Archive for the 'Shopping' Category

Explicit Command vs. Implicit Persuasion

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Have you ever come across someone who is at the top of his/her game in terms of selling?  I certainly have had the pleasure sampling a couple of times.

The Art of Persuasion

I am always impressed, amazed and thankful to those people who have the perfect knowledge of the products or services they are selling or promoting.  Their techniques of selling is not by “explicit command” (I steal this term from Frank Kern, the Internet Marketing Guru) of my purchase; instead, they use their insight and knowledge to persuade me to make up my own mind.


I was in Nike store looking for a pair of running/walking shoes with the iTune chip slot built in the sole of the shoe.  This was the new invention by Apple and its partnership with Nike to sell the shoes at a premium price in addition of charging $30 for the chip and a pedometer to the iPod.  Being an avid walker, I was fascinated when I heard about this product and I’ve decided to check it out.

Knowledge Is Power

Not knowing where to look in the overwhelmingly crowded store, I finally got the attention of a gentleman who worked there.  Despite all the noise and commotion, he took the time to walk me up and down different aisles and explained to me what to look for to spot those shoes with this build-in feature.  He then took a pair of shoes and asked me how I walk, i.e. which side of my feet would land first with each step so that he could direct me to the right model of shoes.  He then grabbed another box where the chip and the iPod gadget was stored and briefly demoed how I would use the devices.  To my surprise, he showed me another alternative and economical way to get the job done without paying the premium for the shoes.

The Conclusion

Can you guess if he has made an impression on me that I ended up purchasing the shoes and the devices?  You bet you.

The moral lesson is that no job is too small.  You could be your own superstar no matter what profession you are currently engaged in.  Whatever you do, do it really well.

To learn more about the art of influence and persuasion, please check out Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book entitled: Influence: Science and Practice (5th edition) (Paperback).  I can assure you that you will have a much better understanding of the social psychology of selling and buying and how we are persuaded.

Would you share your thoughts and insight after reading this book?

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Can Brand Loyalty Be Bought?

Monday, February 16th, 2009

If you spent anytime paying your dues in Corporate America at all, you would be very familiar with the Marketing investment $$ as a percentage of sales.  The number is often staggeringly high.  So what’s the end game by spending so much?  Create brand awareness, customer loyalty in order to generate more repeated sales.

With all the preaching and investment by countless corporations, just exactly how many of them are practicing the ritual of treating their customers like kings or queens?

How Coach Practices What They Preach?handbag-2

I am very pleased to share that at least two consumer companies are doing exactly what they preach.  One of them is Coach, the handbag retailer.

This is how it started.  A year or so ago, I bought two handbags of the same style with different colors from the Coach Outlet store.  My daughter called my bags “dog carriers” due to the shape. I have been using and enjoying both bags because of their size, durability and color to reflect change of seasons.  Recently, I noticed that the handle of my black bag started peeling off for no reason.

Not knowing exactly what to do, I called the Coach store and spoke to a lady named Seane.  I explained the situation and Seane asked me to bring the bag to the store so that they could take a look at it.  The same day, I made my round to the Outlet Mall where Coach store is located.  With a brief explanation, I spoke to Seane in person.  Without my original receipt, it turned out the current discounted price is only 50% of what I paid for my bag.

Sean must have noticed the reluctance on my face, she offered me another option to look for a bag in the store with comparable price.   The end of the story was that I got a brand new bag to replace the defective one as Coach’s way to honor its commitment to product quality and customer service.  I can’t tell you how grateful I was when I was leaving the store.

Is Tommy Hilfiger Another Coincidence?

Similar incident occurred a couple of months ago with Tom Hilfiger store.  To make a long story short, I purchased two pairs of sunglasses from Tommy a year or so ago.  Soon after, the screws of the glasses came off without much wear and tear.  I debated about whether to trash the sunglasses or take them to the store.  In the end, I opted for the latter.  The conclusion of this story was that I got my refund for the sunglasses and more than what I paid for.

In this day and age, you’ve probably heard more headlines about American companies moving their manufacturing facilities offshore to leverage the cheaper labor and material costs.   You may also observe or experience inadequate customer service when you phone in their “Customer Care Center”.  Many of them are doing lip service about building a customer-centric culture.

“Word of Mouth” Still Works Like A Charm

Among many creative ways to create brand recognition, the ancient and the most effective one to date is still via “word of mouth” by treating the customers right.  Coach and Tommy Hilfilger have certainly exemplified in winning and more importantly, sustaining my brand loyalty.

Do you have similar or different stories to share?