Tuesday 1 May 2012

Touching response-rates in improving buying appetite, twofold

In these unprecedented times, when every little helps, light touching of the other party can apparently impart a subliminal sense of caring and connection, leading to more successful social interactions, better teamwork and even shopping behaviour.

In a new study ranging from dating to restaurant tipping and following the waiter’s advice, passersby responding to surveys in a mall, and the percentage of shoppers in a supermarket who purchase food they had sampled, it would appear that suppliers and retailers are missing a trick by not building more touching opportunities into the shopping experience.

Impressing the researcher...
Given that the author Leonard Mlodinow is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, with an appetite for statistical significance, even he was surprised to find a twofold increase in response rates following a light touch on the arm…

Not convinced?
Some scepticism is understandable. After all, some people recoil when a stranger touches them. And it is possible that some of the subjects in the studies did recoil but that their reactions were outweighed by the reactions of those who reacted positively.

However, for those finding this blog-post an answer to a personal history of low-success social encounters, and are even tempted to experiment without further delay, it must be emphasised that these were all very subtle touches, not gropes. In fact, in studies in which the touched person was later debriefed about the experience, typically less than one-third of the subjects were even aware that they had been touched.

Apart from being an obvious pointer for Tesco in helping to warm up the shopping experience, there is surely an application in terms of supplier-retailer negotiation, both within and following a multilevel and multifunctional handshake routine…?
(Thanks to Andrew Sullivan)

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