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New Year’s Resolution: Getting Retail Customers to Exercise More


retail, people counting technology, shoppertrak, people countingNew Year’s resolutions usually have “more exercise” at the top of the list. We all know of the obvious physical benefits exercise provides. However, we may not be aware of the role it plays in how we engage with content and the likelihood we pass that information along to others. Interestingly, exercise can enhance word-of-mouth engagement by making people share.

It’s known that those involved with emotionally arousing content or experiences are more likely to share that content or experience with others. However, Jonah Berger set out in his book, Contagious, to determine the effects of physical activity motivating people to share. Would physiologically arousing activities result in the same effect as emotionally arousing ones?

In a behavioral lab at Wharton, two separate groups were given the option to share with others through e-mail what they had just read in a recent newspaper article. The control group consisted of those who relaxed in a chair for sixty seconds before reading the article and then being allowed to share. However, the second group was asked to run in place for sixty seconds before reading the article, as this would create the necessary physiological response by increasing heart rate and blood pressure.

Discoveries from this experiment revealed that physiological arousal actually had a similar effect as emotional arousal. Of those who jogged in place, 75 percent chose to share the article, which was more than twice as many in the relaxed group. As Berger explained, “…. any sort of arousal, whether from emotional or physical sources, and even arousal due to the situation itself (rather than content), can boost transmission.” In other words, one of the most effective ways to generate word of mouth “is to find people when they are already fired up.” (122) And exercise can provide this.

Of course, catching people with a specific message while they’re exercising is no easy task. However, it can open up new opportunities for those marketers creatively seeking stronger word-of-mouth activity. They understand that any arousing situation – no matter what its cause – can encourage people to pass along information they may not normally share.

Insight into customer behavior is a valuable resource to retailers. That’s why it is critical to have the right tools to effectively capture those insights taking place in the store, providing retailers with relevant understanding. ShopperTrak provides people counting technology that captures and measures in-store activity so retailers can engage more effectively with their customers and convert more shoppers into buyers.


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