Directions: There are 2 passages in this section. Each passage is followed by some questions or unfinished statements. For each of them there are four choices marked A), B), C) and D). You should decide on the best choice and mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 2 with a single line through the centre.
Questions 52 to 56 are based pm the following passage.
In 2011, many shoppers chose to avoid the frantic crowds and do their holiday shopping from the comfort of their computer. Sales at online retailers gained by more than 15%, making it the biggest season ever. But people are also returning those purchases at record rates, up 8% from last year.
What went wrong? Is the lingering shadow of the global financial crisis making it harder to accept extravagant indulgences? Or that people shop more impulsively—and therefore make bad decisions—when online? Both arguments are plausible. However, there is a third factor: a question of touch. We can love the look but, in an online environment, we cannot feel the quality of a texture, the shape of the fit, the fall of a fold or, for that matter, the weight of an earring. And physically interacting with an object makes you more committed to your purchase.
When my most recent book Brandwashed was released, I teamed up with a local bookstore to conduct an experiment about the difference between the online and offline shopping experience. I carefully instructed a group of volunteers to promote my book in two different ways. The first was a fairly hands-off approach. Whenever a customer would inquire about my book, the volunteer would take them over to the shelf and point to it. Out of 20 such requests, six customers proceeded with the purchase.
The second option also involved going over to the shelf but, this time, removing the book and them subtly holding onto it for just an extra moment before placing it in the customer’s hands. Of the 20 people who were handed the book, 13 ended up buying it. Just physically passing the book showed a big difference in sales. Why? We feel something similar to a sense of ownership when we hold things in our hand. That’s why we establish or reestablish connection by greeting strangers and friends with a handshake. In this case, having to then let go of the book after holding it might generate a subtle sense of loss, and motivate us to make the purchase even more.
A recent study also revealed the power of touch, in this case when it came to conventional mail. A deeper and longer-lasting impression of a message was formed when delivered in a letter, as opposed to receiving the same message online. Brain imaging showed that, on touching the paper, the emotional center of the brain was activated, thus forming a stronger bond. The study also indicated that once touch becomes part of the process, it could translate into a sense of possession.
This sense of ownership is simply not part of the equation in the online shopping experience.
52. Why do people prefer shopping online according to the author?
A) It is more comfortable and convenient.
B) It saves them a lot of money and time.
C) It offers them a lot more options and bargains.
D) It gives them more time to think about their purchase.
53. Why do more customers return their purchases bought online?
A) They regretted indulging in costly items in the recession.
B) They changed their mind by the time the goods were delivered.
C) They had no chance to touch them when shopping online.
D) They later found the quality of goods below their expectations.
54. What is the purpose of author’s experiment?
A) To test his hypothesis about online shopping.
B) To find out people’s reaction to his recent book.
C) To find ways to increase the sale of his new book.
D) To try different approaches to sales promotion.
55. How might people feel after letting go of something they held?
A) A sense of disappointment C) A subtle loss of interest
B) More motivated to own it. D) Less sensitive to its texture.
56. What does train imaging in a recent study reveal?
A) Conventional letters contain subtle messages.
B) A lack of touch is the chief obstacle to e-commerce.
C) Email lacks the potential to activate the brain.
D) Physical touch helps form a sense of possession.