Does Touching Lead to More Buying?

Want to turn more shoppers into buyers? Then let them touch your products.

That’s the gist of new research from Waleed Muhanna, an associate professor at Ohio State University (pictured). Muhanna is currently examining the link between touch and receptivity to buying. His most recent experiment, last year, tested his hypothesis by having a group of 84 students bid on a coffee mug. The group that was able to handle the mug for 30 seconds bid an average of $5.80 while those that only had it for 10 seconds bid $3.70.

Muhanna credits the Endowment Effect, a phenomenon cited in 1980 as a reason why touching leads to a higher valuation. Studies have shown that consumers tend to value things they own higher than identical objects on the market. In a retail setting, the Pseudo Endowment Effect causes consumers to get a taste of ownership of the objects, Muhanna said, leading them to value them more.
The upshot? “Retailers should allow consumers greater latitude” to touch products in store, Muhanna said.