Showrooms need to be more ‘emotional’, says consumer behaviour expert

Kitchen and bathroom showrooms can be more effective by appealing directly to their customers’ emotions, according to consumer psychology expert Phillip Adcock.

Speaking on the latest episode of The kbbreview Podcast, Adcock said that in general, a lot of retail stores aren’t very ‘brain friendly’ in the way the use signage, layout and POS.

“I make it easier for people to buy products and I use behavioural science and psychology to do that,” he said. “This takes the customer journey step by step and says ‘how is the brain of the customer functioning while going through that process?’

“Once you look at the brain in this way, things suddenly jump out and how you can improve them.”

And the principle tactic is to appeal directly to human emotions above all else, he said.

“As a species, we’ve had emotions for 300 million years but words for only about 20,000 years and numbers for about 10,000. It takes over 30,000 years for our brains to make any full evolutionary change, so strictly speaking our brains haven’t really got used to words and numbers.

“Yet an awful lot of communication we see in store is words and numbers – pictures really do speak a thousand words – so as soon as you make something emotional you get a connection with the shopper. Our emotional brains are so much more powerful than our rational brains. Emotions are 24 times more persuasive and 3,000 times faster than rational thought, so stores need to get emotional.”

Many kbb retailers may feel that after many years running a showroom, that it’s impossible to compare an FMCG store to a kitchen or bathroom studio where it’s a much more considered and drawn out purchase. Adcock, however, disagreed.

“A lot of retailers I talk to often say ‘my customer is different’ but it’s the same person with the same brain – the lady who shops with you also buys petrol at Tescos and cosmetics from Boots. So the psychology of it isn’t really different.”

Many retailers may also feel that their experience means that they understand the psychology of the consumer by default but, Adcock said, examining the behaviour in a scientific way is all about adding up the gains of many marginal nudges.

“Everyone can do something better,” he said. “If you can do 100 things 1% better then that’s a big improvement overall. Even if you think ‘I’ve been doing this for years and years, I know exactly what I’m doing,” I’m pretty sure you can do it even better whoever you are.”

Listen to this episode of The kbbreview Podcast here…

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