People will pay 50% more for items they can touch

Chocolate torte
Chocolate torte

You're probably familiar with the effect of a sumptuous dessert tray wheeled to your table at a fine restaurant. When the cheesecake or torte or flan is within lunging distance, your salivary glands practically demand you order a slice. According to a group of researchers at Caltech, the same kind of marketing could be an advantage that could help brick and mortar stores in their fight with Internet-based commerce.

The group, led by professor Antonio Rangel and grad student Benjamin Bushong, studied the reactions of customers to text descriptions of an item vs. photographs of an item vs.actually being able to touch the item. They began by testing this reaction in food, and found that their test subjects would bid 50% more for items they could actually reach out and touch. They found no significant difference in bids between foods described by text and foods shown in photographs.