As another holiday shopping season approaches, marketers, researchers and retailers try to breakdown the behavior, expectations and decisions of today’s consumers. Inc. magazine’s recent study decided to test the theory that a shopper’s level of relaxation when shopping has an effect on final buying decisions. In the study, “Relaxation Increases Monetary Valuations,” six experiments were conducted. In one experiment, participants were randomly shown one of two videos; one was a 10 minute video of nature scenes, featuring a breathing coach; the other video was about robots.
Spending Experiments on Relaxed Customers
Following the videos, participants were shown 10 product photos and asked to guess the price of each, on merchandise such as a picture frame and an LCD monitor. Those who watched the relaxing video thought the products were worth an average of 11 percent more than they were. When it came time to make a bid on a digital camera on eBay, the participants who watched the relaxing video bid at least $32 above the robot video watchers. “Researchers found that when people are more relaxed, they are willing to spend more money.” The findings didn’t just prove that relaxed shoppers are a little more generous with their wallets and gift giving, but are also willing to spend more for all kinds of merchandise.
Retailers may not be able to station massage chairs throughout the store, or have breathing coaches greet customers at the door and checkout lanes, but there are some things they can do to present a calming atmosphere. Among the options are playing soothing music and reducing checkout lines. “People find checking out the most stressful part,” says Greg Hodge, global retail strategist at Iconoculture, a Minneapolis based firm that researches consumer trends.
This piece was adapted from an original article by Inc. magazine.