The End of “Do Not Touch”.

Remember the old days when retail spaces had “DO NOT TOUCH” posters that instructed customers to stay away from products and display pieces. Those days are probably over. Even the small-store owner in the heart of India admits that he can no longer bully customers and worry about damaged merchandise. He has a bigger enemy to worry about – the giant mall a few blocks away where his customers can stroll around and touch anything they wish to buy.

Pushing this thought a little further is the idea that marketers should be more proactive and encourage people to touch products to create that immediate sense of psychological ownership. Imagine walking into a jewelry store which has this sign – “Please wear one of our earrings for as along as you’re in our store.”  The idea that touch creates a connection, and brings a feeling of familiarity and belonging is a no-brainer. What’s fascinating is how we apply this idea beyond retail marketing. For example, I’ve always wondered why companies don’t give free merchandize such as T-shirts or bags to candidates who spend an entire day interviewing in their offices. If the company wants them on board, why wait for induction day to create a sense of belonging?

Unfinished Thoughts: How do you apply the idea of touch, or recreate a sense of ownership in e-commerce?

Marketing Research: Please touch the merchandize, HBR.


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