Behavioural science - Can a blue room really make a difference to profit?
Behavioural science – Can a blue room really make a difference to profit?
Behavioural Science – can a blue room really make a difference to profit?
In an experiment carried out on behalf of Honda UK, we created an environment specifically engineered to test the findings of numerous behavioural science studies and our own long-term research in the automotive sector. The study was designed to investigate the impact of various stimuli on customer behaviour.
Traditionally, most car-buying negotiations are conducted by a sales person and their customer at a sales desk within the car showroom. Our hypothesis was that this environment could be optimised using behavioural science to improve the experience for both parties and the commercial outcome.
The blue room
To do this we created the so-called ‘blue room’; an enclosed space separated from the main showroom used specifically for the final part of the sales process. This space encompassed a number of elements that in previous studies had been shown to influence customer behaviour unconsciously. We monitored this by interviewing all customers who bought a car during the experiment and found no subsequent recall of the affect of the stimuli and, when prompted, strong denials that any had an impact on their decision-making.
The room was constructed in an octagonal format with two thirds of its walls made of soft, sound absorbing blue cloth and the front third, clear glass with a sliding door. The floor consisted of thick, blue carpet – in marked contrast to the hard, white tiles of the showroom floor. The room was scented with a fragrance chosen specifically for its ability to promote ‘focused attention’ and classical music was played into the area at just below the lowest level of human conscious audio perception. Inside the room was a simple white desk, a large touchscreen – viewable at all angles, connected to a hidden PC and soft, blue fabric chairs.
Over a period of three months, the blue room was available to all the dealership’s sales people – who had each been trained to identify when customers were ready to begin a negotiation. The outcome of sales conducted in the blue room were compared to those held at the desks of the sales staff as was ‘normal’ practice. Across both new and used car sales, despite no conscious recall by customers of the difference between the two environments (when questioned after the outcome), deals done in the blue room were 37% more profitable than those carried out on the showroom floor.
At CX Lab, we’re all about taking the ideas of behavioural science and demonstrating their practical application in the commercial world, to generate better experiences for customers and to drive greater sales and profit for the businesses that serve them.
For more detail on the research supporting the blue room hypothesis, see: