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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 15, 2011

Chilled-out shoppers put higher monetary value on products

Shoppers in a state of relaxation will put a higher dollar value on products than if they were stressed, according to a new paper published in the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing.

by Helen Leggatt

Across a series of experiments researchers from universities in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong ascertained that when shoppers are relaxed they will put a higher value on items, by as much as 10%.

Whereas relaxed shoppers will eye-up a product emotionally, those that are more stressed will focus more on practical considerations, concludes the study*.

"The study reveals a psychological reaction to the biology of being relaxed," explains Professor Michel Tuan Pham, Kravis Professor of Business, Marketing, Columbia Business School. "Your system thinks there is no threat in the environment. As a result, you tend to perceive various things as more desirable."

Stores create relaxing atmospheres by stroking the senses with lighting, audio and soothing smells but the stress-relieving tactics for a website are somewhat different.

1. Don't play relaxing music on your website. It may be effective in the mall, but online it is anything but relaxing.

2. Do make sure your website loads quickly. The quicker the better. Research suggests online shoppers will be tapping their feet, and definitely not relaxed, after just a few seconds of waiting for a page to load.

3. Do keep retail websites uncluttered. As well as helping a webpage to load quickly, clean and simple websites with excellent navigation and detailed product pages will ensure a pleasant and stress-free visit.

4. Do provide ample contact channels - email, social media, live assistants - so that any shopper niggles can quickly be ironed out.

5. As your relaxed customer heads to the checkout ensure there are no nasty surprises in the form of delivery fees or return conditions that might raise their blood pressure.

*Pham, Michel Tuan, Hung, Iris W. and Gorn, Gerald J., Relaxation Increases Monetary Valuations (January 3, 2011). Journal of Marketing Research, 2011. Available at SSRN:

Tags: consumer behavior, consumer insight, ecommerce, online shopping

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