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The secret of appealing to your customers isn’t in reduced prices but in using psychological methods to attract their attention.
If your shoppers are ignoring your products, your promotion strategy could probably do with an overhaul. Rather than just increasing the amount of promotions on offer or decreasing product prices, think outside the box. Carrying out shopper behaviour research can give you a better idea of what it is that makes your shoppers pay attention to offers.
Have you thought about including a promotional colour in store? By displaying sale items with a label of a bright, distinctive colour, you can train your shoppers to look for that colour in store. This means that when they see a label in that colour, they will naturally assume that it is reduced price and therefore good value.
Making changes will always increase customer interest as it prevents customers from shopping on autopilot. Increasing the size of your promotional labels and stands will make them easier to see, attracting customer interest. Maximising the amount of time that your shoppers can see your promotions also increases the chance of them interacting with the product. This is the reason behind the success of the aisle-end gondola.
Retail shopper behaviour is often hard to change. Thanks to our shopper behaviour research, we know that shoppers will ignore promotions unless they can quickly see the benefits. Make sure your promotions are easy to see and understand. The right combination of pricing and promotion can greatly increase shopper interest, but it is often hard to strike the right balance. There are three main types of promotion at play in store.
Multi-buys encourage the shopper to buy more of a product or range of products. ‘3 for the price of 2’, for example, or ‘4 for £1’. Shoppers will often buy products that are on promotion even if they don’t buy enough to qualify for the multi-buy. A product on offer will usually achieve a higher quantity of purchases than one at full price. This is because shoppers pay attention to promotional material and may use it to choose products.
Discounts such as ‘half price’ or ‘20% off’ encourage the customer to buy single products at a reduced price. Shopper behaviour research has shown that phrases such as ‘half price’ are better than ‘half off’; half off implies that there is less product available rather than a reduction in price. These offers definitely increase the perceived value of the product; shoppers often feel lucky to pay the reduced price. This is the sales model of TK MAXX, who rely on shoppers valuing the products by the original price, making the reduced price seem excellent value.
‘Buy one, get one free’ is similar to a multi-buy, but the use of ‘free’ encourages shoppers to buy more. Everyone loves to get something for nothing, and they won’t always calculate that ‘buy one, get one free’ actually means ‘buy two for half price’.
You might think that product prices are linear in relation to value, so you may be surprised to find out that they aren’t. Elements such as price syllables, product comparison, and which numbers begin and end a price all play a role in the perceived value of a product.
Curiously, one of the main ways we judge the price of a product is the number of syllables. Shopper behaviour research has shown that as £3.90 is phonetically shorter than £3.68, it appears less expensive, despite being a higher number. This means that by reducing the syllable length of your prices, you can increase the impression of your products as good value.
Product comparison can have a major effect on your retail customers’ perceived value of a product. By putting a ‘normal price’ product next to a more expensive version, you can easily make the cheaper of the two more appealing. You can also use price comparisons to persuade shoppers to make the more expensive choice. If you display a small £1 bag of sweets and a large £3 bag of sweets, people will usually go for the smaller bag. But introducing a £2.50 medium bag of sweets makes the £3 bag of sweets look better value, making shoppers more likely to buy it.
You should be aware of the effects that different numbers can have on the perceived value of your prices, especially in labels comparing original and discount prices.
When creating the full price for a new product, charm pricing is one of the easiest ways to increase the perceived value. Charm pricing involves ending a product price in ‘9’ (e.g. ‘£3.49’ or ‘£9.99’) and makes products seem cheaper and more appealing with a fall in price of only 1p. It may seem like a well-known trick, but charm pricing can increase product sales by nearly a quarter.
A way to make a sale price seem of even greater value is to use a different psychological method: reducing the left-hand digit. This is because we read the left hand digit as being the overall price for the product, so if a product is reduced from £4.20 to £3.99, we will read it as a greater discount than it is. This is because we calculate the price based on the first digit, meaning that £3.99 is closer to £3 than £4 to our easily fooled subconscious.
The human brain is limited by how much it can process at any one time, and with hundreds of brands on display in each aisle, it is often drawn only to the factors that stand out. The key to perfecting your shoppers’ journey in-store is in the presentation — are you confident that your store is the best that it can be?