establish your distinctive advantages, though, don’t be almost identical. 
     Other research adds these tips:
  • At periods shoppers will be selecting items without much thought, play music including lyrics. At periods shoppers are likely to be looking at new brands or novel products, use music that is barely noticeable. 
  • Allow for the sounds of silence. To soothe the savage shopper, have intervals free of the music. A little peace and quiet also puts harried salespeople back in tune. 
For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Be All You Can Be with Day-Parts
Coordinate Store Atmosphere Stimuli
Balloon Your Profitability with Music
Compose Integrated Musical Atmospheres

Monday, July 31, 2017

Airbrush Away Shame in Your Shoppers

Salesmanship might be seen as showing shoppers what they can become, then convincing them to purchase from you what will help them become what they want and avoid becoming what they don’t want. The challenge is setting the right distance between the shopper’s self-image and self-aspiration. If the fear of negative consequences is too intense or if shoppers don’t see a way out, they get defensive and start thinking about why they really don’t need the item you’re wanting to sell them. If the gap between their current situation and the better situation you’re promising them is too great, they’ll get highly discouraged and highly ashamed, neither emotional state conducive to purchasing.
     Researchers at University of Texas-Austin, Louisiana State University, and University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign explored this issue by taking a closer look at a well-researched question: Among shoppers who are not thin, how does seeing thin models affect the interest in purchasing the modeled fashions? Past consumer behavior studies have found that women are motivated to purchase items modeled by people who are somewhat thinner than they themselves are, but not dramatically thinner. This is true whether those modeling the fashions are in ads or are salespeople and shoppers in the store.
     The Texas/Louisiana/Illinois research team wanted to see if parallel findings hold for male shoppers and also how to ease the discouragement and shame caused by large discrepancies between a model’s and shopper’s statures. They found that although men’s physical appearance self-image took a hit when seeing thin models, the men did not feel nearly as much shame as did the women when it came to fashion. Physical self-image is more central to self-esteem in women.
     As to how to ease in women the shame which impedes buying, one possibility is to stop using ad models who appear to be very thin. But since thin models attract interest, the researchers also suggest another tactic supported by research: When encountering shoppers who seem ashamed about themselves after seeing the ads, remind them of the frequent use of computerized photo manipulation techniques like airbrushing to eliminate people’s girth in photos. The models aren’t really that thin.
     The more general point is to persuade shoppers—both male and female—they are capable of achieving what you’re proposing. Psychologically airbrush away any shame. To do this, you’ll need to select the right items for each shopper. Indeed, that’s another way to view salesmanship.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Craft Fear Appeals
Raise Your Community’s Aspirations
Fashion Profits by Thinking Bigger
Appeal to Vanity
Reveal the Folly of Shopper/Product Rivalries
Match the Product to the Customer's Skill Level
Commit to Ads that Guide the Committed
Get A Head, Except for Ladies’ Clothing

Monday, July 24, 2017

Personalize for the Market Maven Personality

Researchers at University of Southern Mississippi and Florida State University set out to discover more about the personality of a type of consumer called the market maven. The importance to retailers like you of the researchers’ quest is that market mavens are powerful influence agents. Rather than considering themselves expert advisors on only certain retail products and services, market mavens counsel others about the whole shopping experience and go on to recommend specific stores.
     The personality profile these researchers describe, based on their review of prior studies and their own questioning of consumers, includes blends of divergent characteristics. Market mavens enjoy suggesting novel stores, brands, and item types to others, but they don’t want to propose ideas which conflict with the existing norms of their audiences. Although they enjoy spending more time and money at retail than the average shopper does, market mavens score high on assessments of frugality, since they continually strive to get maximum value for what they do spend. They grant more importance to the characteristics of products and services than to the characteristics of retail stores, but their recommendations of what to buy are almost always accompanied by recommendations of where to buy it.
     To maximize your appeal to the personality of the market maven, the researchers suggest emphasizing good value on pioneering items which have already shown some acceptance by a number of shoppers. An extra lift could come with you describing this to the market maven in a way which suggests they’re privy to exclusive information.
     Other research has documented relationships between face-to-face mavenism and web mavenism. Therefore, as you identify market mavens with favorable impressions of your store, encourage them to post their views on social media. Offer them materials and internet links they can take with them as conversation starters to share with family and friends. This is especially useful for newly introduced products and items for which the purchaser incurs monetary or self-concept risk.
     Generating suggestions for improvements is one trait distinguishing market mavens from customers who only ask questions, give praise, and give criticism. Offer these influence agents special gifts, including the gift of implementing at least some of these suggestions for improvements. A major reason for the value to you of market mavens is the stable self-confidence with which they make recommendations to all the people they know. That’s more likely when they recognize you’ve listened to them.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Cross Channels with Market Mavens
Build Buzz with Market Mavens
Court Market Mavens for Social Media
Offer Exclusive Price Discounts Cautiously

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dwarf Giant Smiles So You Won’t Look Dopey

Expressions of positive emotions spread from staff to shoppers and among staff. University of Queensland researchers observed positive and negative feelings displayed by shoppers in retail environments moment-to-moment. Not only did a general emotional tone spread, but if one shopper changed from negative to positive or in the opposite direction, other shoppers tracked along with their own behavioral evidence of emotions. All this, in turn, was found to affect intentions to purchase items at the store and intentions to return to the store for future purchases.
     Thus, moving a shopper from being disgruntled to being pleased increases your profitability from that customer and also from other shoppers in the store at the time who observe the interactions. So smile often when facing visitors to your store. And smile often when building teamwork with your employees.
     Yes, there are retailing situations in which a full-toothed, full minute smile is all wrong: If a customer is distraught, and a smile would make you look uncaring. If you’re delivering corrective discipline to a staff member, and a smile would make what you’re saying seem unimportant. Or when a real big, real prolonged smile threatens to make you look simply dopey.
     Researchers at Adelphi University, University of Central Florida, Iowa State University, and University of Kansas found after a series of studies that the bigger the salesperson’s smile, the greater the consumer’s impressions of both warmth and incompetence. The probability of that second impression, certainly a negative one for retail selling potential, is greater in situations with shoppers who consider the purchase to carry risks and with shoppers who are prevention-focused rather than promotion-focused. Promotion-focused people play to win, while prevention-focused people play not to lose. At the extreme, the promotion-focused think creatively, welcome risks, and plow through issues quickly. At the other end of the dimension, the prevention-focused anticipate problems and so work meticulously to dig into issues rather than plow through them.
     The upshot: When dealing with a shopper who is nervous about a purchase decision, dwarf those big smiles so you won’t come across as unqualified to give credible advice. The researchers verified that these impressions directly influence a consumer’s willingness to spend money and time with you.
     Yet always have in mind the depth of the smile’s power. Evolutionary psychologists say we are all genetically programmed to interpret a genuine smile as a desire to build a friendly relationship.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Infect Your Store with Enthusiasm
Reduce Unwanted Risks for Your Shoppers
Promote Supervision Which Prevents Problems

Monday, July 10, 2017

Relate Biases to Gift Registrants

Gift registries are a profitable tool for retailers. People celebrating special events like a graduation, wedding, or birth of a child identify items from your store they’d like to have and then the celebrant notifies friends and family the retailer maintains the list. Those wanting to give a present know where to go, people are directed to your store, and at least in theory, the celebrants are getting the items they most want.
     Alas, researchers at Emory University and University of Texas-Austin find that the theory is flawed. In reality, the people feeling closest to the intended gift recipient are quite likely to pick items different from what the celebrants have placed on the list. The reason is that close friends and family members want to personalize the gift by selecting something to signal the nature of the relationship. 
     Gift givers are generally unaware of this bias. In the study, participants said they’d, “choose something the recipient would like,” over, “choose something that acknowledges or expresses the relationship you have with the recipient.” But although 25% of the gift selections ended up being from outside the gift registry among distant friends, the corresponding choice share among close friends was 64%. That is, only about one-third of the gift selections were from what the intended recipient said they specifically wanted. Further inquiry revealed that the divergence from the registry was because of a desire to signal the relationship.
     Where relationship signaling is especially crucial, we’d expect even more divergence. What friends and family will think about the gift is highly important to adolescents, according to researchers at Temple University, Jerusalem College of Technology, and University of Haifa. Teens usually want the gift to strengthen the relationship by showing ways in which they are similar to the gift recipient. Still, in other cases, they select a gift to carry a neutral message about the relationship.
     To improve the match between what the gift registrant lists they want and what the people buying the gift end up selecting, coach gift registrants to include items which carry relational messages. Grandma might feel best selecting a wedding present which verifies her role as the family historian. The fiancée’s older sister scans the list to find a kitchen appliance in order to subliminally say she’ll always have the younger sister’s back. Aunt Ellen picks an expensive silver set so she’ll be seen as financially supportive.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Discover What the Gift-Giver Expects in Giving
Present Identities Via Wedding Gift Registries
Limit Design Support for Personalized Gifts