Marketers Aim to Relax Shoppers to Boost Spending

Should marketers target relaxed shoppers to increase sales? Can marketers employ specific relaxation techniques to improve the shopping outcome? A Columbia University professor and several cohorts studied these questions and their findings could prove useful to marketers.

These researchers designed 6 experiments and the results demonstrated that “states of relaxation consistently increase the monetary valuations of products.” In the real world, consumers report that being in a relaxed state is pleasant. It turns out being relaxed also improves the decision-​making process, often to the marketer's advantage.

The researchers outlined the example of a consumer considering the purchase of a digital camera. More relaxed consumers will focus on the emotional aspects of ownership such as how it will allow them to collect memories. Less relaxed consumers may focus only on the technical aspects of such a purchase – the size, the shutter speed, etc. Because the more relaxed consumer connects emotionally to the product, he or she is also likely to assign a higher value to the purchase and be willing to pay more.

Marketers might go about trying to relax consumers in a variety of ways, including designing a user-​friendly website or a calming store environment. In addition, marketers may optimize their ad campaigns to connect emotionally with a consumer’s desire for a specific product or service. While the link between consumer purchases and state of mind has been suspected for some time, these researchers have been able to generate a cause and effect through their experiments.

[Source: Pham et al. Relaxation Increases Monetary Valuations. Journal of Marketing Research. 2011. Web. 12 Aug. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.