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Balance and Parity

I recently read an article in the Journal of Marketing Research titled “Consumer Behavior in ‘Equilibrium’:  How Experiencing Physical Balance Increases Compromise Choice” written by Jeffrey S. Larson and Darron M. Billeter.  The proposition of the article is that the physical sensation of balance impacts consumer judgments and decisions.  The authors provide six detailed experiments to support their claim. 

The authors share examples of the balance sensation such as "making online purchases while leaning on only two legs of a chair," "shopping after yoga class,""making a purchase after stepping off an escalator," and so forth.   The authors demonstrate a link between physical balance and perceptions of parity.  The consumer is more likely to choose a compromise option (perceiving increased parity) subsequent to initiating his sense of balance.

Often in customer listening exercises, we ask consumers to rate various experiences:  recent transactions, billing, ordering, account, team, etc. — however, I don’t believe I have ever seen a survey that inquires whether or not the consumer was feeling "balanced" at purchase/critical decision moment.  While I’m not suggesting, we add a question asking whether or not a customer uses 2 or all 4 of his chair legs, I think it’s interesting to consider the impact that physical surroundings do have on business decisions.  Also, I’m going to avoid shopping in high heels, as now I know it may impact my purchase decisions!

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