I still remember my first professional massage at a swanky spa. I was a little nervous at the prospect of a stranger touching me. The room was small, scented with candles, and soothing new-agey music was piped in though a well-concealed speaker. I stood there wrapped in my big plush earth-toned towel staring at the massage table.
Was I really going to stretch out on that contraption with my face poking through a vinyl donut-hole and let someone I didn’t even know sink their fingers into my skin?
Yes. Yes I was.
I sat on the table to wait for the massage therapist. When she came in, she was pretty business as usual. I guess a nervous 30-something woman clutching a towel to her bosom was nothing new for her.
As she began her work on me I was plagued with thoughts such as, “oh my god, I hope I don’t have razor stubble, how can she stand to touch someone’s razor stubble?!”.
The next thing I remember was being woken up and quickly wiping the spot of drool off the corner of my mouth.
I felt drugged — euphorically drugged. Blissful, flush with content and relaxation. I wanted to hug someone. Curl up like a cat in someone’s lap and purr.
According to Neuroeconomonists, this feeling we get from massage is likely due to the release of oxytocin, the cuddle hormone. When released in our body, we feel bonded, we feel trust, we feel secure. And this rush of trust helps us feel more comfortable with our spending decisions.
While some salespeople use a light touch while talking to clients, I would imagine that a mini-massage could be a fabulous win-win for certain types of businesses. Complimentary massage could work well for a lot of service industries such as hotels, salons, and even doctors or dentist offices. But small retail businesses could find creative ways to bring a little pre-purchase touch to the sales floor.
What about clothing stores? Or furniture stores (particularly mattress stores). What do you think? How could small businesses create a win-win with touch?