When unveiling a new product, sometimes less is more, new research suggests.
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While many businesses try to dazzle consumers with various bells and whistles when launching new products, that type of flashy strategy can often backfire and end up hurting sales, a study recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research found. This is especially true of highly innovative or cutting-edge products.
According to the accepted wisdom, consumers get excited about new and unique products they cannot immediately understand, said the study's authors.
"However, these feelings of excitement can quickly change to tension and anxiety if we can't ultimately make sense of what a product does, especially if we are in a stimulating retail environment," the researchers wrote.
To better understand the role anxiety plays in the acceptance of new technology, the researchers designed several experiments based on existing research on innovative products, such as the Dyson Bladeless fan and Google Glass.
In one experiment, consumers were asked to remain inactive, complete a moderate workout or complete an intense aerobic workout. Everyone was then shown three different ads for the same product, in which the text and photos had one of three characteristics: they made sense together, somewhat made sense together or were completely unrelated. [Launching Your First Product? Listen to Your Customers]
The study's authors discovered that consumers who had been inactive were less anxious and were better able to accept and understand the ad with completely unrelated content than the consumers in the other two groups. The consumers who had completed a moderate workout preferred the ad that somewhat made sense, while consumers who had completed an intense aerobic workout had negative feelings toward all three ads.
These findings run counter to the common practice of creating exciting rollouts for new high-tech products, the researchers said. Based on the study's results, they said, businesses should seek a balance between creating the right amount of product hype and knowing how much excitement consumers can handle.
"Creating excitement around the launch of a mainstream product can be a good idea, but it may completely backfire when something is truly innovative," the study's authors wrote. "One of the most effective ways to launch a highly innovative product may just be to help consumers relax."
The study was authored by York University associate professor Theodore Noseworthy, University of Winnipeg assistant professor Fabrizio Di Muro and University of Alberta associate professor Kyle Murray.
Originally published on Business News Daily