Monday, May 15, 2017

Dim the Lights for Low Down Purchases

When consumers’ purchases would be starkly exposed to others and themselves, they’re less likely to purchase from you items they’re embarrassed about. In a study at four restaurant locations, researchers at University of South Florida, Portland State University, Cornell University, and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group found that when the ambient lighting level was bright, 48% of the patrons selected a fried food, red meat, or other item considered relatively unhealthy, but the percentage was 65% for a different set of patrons ordering with dimly lit dining. In a follow-up inquiry, college students were more likely to select the 100-calorie Oreo over the chocolate-covered Oreo and raisins over M&Ms when the lights were bright.
     The researchers’ explanation has to do with mental alertness. Brighter lighting wakes us up, and fuller awareness leads to wiser choices. I see it as concerning social risk—what others will think of us—and psychological risk—what we’ll think of ourselves—following the consumer choices we make.
     With restaurant dining, a related explanation for the ambient lighting finding is the association between dim lighting and attention to the taste of the food. We associate fine dining with dim lighting. Beyond this, consider what happens if we dim the lights completely. At Dans Le Noir? restaurants, you dine in the dark, served by visually impaired staff. The chefs take care to keep the flavors distinct in the offerings because the patrons enjoy picking apart each taste, an endeavor made easier since each taste is more striking in the pitch black.
     Clearly, other factors contribute to people’s decisions whether to select healthy or unhealthy purchases. The ambient lighting researchers point out that places like Dairy Queen, with menus of indulgent, but relatively unhealthy offerings, are brightly lit.
     And there are plenty of other ways to ease embarrassment around choices. Position adjacent to potentially embarrassing items other items which give the opportunity for opposite impressions. Northwestern University study participants were asked how embarrassed they’d feel buying just a book titled The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Improving Your IQ. A parallel group of participants were asked how embarrassed they’d feel buying the book along with a purchase of the scholarly Scientific American magazine and the mind-challenging Rubik’s Cube. The add-ons evaporated the embarrassment.
     Still, even when you use these other ways, if it’s in both your and your shopper’s interest to indulge them, turning down the lights wouldn’t hurt.

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

Click below for more: 
Shelve Self-Control with Risk Mates
Arouse Patrons’ Sensations
Bare Asinine Oversights That Embarrass

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