Photo: Phil photostream via flickr
We’ve long known that (soothing) background music in grocery stores helps with sales. There’s now another study to back this up.In a soon-to-be-published report in the American Marketing Association’s Journal of Marketing Research, researchers at Columbia Business School reveal that consumers value products on average 10% more when in a relaxing environment.
This is based off of six experiments, using several different products and 670 participants. Researchers created two environments — one relaxing and the other more chaotic (though not stressful) — and then asked participants to assess the monetary value of the products.
In one experiement, relaxed participants bid 15% higher than the market price for a digital camera, whereas the less-relaxed ones bid closer to the market price.
According to the report:
Relaxed consumers think products are worth more than less–relaxed consumers because relaxed individuals tend to think about the value of products at a more abstract level. For example, when bidding for the camera, relaxed participants focused more on what the camera would enable them to do (e.g., collect memories) and how desirable and advantageous it was to own it, whereas the less–relaxed participants focused more on the concrete features of the camera itself (e.g., the number of megapixels it had, the shutter speed).
Relaxed customers also found “exciting” products or services, like bungee jumping, as better investments.
“The study reveals a psychological reaction to the biology of being relaxed,” says Columbia professor Michel Tuan Pham. “Your system thinks there is no threat in the environment. As a result, you tend to perceive various things as more desirable. Shoppers should be aware of how this impacts their decision making.”
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