So Has Amazon Won?

In our last post we talked about a recent Caltech study. Today we answer the question we left off with and that study helped answer, and this sales tip will help you become a more successful salesperson.  Does the form in which an item is presented to consumers affect their willingness to pay for it?

Put more simply, says Antonio Rangel, professor of neuroscience and economics at Caltech, “At a restaurant, does it matter whether they simply list the name of the dessert, show a picture of the dessert, or bring the dessert cart around?”  The way the researchers measured the results is something we can all relate to, being a hungry college student. 

For their research the Caltech team presented food to hungry subjects in three different forms:

1 A text-only format

2 A high-resolution photograph

3 A tray placed in front of the subjects

“Then we measured their willingness to pay for the food,” explains Rangel.

So how did it turn out? The value placed on the food by the subjects that showed the picture or the words showed no differences. But the food placed right in front of the subjects???

The value was 50% higher! But they didn’t stop there. The researchers worried that the smell may have had an effect on the subjects answers. So they tried the experiment again. This time using trinkets from the Caltech Bookstore.

So, what would be your guess of what happened there? The researchers used the same 3 formats, words, pictures, and placing the objects in front of the subject. The results were the same.  ”Behavioral neuroscience suggests that when I put something appetizing in front of you, your brain activates motor programs that lead to your making contact with that item and consuming it,” Rangel explains. “We hypothesized that if there’s no way for you to touch the item, then the Pavlovian motor response would be absent, and your drive to consume the item thus significantly lessened.”

One more experiment. The researchers then placed  plexiglass in front of the objects. Once this was done the value dropped to the same as the texts and picture. Simply removing the possibility of touching it lowered the value.  This reminds me of an experiment Kevin Hogan does in his seminars with a coffee cup, has has similar results.

My take aways? Although Amazon is great, I personally buy a TON from there, I  also love Barnes and Noble because I can see, feel and touch the books. So although the Internet will continue  to grow in sales, it will never completely replace the the fact that people want to actually see and touch what they buy.

So how can you get your product in the hands of your customer?

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