Monday, May 27, 2019

Enrich Customers to Encourage WOM

Attentive retailers love positive word-of-mouth. When a new shopper comes to you because of a recommendation from a current customer, they’ll spend more over time than will a shopper who comes without that recommendation.
     But researchers at The Ohio State University, University of Southern California, and Dartmouth College say that encouraging WOM is more difficult with your customers who are concerned about their financial situation. This is because recounting the purchase experience arouses anxiety at how tight money is for the customer.
     The researchers recruited adults from throughout the U.S., asked them questions like, “To what extent do you feel financially constrained?” and, “How often do you talk about products you’ve bought with your family members, friends, and colleagues?” and then monitored their conversations in chat rooms and on social media. Those who reported feeling more constrained were less likely to talk about products they bought.
     It wasn’t that those who felt financially squeezed were writing less about their experiences. They chatted about matters other than their purchases. In fact, the researchers point to evidence that those chronically short of money tend to brag about any prestigious possessions in order to compensate for feeling inferior. They talk about items they own, but not how they purchased them.
     Therefore, to increase positive WOM about your store from the financially challenged, give them positive interpersonal experiences and encourage them to tell friends and family about that. Research at University of Maryland and Yale University indicates that if we have the shopper talk about those positive experiences before leaving the store, the upbeat feelings will linger. So have sales staff ask customers, after a purchase, to share reviews of the product, brand, and store.
     In studies at University of Miami and University of Pennsylvania, customers were substantially more likely to pass information on to others when they had found at least some of the information on their own. In addition to the thrill of discovery, a major reason for this is that we associate discovered information with our self-image. Differences between self-discovered and other-presented effects on WOM are greatest with consumers who consider themselves to be experts in the product category. This is probably because the perception of expertise boosts the centrality of one’s self-image.
     The advice for retailers is to build your shoppers’ expertise and encourage them to uncover for themselves positive news about your store and the items you carry.

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

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Reward Customer Referrals with Congruency
Make Space for Socializing on the Corner
Have Shoppers Share Word-of-Mouth with You
Worm Your Way into WOM with Self-Discovery

Monday, May 20, 2019

Dress to Press Persuasion

As a rule, people resist being sold. They love to buy, but hate sales pressure. Succumbing to persuasion pitches implies you’ve allowed your weaknesses to be exploited. People don’t like to view themselves as having weaknesses or as having been exploited. Our guard goes up when we encounter the stereotypical salesman.
     Researchers at Old Dominion University and Lamar University find that wardrobe reinforces the stereotype. In their studies, customers and clients concerned about salesmanship exploitation were more likely to be persuaded by a salesperson dressed in a way not stereotypical for that sales situation.
     On the other hand, there are situations in which people want to hand over control to the persuasion agent. It might be the retail shopper who enjoys being able to say, “I couldn’t help myself when I got this item.” It could be the medical patient or auto shop customer who wants to delegate a decision to an expert, and for whom a sign of expertise is wardrobe. They don’t want a doctor dressed in dungarees or a mechanic in formal evening wear.
     In these situations, dress to fit the situational stereotype.
     The advantages to breaking the stereotype via wardrobe were especially high with a male persuasion agent and female target of persuasion. Other studies have found that many women avoid situations like automobile shopping, financial planning, and tax preparation because the women feared male persuaders would try to cheat them. The women believed that the men would assume the women’s technical skills are inferior to those of men.
     Use wardrobe to impress without intimidating. Salesperson confidence, but not hubris. This goes beyond dress. An image of salesperson hubris might be set off by a salesperson’s haughty posture and tone.
     Researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv University found that brands, too, can be perceived as arrogant, which causes a conflicted response: The typical shopper is attracted by the exclusivity and implications of high quality, but possibly repelled by feelings of personal inadequacy.
     The reputation of a product itself can set off rejection. Columbia University researchers noted outcomes when shoppers viewing themselves as uncreative thought about purchasing an Apple computer—considered to have a creative product personality. The thinking about the purchasing led to the shoppers’ estimates of the Apple computer’s creativity growing greater. The shoppers felt themselves to be competing on creativity with the product. This made them less likely to buy it.

