04 May How the Time of Day Can Influence Your Customers

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A study by a business school in the U.K. suggests that marketing, customer service and even sales techniques tailored to the time of day may increase a retailer’s bottom line.

Known as “Time-of-day services marketing,” it looks to bring the personal touch back to shops and create a unique experience for every variety of shopper.

Scott Dacko, an associate professor of marketing and strategic management at Warwick Business School, has used the latest research from sociology, geography, biology, physiology, psychology and marketing to put together the across-the-day marketing strategy for retailers in his paper published in the Journal of Services Marketing.

In essence, Dacko suggests that retailers can adjust their lighting, music, in-store promotions and offers during the day to suit the type of customer that is likely to walk into their stores.

So what’s that mean in your store? It could be as simple as making sure you have coffee ready for your morning customers, and, even if you’re known for your jelly beans or your home-baked cookies, you might consider having mini-danish pastries out for customers in the morning.

“Some retailers are using a tiny fraction of these various tactics, but nobody has put them all together for a comprehensive ‘Time-of-day services marketing’ strategy, which is what my research has done,” Dacko says.

Part of that more comprehensive strategy, which he delves into in scholarly language in his paper, is knowing more about the demographics of your customers at different times of the day.

Dacko goes beyond demographics, however, instead using a knowledge of segmentation-based marketing principles.

For example, Dr Dacko’s research has found that older people, unemployed, ‘non-time pressured’ people, ‘variety-seekers’ and families with small children are more likely to be morning shoppers. Women as well tend to shop more in the morning than men.

On the other hand, youngsters and young adults, people looking for a new experience, those without time-pressure and who have no small children tend to shop in the afternoon and busy, time-pressured people tend to shop later in the evening.

Dacko suggests that retailers can then adjust combinations of services — for example, music, scent and lighting to appeal to different shopper backgrounds throughout the day. Even striving to match through scheduling the age range of staff with certain customer groups can improve rapport, like having the most knowledgeable staff on the shop floor when the most discerning and usually older customers appear. In-store TV screens can also be changed to target the different shopper backgrounds during the day.

Want scientific data to support your Ladies Night? Dacko has that too.

“From sociology, research has revealed ‘temporal symmetry’ where individuals feel a sense of togetherness in doing the same activity at the same time,” Dacko says. “For example a store could hold a ladies hour to attract women, amplifying the sense of togetherness.”

But there’s a flip side you may not have considered:

“On the other hand,” Dacko says, “sociologists have also found some people fiercely cherish individualism, so some retailers are meeting this by offering personal shopping appointments outside of store hours.” For a copy of Scott Dacko’s paper, click here.

Last modified on Monday, 04 May 2015 09:22
Ralf Kircher

Ralf Kircher is Group Executive Editor for SmartWork Media, overseeing the production of INVISION magazine.