We all know that higher value products somehow seem to feel more luxurious, whether it’s the packaging, the texture of the actual product, or the weight. But did you ever give thought to why that sensation of touch can translate into a higher perception of value?
Research shows that people with a higher “need for touch” will show more confidence in evaluating a product when they can actually touch the product. Hence the reason why some people, despite the ease of online shopping, will resist the allure of e-commerce to make the trek out to a brick-and-mortar. In order to feel more certain they are making the right the purchase decision, they literally have to touch the merchandise.
Interestingly, research also shows that those same people, with a high need for touch, can better separate the aspects of what doesn’t matter to make a decision on the value. Therefore, these consumers will judge a water by its taste, rather than taste plus the physical aspects of the bottle it is packaged in. However, those who are not as touch-oriented will actually use negative or positive attributes of touch that have nothing to do with the actual product itself. In this instance, people with a low need for touch will feel the bottle and make unconscious judgments about the quality and taste of the water.
What does this mean for marketers? If you have a product that you want to give the connotation of quality, you might want to consider the packaging that the product comes in. Does the packaging feel flimsy, less substantial than that of your competitors? If so, you may want to put something on the packaging to denote that it’s “more environmentally friendly” to give those with a lower need for touch a reason to understand why the packaging feels the way it does. Or for those of us that market a non-tangible product like software, consider stepping up the weight of the card stock for your marketing materials and business cards.
While ultimately, those aspects don’t really make a difference in the quality of the product, it sure does make a difference in the perception that your customers are generating about your product and your organization.