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What is the role of touch in consumer behavior? Consumers are especially motivated to touch some products before buying them, and for some people, those high in "desire to touch", touching before buying is especially important. In addition, some situations encourage consumers to touch goods before purchasing them. How do these relate to impulse purchases? People high in their "desire to touch" are more likely to make impulse purchases. Point-of-purchase signs that encourage touching a product stimulate impulse purchases in consumers who notice the sign, whether they are high or low in "desire to touch." High "desire to touch" are much more likely than other consumers to notice the sign. Signs that praise a product, but stress vision rather than touch, do nothing to increase impulse purchases by either type of shopper. These results grow out of a study of shopper in front of the peaches and nectarines in a supermarket produce department. The characterization of consumers as high or low "desire to touch" was based on a 2 page questionnaire administered to 340 shoppers who had already placed peaches or nectarines in their shopping carts. How and how much they touched the fruit was previously recorded, and matched up with the characterization based on the questionnaire as a way of validating the classifications.


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