Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings
Samples are often touted as effective tools that give customers a taste of what your product will be like, and increase the likelihood of their buying it in the future. But what makes the consumer's experience with samples a positive one? According to researchers, it's nothing more than feelings.
Research shows that two things affect how much consumers like a product sample:
1. Its informational (cognitive) components. What it is made of, where it is made, etc.
2. Its affective (sensory) components. What it tastes like, how it makes consumers feel.
So, why did feelings get the biggest rating by researchers? Because, contrary to popular wisdom, shopper distraction—conversation, other displays nearby, music, or studying a grocery list—actually increased the likelihood that the customer would buy the product in the future. Rather than being a negative, distractions proved to be good predictors of positive future decisions.
Why? When consumers are distracted, their thoughts veer away from the informational elements of the product. This allows their feelings—the sensory components—to have a greater impact on product judgment, and purchase decisions.
The Po!nt: It's party time! Have consumers sample a new, fun or tasty product in a distracting environment; the distraction makes its affective components stand out, and can actually increase its positive impact.
Source: "The Effect of Distractions While Tasting a Food Sample: The Interplay of Informational and Affective Components in Subsequent Choice", Baba Shiv and Stephen M. Nowlis. Journal of Consumer Research, 2004.