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How to Entice the Customer to Make the Purchase? Use Psychology

20 minute read

Don’t Forget the Fear of Loss

Which minced meat would you prefer, the one that has 90% lean meat or the one with 10% fat? How you communicate this message about minced meat shouldn’t make any difference, but surprisingly it does.
To understand this, imagine, for a moment, that you find one hundred dollars on the street. Who wouldn’t be happy to find one hundred dollars? The joy at finding one hundred dollars is far less than the pain of losing one hundred dollars. The feelings should be equal, but they’re not.

The pain, or more particularly, fear of loss has been scientifically proven and was first defined by economic scientists Tversky and Kahneman, who would perfect the theory. People’s behavior is shaped by this fear. We are less likely to take risks when we know we can win – even if it is a small victory.
The fear of loss, however, is so powerful that it affects marketing messages where you would least expect it. Yes, also when buying meat. Scientists Levin and Gaeth set out to determine whether people prefer minced meat that contains 90% lean meat or that has 10% fat. They discovered that by highlighting the phrase “lean meat” when making the sale, people tended to believe that the meat was higher quality than when using the word “fat”.
So the skill to choose the correct words is incredibly important in getting people to make the initial purchase.
However, the decision to make a repeated purchase is based on personal experience. The minced meat experiment also confirmed this – the likelihood of a repeat purchase was the same, regardless of which marketing message the person had heard.

Create an Environment the Buyer Doesn’t Want to Leave

It’s hard to read a book if you don’t know the alphabet. The same goes for creating the layout of a store. You can always come up with something special that gets people to come to your shop. But until you come up with that great idea, it makes sense to follow a couple tried and true guidelines.

How to Design the Layout of a Store?
The first order of business is the display window! Since the contemporary customer has less time than ever before, the display window has to immediately attract their attention. As highlighted by Shopper Marketing authors Ståhlberg and Maila, the display window must immediately answer two questions:

  • What is the store’s primary line of business?
  • Do the items sold at the shop suit the customer’s individual style?

It’s great if the display window tells a story, is funny or reminiscent of a period in history. So it’s best to not overload a display window, less is more. The first meters near the shop’s entrance are the acclimation zone. Don’t stuff items here because the customer is either coming from broad daylight or dim lighting. This is where you greet the customer, give her a shopping cart and maybe a useful coupon.

Think, when was the last time you entered a shop and browsed it in a counter-clockwise circle? If you have, you’re one of the few. Most people keep walking straight or turn right when they enter a shop. Thus, this is where you should put the items that are new in stock.

That’s just how it is. We need to lure the customer that only came to get milk, sausage, and bread all the way to the back of the shop. The copy paper is always at the back of the office supply shop. Beer in an alcohol shop. That little extra walking will only benefit the customer’s health.

Some goods are so heavily advertised that they are purchased automatically – for examples Coca-Cola or Kellogg’s products. Such items should be displayed at eye level because people are going to buy them anyway. All you have to do is make sure they’ll easily find the product in your shop.

Creating a Cosy Atmosphere
This is just the beginning, the bare minimum you can do. Now the real work begins! You only need to do one thing – make the customer feel comfortable to get them to stay in your shop for as long as possible. This depends on how good they feel in your shop.

Marketing consultant J’Amy Owens told Inc. magazine that once the customer is in the shop, you have to dangle a “visual carrot” in front of them. Something exciting that is displayed differently from the other goods and attracts interest. Ideally, these carrots could be placed one after another in a long aisle. Once the customer is in the belly of the shop, they reach the hot spot where items with a higher price margin can be found.

Don’t Be Afraid to Flirt with the Customer
If you merely place the goods on a shelf and even if the buyer does find them, trust us, they’re not going to be happy about it. The buyer wants to be teased and seduced, to form a relationship with the goods. A robotic lawn mower is great but the effect is much greater when it’s doing its thing on a small patch of lawn in the store. A ball is great but if a little boy sees Michael Jordan skilfully land the ball in the hoop on a screen, the impact will be that much greater. Even better, let the boy try it out himself.

Many shops are already successfully implementing this method. Some sports shops even let you try the wetsuit on and test it out in a pool filled with ice cubes. Or you might be able to spend the night at the shop to test how great the tent, mattress and sleeping bag are.

Making bread in front of the customers’ eyes with all the smells wafting around is far better than any marketing. But smells aren’t only relevant at the grocery store. For example, the swimwear department at Bloomingdale’s smells like the tropics, the baby supplies department like baby powder and the women’s lingerie department like sweet violet.

An Anthropologist’s Recommendations
We recommend reading Paco Underhill’s Why We Buy. Underhill is an anthropologist who has spent the last twenty-five years researching trade. He and his team surveil buyers like PIs – how fast they walk, where they slow down, where they stop, what they pick up from the shelves, how long they spend looking at it, do they put it back on the shelf or in their cart? In addition to that, they also survey the buyers.

There are numerous ways to make buyers feel good and often these methods cost nothing. For example, every women’s clothing store should have a comfy corner for men where they can sit down and read a good magazine. It would also be lovely to offer coffee or a glass of wine to ladies waiting on their friend while she’s in the changing room.

Secondly, most people have no idea how much they intend to spend when they enter a store. You know how it is, you go to the shop to buy some cheese and end up walking out with… If the shopping carts and baskets are small, the store should have stands where customers can pick up additional baskets. Without those, a full basket marks the end of shopping.

The aisles must be wide enough to allow two carts to pass each other comfortably. If a customer has to back out of an aisle to let someone pass, they might not walk back down that aisle again.

