Knowledge Bank Blog

Triggering the Feeling

Are you making shoppers feel good about what they are buying?

Over the last 2 weeks we’ve talked about promotions.  How you can use the right incentives to influence the right shopper behaviour.  These incentives are usually based around a specific  tangible benefit to the shopper.  Something that they get, or might get, in return for visiting a store or buying a brand.  Or doing so more often.

However, shopper behaviour isn’t just influenced by what the shopper gets.  It is also about how they feel.  Actually, a lot of human behaviour is like this.  For instance, losing weight is partly about shedding some pounds and partly about how it makes you feel – a sense of achievement or more confidence.  When we donate to charity, yes we want to help people, but doing so also makes us feel better about ourselves.

Indeed most purchases are a combination of the rational and the emotional.  When you buy a house you look at it’s size, number of bedrooms, price, location etc.  And these are all very important.  But even the biggest purchase most of us will ever make, is driven as much by the feeling you get when you first walk into the house.  And that feeling – positive or negative – is often triggered in the first few seconds of being inside (or on approach for some of us!).  Then the rest of the time is spent coming up with the rational reasons for why you feel that way.

So, why are we talking about this?  Well, in a world where price competition is tough, promotional activity is intense and product choice is broad, small advantages can make a big difference.  And these small advantages are often less about rational attributes, which many shoppers don’t pay attention to, and more about simple triggers that make them feel good about their choice.

So, what are some of these things?

The Feeling of Making a Smart Choice.  The same price discount can be communicated in different ways and lead to different sales uplifts.   Simpler is nearly always better.  The more the shopper has to think about whether something is good value, the less likely they are to actually think it is good value.  Discounters have played to this well.  It is not just about saving money but the feeling that you are making a smart choice by shopping there.

Time Limited Activities.  WIGIG’s play to this.  Sainsbury’s 10x Nectar points on Petrol in October plays to this.  Anything that is time limited plays to our fear of missing out.  We know this is not going to be available next time around.  Compare this to many promotions.  If you don’t buy this time, the same brand will be on deal in a couple of weeks time.  Just wait and buy it then.

Exclusives.  Things that a particular group of shoppers get, that others don’t.  Waitrose have done this through Pick Your Own Offers and My Waitrose deals.  Fashion retailers do this through things like pre sale items and new season previews.  The problem with many promotions is that every shopper sees and gets the same deal.  This will change as technology allows companies to personalise things.

Solving a Problem.  Or just making it easy to cross something off the list.  The latest M&S Meal Deal communication is an interesting example.  The tagline is ‘that’s dinner sorted’.  It plays really well to the question millions of households ask each day – ‘what’s for dinner tonight?’ The word ‘sorted’ is something normal people say.  The combination of the language and the feeling is powerful.  For many shoppers, it might be worth paying an extra £1 or £2 to get dinner sorted.

Helping Others.  We mentioned earlier that doing good works in 2 ways.  It helps others and it helps ourselves, by making us feel better.  Innocent’s ‘Buy One Get One Tree’ promotional activity is a great example of this.  It reinforces what the brand is about, it is doing something that others brands aren’t doing, and it incentivises shoppers to buy the brand without offering price discounts.  And shoppers probably feel pretty good about doing it.

So, when you are thinking about the shopper behaviour you are trying to drive, don’t just think about the quantitative, measurable elements of the offer – price point, product specification, all the different functional benefits of the product.  Pay as much attention to how a shopper is likely to feel about buying your product or coming to your store – the feeling that that they are making a good or smart choice.

The better you can make them feel, the more likely they are to behave in the way you want them to behave.

Are you making shoppers feel good about buying your products?

Feel free to forward.  Have a great weekend and speak to you next week.