пятница, 2 сентября 2011 г.

Secrets of Super-sales - an article by Helen Edwards

Here is the translation of the article by Helen Edwards, SKOLKOVO Library Project Manager, published on Slon.ru. The original text in Russian is available here.

Secrets of Super-sales
Methods of manipulating the customers’ will power; affect of depression to the customers’ behavior; and why little choice is a good thing

Have you ever seen people who carefully weigh up all pros and cons when making a decision and act only on the basis of such analysis? You are very lucky if you did. Judging by the latest marketing studies, our decisions are mostly influenced by the subconscious and rarely by the rational. What can it give to us? That’s easy: if we can learn to control the subconscious, we can rule the world.

Successful salespeople usually act intuitively. Others may consult with marketing researches on the choice architecture – i.e. methods of manipulating the subconscious so that the customers don’t feel it.
  1. A good example of using the concept of “choice architecture” can be seen in any supermarket. Did you know that a person is likely to buy more if they have less choice? For instance, a merchant providing, say, 24 sorts of jam would sell fewer products than the one who provides 6. The explanation is simple: when your brain is overloaded with information, it may fail to function.
  2. Scientists have tested customers’ will power. It turned out that you need just to give them an opportunity at first to do something they think to be “right”, and afterwards they are likely to start violating their own boundaries. That is why you see fruits and vegetables right at the entrance of the supermarket: the more is spent for healthy food, the more junk food like chips and beer would be bought. 
  3. Another productive way to get the money from your customer is to put the most expensive goods right in front of them. This method works well with alcoholic beverages: when customers see expensive and exclusive wines first, they are encouraged to buy more bottles of cheap wine than they planned. Also, it was shown by another research that people prefer to take products from the right-hand shelves: those products were thought to be “of the highest quality” when presented to the testees together with absolutely the same products put on the shelves on their both hands.
  4. Customer behavior is very much linked to their age. For instance, elderly people tend to focus on positive messages, and give no attention to negative ones. That’s why advertising campaigns that demonstrate negative effects of something usually don’t work for this group, but do work for young people.
  5. Attitude to risk is generally the same with people of different age. Researches show that the majority of people would not risk their money even if they have an opportunity to earn much more. Also, people tend to act like others do, in any age. Advertising studies in the US indicated that for the tax-paying campaign the most effective message was not with threats or persuasions but saying that “90% Americans fill out their tax return forms on time”.
  6. The neurology science has also added some knowledge to the understanding of customer behavior. No matter how you advertise or lay out the goods – if your customer is heavily depressed. One of the key conditions for any decision making is emotion. If a person doesn’t have any energy for emotions and feelings – usually they are not able to decide anything but instead playing with the options forever with no outcome.
Based on: Nudge (by Richard H . Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein), Switch (by Chip & Dan Heath), Flourish (by Martin E. P. Seligman), The Social Animal (by David Brooks).

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