Category Archives: Uncategorized

Black Friday is Back

Black Friday… the day consumers live for and employees just want over with.

A non-consumerist society would balk at the idea of Black Friday. Oh, I can only wish. There is a visiting Scotsman staying at my house currently who has never heard of the day before, oh how I envy him.

Mindless consumerism. Buy it because it is on sale at a price it may never be at again. It’s hardly worth it.

And yet (I’m done complaining now) Black Friday is our SECOND busiest day of the year. Any guesses as to our first? December 26th. The Return Day.

I know, for someone in the industry, I don’t seem to be supporting our economy. To be true, the economy is too big for its own good, and we have to constantly spend just to sustain it. Doesn’t sound like a brilliant plan for the landfills, the oceans, or our natural resources.

So what am I getting my family this year for Christmas? Sure, I bought a few things from my place of work, but everyone is getting a recycled gift this year: Handmade (by yours truly) mug cozies from thrift store sweaters. Cost me $17 to make 13 gifts. Try doing that on Black Friday.

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Conversion (no, not the religious kind)

Conversion is a simple equation: The number of people that walk in / The number of people who actually buy something. The start of the second chapter in “Why We Buy” focuses on what retailers typically don’t know. Unfortunately this book is a slight bit outdated because most major retailers have taken care of the conversion mystery with automatic counters at the door and fancy computer systems that compare the number of transactions for the day against the number of people who entered. However, the concept of conversion is still just as relevant.

When I began working at my job, one of the seasoned associates informed me that I should watch out for the clothing censors in relation to conversion. If someone sets off the front door alarm without understanding the cause, about half of people will walk through the censor again just to be sure it was them. This messes up our conversion rate. “I don’t even consider theft anymore,” my coworker admitted. “I’m just like, get out of the doorway, you’re messing up conversion!”

I appreciate the method that the book uses for discussing the different expectations of conversion. If you are a fast food chain, you would expect 100% conversion, because people enter with the intention to spend money because food is a necessity. If you are an art gallery, you probably have a conversion rate of 1% or less, assuming 1 out of every 100 people who enter the gallery purchase something, and that is expected for that genre of store. My work sets their goal at about one-third, which is typical for clothing. Mostly because not everyone NEEDS what they have to offer.

All of this to say: conversion is like a measure of real success. Once the customer is actually in the door, what are the odds they will actually make a purchase? How can you improve the number of people who actually purchase something once they are inside? Part of this is customer service, or perhaps availability of items desired, but a large part is merchandising and making the product appealing and accessible.

Greetings :)

Green field with close-up of small flowers

Hey there, just wanted to introduce myself: my name is Kelsey and I am beginning a blog about the retail industry, visual merchandising (VM), the psychology of buying, and consumerism, all in the name of preparing myself for a dream job in merchandising.

I will begin over the next few weeks with a book series written by Paco Underhill, who people-watched and literally stalked people inside stores, eavesdropping to find out what led them to that crucial decision: “To buy, or not to buy”. His first book, “Why We Buy” is no thicker than one of the Chronicle’s of Narnia, so I hope to get through it fairly fast, yet take it all in.

I am also currently a student of fashion marketing here in the beautiful and wet city of Portland, and have a concentration in digital art and VM as well as sustainability, so you will be reading a lot about that, I am sure.

Well, just wanted to get the courtesies taken care of. Now that we are no longer strangers, go ahead and like, follow, and comment to your heart’s content 🙂

Buy Bye!

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