Wednesday, April 01, 2009

You Can Look But You Better Not Touch


No, I'm not writing about the 1980 song by Bruce Springsteen - though you can give a listen to a live version of The Boss below. 

I am writing about data from the Journal of Consumer Research that warns that if you want to avoid unnecessary purchases, keep your hands off the goods. 

There's a psychological reason why you are encouraged to "Test Drive", "Taste This", "Try This On" and so on. When touch is involved, the connection of ownership exponentially rises. 

So, unless you have amazing will power, you can look but you better not touch. 



Peck, J., & Shu, S. (2009). The Effect of Mere Touch on Perceived Ownership Journal of Consumer Research DOI: 10.1086/598614

20 comments:

Wanda's Wings said...

Also do not let a Kirby man in your house!

Mary said...

Ya I agree with Wanda

Also interesting comment Deb..Thanks..Mary

jumpinginpuddles said...

its funny our conditioning has taught us when they say those words look but dont touch we dont do it, a rules a rule hey

Dreaming again said...

hmmm this would have made for interesting discussion in soc psych class last week! (talked about persuasion, coercion, conformity etc. Advertising and how it influences the buyer was a big part of those lectures.)

Dreamwriter said...

Yeah..like telling a child, look but don't touch...that never goes over well :)

Lisa Marie said...

Is this why I always have to touch things when I shop? I swear I shop just as much with my hands as I do with my eyes :)

Dr. Deb said...

I totally touch things too! I can't just look.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Darn, I thought it was a post on Bruce ! (just kidding, your posts are always fascinating!)

phd in yogurtry said...

Yup, guilty trying the samples at every opportunity, especially hand lotion. But had no idea this is associated with "must buy" (I cant' say this works on me, though. Call me iron fist).

Casdok said...

I must remember that!

S'onnie said...

I must be one of those weird few who loves window shoping and testing and trialing things and then can quite happily walk away. Of course having said that, I am rather tight with my money so that may have something to do with it.

Advizor said...

I thought you were talking about dating at first, but the same rule applies.

Look, don't touch, applies to shopping and interpersonal relationships because touching creates a connection more powerful than the visual data.

To hold it, to feel it, makes you think about taking it home, about having it as yours.

It also helps not to have your wallet with you when you don't intend to buy, and again, a good rule whether you are at Krugerman's or a strip club....

Deb said...

You are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO right!

Madelene is a car sales'man', and she always tells the customer to TEST DRIVE the car before making a decision. She says, "You can't just look at the car, you have to drive it and experience it."

BAM. Sold.

That's why I stay away from all music stores and of course, the Apple store. Even not touching - I'm still so very tempted!!!

Dawn said...

I totally agree, but I'm a toucher-big time.lol

This is why Costco is so popular (here in Canada anyway). You could walk in there on a Saturday and have a 3 course meal in samples and walk out with a $200.0+ grocery bill before you even know it.

Anonymous said...

I hate shopping, but when I do I often find that I need to hold in my hands what I'm considering. Like many here, I can always put it back and walk away though.

::jeremy::

therapydoc said...

Patients tend to want to hug me. If they're male I tell them it's okay if we don't hug. But sometimes just that gentle pat on the back when someone is leaving is so powerful. Now I hear teachers can't touch the kids at all. You really lose power that way.

The Angry Medic said...

Dammit. But those M&Ms bags are on the lowest most touch-able shelf. Ah well, at least now I can blame my diabetic tendencies on consumer psychology :)

Marj aka Thriver said...

Huh. I wrote an article for a Chicago newspaper years ago that was about hands-on browsing. No wonder they let ya do that, huh?

The Lone Beader said...

I have will power!

Dr. Deb said...

Ugh, I just went shopping for my Dad's birthday gift and found it VERY difficult not to touch things in the store!