Monday, August 1, 2016

Hook Up Shoppers with Cute Products

Consumers feeling isolated often find comfort socializing with salespeople. Handled professionally, such socializing leads to mutually beneficial opportunities for retailers to suggest purchases. Research results from University of Cambridge, Hong Kong Baptist University, and University of Hong Kong indicates that the selling probability is even greater when the products being suggested for purchase are anthropomorphized.
     Anthropomorphized products have human-like characteristics. This might come from how the item looks, in a picture or name of a person on the packaging, or in the way an advertisement or the salesperson describes the item. Anthropomorphism makes the item more like a friend. Researchers at Northwestern University, University of Cologne, and South Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University find that a properly anthropomorphized item also gains the persuasiveness of a human salesperson. This decreases the shopper’s feelings of responsibility for purchasing the item. They can blame the item for them giving in, just as they would blame a compelling sales pitch. “I couldn’t help myself.”
     Stop short of making the human appeal so precious it could impede consumption. A striking example of anthropomorphism given by the researchers was for Crunchy Cheetos snacks: “Schedule a break with some crunchy orange friends. Then eat your friends.”
     When the shopper’s feelings of isolation arise from a sense of rejection, the perceived reason for the rejection makes a difference in the type of relationship the shopper prefers with the anthropomorphized product. People who blame themselves for the rejection prefer what consumer researchers call “fling” brand images, while people who blame the former companions for the social exclusion prefer “partner” brand images. To appreciate the difference, consider text which was used to portray each in the studies:
  • Fling. “Hello, I am Modi, a new member of the L'Oreal family. I look like my family members but I am younger than all of them. Bring me home, and I will be with you tonight…. Try me. Enjoy our moment together.” 
  • Partner. “Hello, I am Modi, a new member of the L'Oreal family. I look like my family members but I am younger than all of them. Bring me home, and I will always be with you…. Together with a partner like me, enjoy our life forever.” 
     In face-to-face interactions with shoppers, you could try out wording inspired by these examples and, depending on the response, determine how to move the sale forward.
     I do suggest toning down the cuteness a bit, though.

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

Click below for more: 
Accept Shopper Concerns About Acceptance
Humanize the Item into a Salesperson
Fling Shoppers for Thrills

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