Salam Forever offers unique greeting cards and gifts featuring exclusive designs by talented artists from around the world. The company has created a distinct line of products designed to appeal to a broad audience of multi-generational immigrants in the United States.
To better understand the behavior of their customers, we helped Salam Forever install a pop-up shop at a culture festival in the Washington DC area. The event was held in the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia to a maximum capacity crowd of Persian New Year celebrants.
It was the perfect place for ethnographic research.
Ethnographic research is a qualitative method where we completely immerse ourselves in the culture and lifestyle of the people we are seeking to learn from. Our pop-up shop was perfectly suited for the task. We were granted a prime location—the first corner situated directly in the center of the main entrance of the festival.
The table in our pop-up shop had multiple displays of Salam Forever gift items and cards arranged in strategic locations. We wanted to learn more about how customers would respond to different pricing options. We wanted to learn how they approached making their choices from the product offerings. And we wanted to observe their reactions to different products that were presented.
The pricing test was very successful. The vast majority of customers spent more than $20 when making a purchase. A greeting card in Salam Forever’s online store sells for $8—our anchor. We offered cards to festival goers for only $7 per card. And we gave them a price break when they bought 4 or more cards. In this case, the cards would only cost $5 each for 4 or more.
With past pop-up shops, we had offered cards for a single price of $8 each. Most customers would become satisfied spending the minimum amount of $8 and would only buy one card. We assumed it was an inexpensive way for them to feel like they were taking home a memento from the festival and that they were throwing some support to Salam Forever.
Our pricing test employed a behavioral science concept known as Loss Aversion. Our pricing offer made it clear that if you only bought 3 cards, you were throwing away a dollar and a free, fourth card — a very effective nudge.
You could buy just one or two cards, but with so much to lose (that 4th free card), most customers opted for spending a little more to avoid this perceived loss.
In addition to a successful behavior intervention on purchase behavior, we were also able to observe valuable customer behavior in close quarters. People were very comfortable sifting through the cards on the table and engaged in open conversation with their companions about their opinions and preferences. Salam Forever is primarily an online store and this level of customer feedback is nearly impossible in that environment.
The open dialogue between customers and their friends as well as customers and the Salam Forever sales team was invaluable. We were able to watch them as they considered their options and hear them describe their selection process out loud as they discussed it with their friends and asked questions of us.
We learned a lot at the culture festival in DC that weekend. Now the work begins.
Based on insights gained from the festival, we will be introducing new products and product categories to the online store. The Salam Forever homepage will be redesigned to feature specific, strategic offers and pricing options. We will use a similar Loss Aversion technique with a free, tracking-on-shipping offer for purchases of $40 or more. And we’ll be incorporating a customer service section with answers to frequently asked questions that were recorded during our ethnographic research.
About Salam Forever
Salam Forever gives customers the opportunity to share gift items of cultural significance and meaning with colleagues, friends, and family. The designs they use have both broad appeal as well as specific cultural identifiers that make them ideal for inspiring anyone with their distinctive aesthetic approach. As a small, woman-owned, New York-based business, Salam Forever represents a diverse community of artists, writers, and creative professionals with the talent to take their personal joy and give it a distinct expression.