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

Click below for more: 
Ping Consumers with Cause-and-Effect
Anchor Frequency Estimates to Individuals
Dream Consumption Visions of the Past
Ask Shoppers for Reasons to Buy

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