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

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Exhaust Shoppers’ Resistances
Have Staff Who Show and Share Expertise
Cancel Out Implications of Female Inferiority
Impress Without Intimidating
Design Dress Codes Deliberately

Monday, May 13, 2019

Waste Not with Misshapen Produce

Reducing waste allows producers and marketers to improve financial profitability and serve a socially beneficial function. What a nice opportunity, then, in the fact that substantial amounts of fruits and vegetables are discarded because the producers, suppliers, or retailers see them as misshapen. Recognizing this opportunity, researchers at Dartmouth College, University of Pittsburgh, and The Ohio State University explored how to overcome consumers’ reluctance to buy ugly produce.
     First, the researchers needed to explore the reasons for the rejection. The answer they found has to do with social image and self-image: People tend to subconsciously assume that purchasing ugly produce in public and eating it each indicate a flawed aesthetic sensibility. Consumers reject ugly produce because accepting it would make them look and feel inferior.
     So one remedy is to buttress and build shopper self-esteem. In the research studies, willingness to purchase increased when shoppers were first asked to discuss something that had happened that, “made you feel proud of yourself,” and when signage by bins of the misshapen items read, “You are Fantastic! Pick Ugly Produce!” as compared with when it read just, “Pick Ugly Produce!” The researchers estimate that when these methods are employed in place of the frequent 30% to 50% discounting of the retail prices of ugly produce, sales revenue will increase 7% to 20%.
     A research project at Denmark’s Aarhus University suggests another way to increase retail sales of abnormally shaped food items: Sensitize shoppers to the importance of fully using what’s available.
     In the project, a sample of 964 people was chosen to be representative of produce consumers. Each member of the sample was asked to state their purchase intentions for two fruits and two vegetables with varying levels of shape abnormality.
     No significant differences were found in purchase intention between familiarly shaped items and items with moderately abnormal shapes. However, produce with a markedly abnormal shape was less likely to be purchased, according to what the sample consumers said. This effect was much less among the consumers who were concerned about food waste in modern society.
     Shoppers might be sensitized to wasting by presenting them two statistics cited in the studies: Farmers discard as much as 30% of fruits and vegetables simply because they’re unattractive, not because the items are unhealthy or are short on nutritional value. And each year, U.S. retailers trash $15.4 billion of perfectly edible fruits and vegetables.

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

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Anticipate Aesthetics Avoidance
Praise Your Customers
Sensitize to Waste for Abnormal Produce

Monday, May 6, 2019

Imagine Satisfaction from Smells

Expose teenagers to ten seconds of a pizza scent, and those teens’ hunger for relatively unhealthy foods such as pizza peaks. But if you expose teens to ten minutes of the scent, their preference for less healthy items drops. This isn’t true with the smells of healthier items, such as apples, according to studies at University of Southern Florida and Portland State University.
     After verifying these findings, the researchers moved their ultrasonic scent nebulizer to a supermarket frequented mostly by adults. There they used scents of chocolate chip cookies versus fresh strawberries. As expected, after extended exposure to the cookie fragrance, there were lower preferences for unhealthy grocery store items than when there was extended exposure to the fragrance of strawberries.
     The pizza smell with the teens and the chocolate chip cookie fragrance with the adults fires up imagination of actual consumption. At the start, this leads to the phenomenon of savoring—anticipating the actual consumption. With indulgences, savoring sharpens the hunger.
     However, with prolonged exposure, the imagination instead leads to satiation—the feeling of having had enough. Researchers at University of Denver found that this affects the degree of enjoyment if a person then goes ahead to consume the item, or even participates in a previously highly anticipated event. In this research, the degree of enjoyment by college students of their Spring Break plans was analyzed.
     Successful selling often depends on mobilizing the power of the shopper’s imagination. But because the imagination can be so powerful, the shopper can get as fed up with imagined consumption as with real consumption.
     Researchers at Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that when consumers were asked to vividly imagine tasting a particular item with which they were familiar, the experience reduced the consumers’ receptivity to actually tasting the item afterwards. 
     Similarly, looking at photos of a food we love increases our appetite for it. But looking for too long kills our appetite for that food. Researchers at Brigham Young University and University of Minnesota asked study participants to rate or express their relative preferences for foods shown to them in pictures. After repeating the task many times, the participants lost interest in actually eating the food.
     This happens less if consumers evaluate a range of foods. Used properly, imagination whets the appetite for more. Just be careful not to drown off the appetite with prolonged imagination.

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

Click below for more: 
Clean Up on Floors & Dollars with Scents
Crack the Code of the Healthy Snacker
Charge for Savoring
Limit Availability to Overcome Satiation
Give Just a Taste of the Product to Sweeten