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Natural Awakenings

Shop for Gifts in Pleasant Surroundings: Welcoming Shopping Environments Ring Up Sales

Recent research underscores what common sense tells us, that moods, emotions and feelings influence the quality of people’s decisions. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research confirms that when shoppers are in a positive mood, they make quicker and more consistent judgments than unhappy consumers.

The study’s authors manipulated participants’ moods by showing them pictures of likable objects (puppies) or unpleasant images (diseased feet) or asking them to recall pleasant or unpleasant events from the past. Next, the participants viewed individual pictures of a common object they might consider buying. Finally, they chose from a random list of evaluative adjectives, both positive and negative.

Individuals in a positive state of mind not only responded more quickly to the adjectives, they also responded more consistently. For example, if they reported liking an object, they were less likely to respond later that they disliked it.

“These results have implications for how we navigate our world,” the researchers reported. “The decisions we make about liking or disliking objects around us are fundamental to which things we approach and which things we avoid.”

The bottom line for retailers: Being aware of and avoiding factors that can induce negative moods—such as abrasive salespeople and unwelcoming shopping environments—can help ring up more sales.

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