Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Buy, Buy, Buy: Stores Apply Consumer Behavior

MediaPost has a fun post today titled "What I Learned About Marketing Psychology at the Mall." The author deconstructs three effective techniques for getting shoppers to buy: (1) obedience to authority (Kiehl's salespeople wear white lab coats--associations with "medical authority"); (2) samples lead to reciprocity (no such thing as a free lunch; get a sample, feel obliged to buy); and (3) exclusivity that isn't as exclusive as it appears (limiting the number of shoppers inside a store even when there might be room for more).

Here are a few more examples from the annals of retail marketing:
  • Genuine bargain or boring regular price? JCPenney tried, unsuccessfully, to convince shoppers that its everyday low prices (EDLP) were actually low, not a gimmick. However, researchers find that shoppers crave the "rush" they feel when they bag a bargain. So EDLP doesn't make shoppers feel as good as they do when they buy on sale or with a coupon or discount code.
  • Sensory appeal. Perfumed entryways in department stores and the aroma of bread baking at the supermarket--just two examples of how retailers get shoppers in the mood for a positive experience, maybe encouraging a bit of impulse buying. Don't forget the key to shelf position: Eye-level merchandise practically jumps into the shopping cart; children's products placed on low shelves are just the right height for little ones to see and grab.
  • Time to kill? Browse (and buy). Airline passengers waiting for flights often have lots of time to walk in and out of airport shops. Maybe they spot the perfect gift for someone back home or see clothing they have to have for the trip...Heathrow is cashing in on this tendency with ritzy new shopping areas. The airport's retail director explains: "A lot of women business passengers, who come in and out every week, tell us it's great because while they're here – having to be here early – they can do some shopping, which they never have time to do in town because they're too busy."

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