The power of touch.
I was recently visiting a client for obvious reasons I’m going to avoid mentioning them in this blog post. A musical instrument retailer based in a busy location. A young male customer came in inquiring ‘do you have any guitar tuners?’ The slightly maturer member of staff behind behind the counter said ‘yeah sure’ and as he pointed to the display behind him. ‘We’ve got our basic one at £9.99 and this one at £14.99 and our premium one at £19.99 that’s a Boss tuner with a built in metronome’. The customer politely smiled nodded and said “okay I’ll think about it” and wandered off.
I stood for a moment to see what would happen, the staff member looked quite satisfied he’d delivered great service and carried on with his chores behind the counter. As he was a client, I decided now might be a good time to introduce him to the idea of ‘touch’ and the ‘power of touch’.
We decided to role-play the scenario again, but this time I would work behind the counter. Given that I was a little rusty on specific details of each of the guitar tuners we agreed that I would be allowed some creative licence on their features, in the spirit of what we were trying to achieve.
‘Have you got any guitar tuners mate?’ enquired the staff member immediately stepping into character. As this was a lesson was on touch and not questioning technique I avoided my burning desire to ask a few more questions about his guitar tuner needs, instead i remained focused on the project at hand…”tuners, absolutely! We have got the best range of tuners in town”. “These are our 3 most popular; our entry level tuner at £9.99 that will certainly tune your guitar”, as I spoke I placed the product in the customer’s hand. “This is our mid-priced tuner at £14.99” placing the second item in his hands, “and our premium tuner which is without doubt the best seller, is the Boss tuner which is £20.00. It is the most reliable tuner in its class and give you the added flexibility of being a metronome to keep you in time too”, handing him the 3rd tuner.
I asked the staff member “what was likely to happen now?” He was holding three tuners in his hands and needed to make a decision. After joking that he would make a run for it, he admitted that he would probably buy one of them. “That’s the power of touch” I pointed out, “when we touch things we own them when we have to put them back we feel aversion to loss”.
These are pretty strong persuasive drivers, deeply seated in our subconscious, which is why it’s always important to get product into the customers hands if at all possible.
We wrapped up the spontaneous training session, and I started to consider some of the other businesses I have dealt with that missed the opportunity to get products into people’s hands. I recalled a gift shop that sold a variety of low-mid priced gifts, including a selection of silver jewellery. I was auditing the store at the time and noticed the owner put a fresh delivery of jewellery into a locked glass cabinet securing it with a key. “Why is all the jewellery in the cabinet?” I asked inquisitively, she looked at me with a furrowed brow and answered somewhat sarcastically ‘because it’s silver!’ “I can see its silver, but these earrings are £3.99″ I replied. “There are many more items out on the shop floor that are more valuable than £3.99 and equally susceptible to theft, so why is it that you always lock the jewellery away so nobody can touch it?”
It turned out as I had suspected that it was simply down to habit. Some jewellery items were valuable and needed a secure solution for presentation, a glass cabinet is a popular choice for this. For the remaining jewellery item she’d always put them into the cabinet as well rather than considering a creative and secure way to get them into customers hands.
Many businesses must balance theft and stock shrinkage levels with increases in sales from making product accessible. I advise not to trial in school holidays, but experiment for a few weeks, measure both and see if it can work…it usually does!
Whether you sell concepts on paper and hand the customer the flyer, accessory cables or delicate glassware – displays should, where possible, encourage engagement and salespeople should take this further getting product into people’s hands.