A new study has shown that retailers employing good looking sales assistants to boost custom may actually be hampering sales after scientists observed that shy consumers were intimidated by beautiful people.
Far from splashing the cash men shopping for figurines in a Japanese comic store were far less likely to purchase if they saw an attractive face behind the till, with 57 per cent of a sample group of 164 men less inclined to engage conversation in such circumstances, with conversations limited to no more than 90 seconds even for those who could muster the courage.
By contrast 80 per cent of the test group ventured inside if a less attractive sales woman was placed behind the counter.
Overall 40 per cent of the volunteer group purchased a comic book figurine from the attractive woman and 56 per cent went home with their idol when the less attractive employee was on shift.
Explaining the counterintuitive findings, Lisa Wan, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said: “Attractive service providers can lead consumers to become self-conscious or embarrassed. This is especially true when the provider is of the opposite sex. Even when the attractive salesperson is the same sex, consumers may feel a sense of inadequacy through self-comparison.
“In either case, the shopper may avoid interacting with physically attractive providers, rendering the salespeople ineffective.”
It’s not only men who feel intimidated however, with previous studies indicating that women too are drawn to less attractive attendants when purchasing feminine hygiene products.