It makes a difference to your marketing strategy whether your customers buy your stuff because they want to (ice cream) or because they should (carrots).In a recent research paper, Harvard Business School researchers explore the want versus should conflict and what it means to managers in a number of areas from demand forecasting to store layout.
- Consumers spend less and order a higher percentage of "should" items the further in advance of delivery they place a grocery order.
- Encouraging people to order their groceries up to 5 days in advance of consumption could influence the healthfulness of the foods they buy.
- Grocery stores that locate the produce section ("should" buy) near the entrance have this figured out.
- Online and catalog retailers that offer a range of goods as well as different delivery options might be able to improve their demand forecasting by understanding these findings.
Finally, the researchers -- Katherine L. Milkman, John Beshears, Todd Rogers, and Max H. Bazerman -- explore the idea of "small windfalls" -- the dollar you find on the street or unexpected poker winnings -- and how they influence purchasing decisions. One finding: Coupons stimulate spending, although classic economic theory would hold otherwise.
Does a buck found in your dirty laundry burn a hole in your pocket? Are you motivated by a half-0ff coupon?