Research finds connection between relaxed shoppers and purchasing patterns

Posted in News

Relaxation Increases Monetary Valuations, published in the Journal of Marketing Research, reports on changes in shopper behavior linked to the buyer’s level of calm. Since parking can have an adverse impact on the shopper’s relaxation this points to the value of investing to improve the parking experience.

NEW YORK, NY — Relaxed shoppers are willing to pay more for products is one of the main findings of an article in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of Marketing Research, published by the American Marketing Association. The research didn’t specifically focus on the role of the parking experience in relaxing shoppers, but as the first experience most shoppers have with a retail environment parking plays a big part in getting people in the mood to shop.

Relaxation Increases Monetary Valuations, by Michel Tuan Pham, Iris W. Hung and Gerald J. Gorn, documents how states of relaxation not only increase the monetary valuations of products but actually inflate them.

In simulated bidding studies, relaxed participants consistently bid higher for a digital camera than less-relaxed participants. Whereas less-relaxed participants’ bids were close to the product’s estimated market price on online auction sites, relaxed participants’ bids were approximately 15% higher than the estimated market price. The same effect was observed across a large variety of products in other studies: Not only did relaxed participants think that relaxing products and services such as a spa treatment or a cruise were worth more, they also thought that exciting products and services (e.g., bungee jumping sessions) and indulgent products and services (e.g., an ice cream sundae) were worth more as well. Thus, the effect of relaxation on monetary valuation seems to be quite far ranging.

Why would relaxed consumers think that products are worth more than less-relaxed consumers? The findings indicate that this is because relaxed people tend to think about the value of products at a more abstract level. For example, when bidding for the camera, relaxed participants focused more on what the camera would enable them to do (e.g., collect memories) and how desirable and advantageous it was to own it, whereas the less-relaxed participants focused more on the concrete features of the camera itself (e.g., the number of megapixels it had, the shutter speed). Given that most products and services are meant to fulfill broadly desirable goals, in general, a higher level of thinking about the product increases its perceived monetary worth, as the authors found in these studies.

Research conducted on behalf of Park Assist has documented a variety of impacts on retail center visitor behavior, including increased rates of repeat visits and length of stay. The capacity of the M3 System to generate valuable data from usage patterns in the parking garage creates opportunities to find more direct relationships between the parking experience and sales activities.

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