The Hidden Reason Why Consumers don’t Use Special Products

We frequently watch beautiful ads selling exclusive products. People usually buy them for very special occasions. Here are some examples:

Nice shoes for a special night:

The best whisky to bless your home bar:

These ads make the products very special. But, this kind of advertisement could be bad for business.

How Nonconsumption can turn ordinary items into perceived treasures

I have just read the last work of Jonah Berger: “How Nonconsumption can turn ordinary items into perceived treasures”.

After performing different experiments, Jonah Berger found out that consumers are reluctant to use special products because they think the situation is not special enough.

These consumers wait for the best occasion to use these products but it never comes. Finally, the product becomes a kind of heirloom or treasure.

Companies want clients to buy their products, consume them and come back for more. But if we buy something and don’t use it, we have not unlocked the value that thing offered to us.

Clients that never end up using those products could think that they shouldn’t buy them again.

How marketers can encourage consumers to unlock the value of those special products

Associate offerings with specific usage occasion

Considering the previous example, we can associate the Manolo Blahnik shoes with a specific night.

For example, Christian Louboutin promoted this T-strap stiletto sandal as the best choice for any new year’s eve party.

Instead of whisky being marketed as a very exclusive whisky, Macallan could describe it as a whisky for a steak dinner.

Associating these products with specific occasions will make people use them.

Encourage consumers to use the products after purchase

Companies can consider encouraging consumers to use their offerings as soon as possible after purchase. You can innovate and create ways to make consumers use the product asap:

  • Offer discounts for the next purchase if they have already used the product
  • “Best if Used By/Before” dates on products to indicate when a product will be of best flavor or quality
  • Invite people to contribute extreme ideas about how they could use your products

Well, I hope you like this article. Do you have other ideas? Please share them with us!

P.S. Before you go, you may also be interested in the following articles:

One Psychology Hack to Win New Clients

3 Steps to Retain your B2B Customers, Make them Happier and Get more Business


Jose Maria (Chema) Lopez

A Madrid Polytechnic University International MBA has worked as global marketing director in B2B and B2C international leading companies implementing global marketing and communication strategies to ensure business objectives and to optimize brands reputation and visibility on a global level.

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