Here is a new result, although it is based on surveys rather than market data:
It’s no secret that salespeople at upscale shops can be a little snobbish, if not outright rude, the researchers note. Consumer complaints recently have pressured some luxury retailers to train their staffs to be more approachable; Louis Vuitton even went as far as decorating the entrance of its Beverly Hills store with a smiling cartoon apple in 2007. But if luxury retailers want to continue to rake in the dough, they actually should do the exact opposite, the study found. The ruder the salesperson the better.
In four online surveys, Ward and Dahl had participants imagine interactions with different types of salespeople under a bunch of different conditions. Variables included the imagined store’s level of luxury, the extent of the salesperson’s haughtiness, how well the salesperson represented the store’s brand, and how closely participants themselves related with the brand. The results:
- Rejection makes people want to buy luxury goods. A salesperson’s condescending attitude has little effect on consumers’ desire to buy more affordable brands like Gap and American Eagle, though.
- Rejection is stronger when salespeople convincingly embody brands in the way they act and dress. Sloppy salespeople aren’t as intimidating.
- People who really want to own a particular brand are even more influenced by rejection. Instead of switching their loyalties, customers just become more attached.
- Rejection works best in the short term. While great at pressuring people into buying something in the moment, dismissive staff may still alienate customers in the long run.
The results fall into a long line of research that demonstrates the extent to which rejection can jar our fragile self-conceptions.
The article is based on:
The pointer is from Roman Hardgrave.