When it comes to signs and labels, it’s best to avoid a situation that you might encounter on some streets – so many signs that if you’d try taking note of all of them, you’d likely crash because you wouldn’t have time to notice the other people on the road. The golden rule is one big and clear sign at a time. If the customers are moving fast, then a large sign with a few words is best. Don’t believe designers blindly – check which color and font size are best for your store.

Mirrors make a store seem more spacious and formal. Just don’t overdo it, lest you want your store to resemble a house of mirrors.

However, all of the above will be useless if your store isn’t manned by lovely and helpful staff. Bad service overshadows everything else – a good location, great prices, and an excellent selection.

Underhill also lists gender and age-specific behavior. Men browse aisles quicker than women. If possible, they will avoid talking to and asking advice from the staff – similarly to how they hate being instructed when driving. Men prefer informational signs and screens. However, nobody is going to watch a thirty-minute cooking show at the store.

You should pay attention to men regardless of the store, incl. at a makeup and health store. The items intended for men should be in a separate area that is easy to find.

Women want to see how the goods would look in their home. This is something the Swedish giant IKEA picked up on years ago – you’re not merely at the store but in a large kitchen, living room, bedroom, etc.

Since women are an increasingly important target group in every field of commerce – even at hardware shops, it would make sense to take note of the observations made by Hertfordshire University’s behavioral scientist, professor Karin Pine.

  • Women buy to regulate feelings and emotions;
  • When women buy something they’re ashamed of, they will load the basket with other items to hide that one thing;
  • The way women shop depends on how full their bladder is. Make sure your shop has plenty of toilets and women will spend more time there.

Children are the most fashion and brand conscious group of customers because they’ve seen nearly all the TV ads. Make sure that the Kellogg’s products are at their eye level and that there’s plenty to keep children entertained during longer shopping trips. An upset child can even ruin a long-ago made decision to buy a car.

The elderly, however, will get angry when the shop is dark and the writing on the packages is too tiny.

Music Even Affects the Act of Buying Wine

Research confirms that people spend more time in a shop and buy more if the shop has nice music. Just like great sex, music creates endorphins – though in a smaller quantity, but enough to feel good.

The general consensus is that jazz or classical music are best suited for a shop that sells somewhat more expensive goods. Texas Tech University’s scientists Charles S. Aren and David Kim, however, discovered that classical music might also be perfect in a wine shop and that shoppers spent more time at wine shops that had classical music. Although people bought the same amount of wine from shops that played TOP40 pop songs, classical music made more people buy wine.

According to the representatives of the National Association of Music Merchants, good music presents another advantage by having a positive effect on the staff’s mood, relieving stress and depression.

It’s important to keep in mind the following:
1 Make sure the music stays in the background
Music is great for creating atmosphere but it shouldn’t start to dominate. Background music is enough to avoid a sense of dreary silence.
2 Calm music is better
The more sudden and heavy the music, the more stress it creates in the buyers. Calm music calms the customers and extends the time they stay in the store, thus increasing sales.
3 The effect of color and light
Colour affects what we expect from a product. Research on gum issued by Food Quality and Preference indicated that we sense calmer colors as more elegant. Warm colors have a more sensual and rebellious effect, while shades of red are likely to make us make more impulse purchases.

It doesn’t matter whether you sell pizza or a tool case – there is a specific enticing light for every product. At a jewelry shop, it’s imperative that you find the right one!


Good Packaging Makes Us Happy

Shopper Marketing tells us that products like Coca-Cola, Tide and Absolut Vodka are proof that the fifth P – packaging – is just as important as the four other components (product, price, place, and promotion). It’s worth noting that packaging is the cheapest of the five.

Research by Marco Hubert et al. published in Psychology & Marketing that looked at fMRIs of the brain revealed that attractive packages activate the parts of the brain associated with positive emotions and rewarding the self. Ugly packages, however, activated the parts of the brain associated with negative emotions. This indicates a clear correlation between beautiful packages and the decision to buy.

Research on water and vodka packaging also revealed that buyers prefer round (incl. cylindrical) packaging to boxy ones. Buyers also like it when an image or photo is located right of the text (it simplifies reading since we read from left to right). It’s also great to show what’s inside the package on an illustration (e.g. an image of a drop of water was well-received).

The packaging affects the way the goods inside it are perceived. A survey published in the international research journal Appetite indicates that a simpler and more natural soup packaging meant that the soup was perceived as more healthy. Weight also factors in. When an item was placed in two packages of different weight, people tended to choose the heavier one. The same applied to wine – the wine with the seemingly heavier package (incl. the cork) was perceived as having better quality.

Also, don’t forget to use small packaging for tempting goods (e.g. chips, halva, and other confections, etc.). Many can say no to a big package but will give in to the temptation when the item is in a small package.

Technical University of Lisbon scientist Rita Coelho do Vale researched the snacking habits of people who enjoy TV.
She discovered that smaller packages presented a greater temptation. The researchers summarised the findings: “Since smaller packages are viewed as an innocent pleasure, they are more likely to become dirty little sins.” Other research has also indicated that chronic dieters eating from small packages tend to consume more calories than those that don’t care for diets.

So if people don’t buy temptations in small packages from your store, they will from the next.

You are not alone in trying to figure out how to increase sales at your shop – hundreds of psychologists and behavioral scientists around the globe are thinking along with you. Keep your eyes and ears peeled and you won’t regret it!

Thank you!

You will be contacted by an Erply consultant soon.

Start managing your inventory with Erply, contact us today!