Tag Archives: shopping

It’s Worse to Bend the Rules than to Break Them

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Wrapping up Chapter 3 of Paco Underhill’s “Why We Buy”! And I quote: “…Being first isn’t necessarily best…” in relation to store entrances.

There may be 7 types of shampoo on a shelf, and by the time the customer has looked at the seventh one, the first is easily forgotten. Simple principle of shopping. The best locations are not near the front. Especially for more personal or private items. People do not want to be seen purchasing toiletries or hair coloring kits, so choosing a spot at the end of the aisle, or better yet, nearest the end of that product’s section where another, less embarassing or personal item section begins. Never place a feminine item nearby to a masculine item, it is uncomfortable. 

Also, being visible as a customer is approaching gives an advantage. however, posting such an item directly in their face will shy them away. Instead, give a time for “visual anticipation” to build as the customer approaches the item. The first shall be last and the last shall be first!

Buy buy for now!

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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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The Landing Strip

I witnessed the need for this one today. I was in a Whole Foods grocery store to pick up some cheese for Thanksgiving. As I stood in the express line I had a perfect view of the front doors to the store. Against the front wall, directly to the left and right of the entering and exiting shoppers were two tall stacks of handheld shopping baskets. This is exactly what the book said would happen. Every customer entering the store completely ignored the baskets.

There was no decompression zone. The first 8-10 feet of any store should be left practically bare so that once the customer gets inside, they can begin to adjust to the retail environment. Most displays or products put right next to the door are ignored entirely by shoppers who haven’t had a chance to get in “shopping mode” just yet.

In a smaller store perhaps the decompression zone must be smaller, but do not place anything directly in front of the door for the first 8 feet. This is a deterrent to enter. Some shoppers will stop in front of it, look around, then turn around and walk back out.

The book refers to the space required for a shopper to adjust as the “Landing Strip”. They’ve been walking hurriedly through the parking lot or down the sidewalk, perhaps they’ve been dealing with awful weather, their thoughts were not on shopping. Then they step inside. The lighting changes, the temperature changes, the noise changes, and just in that short 8 to 10 feet they have adjusted their speed to be appropriate for viewing items on shelves and making purchases. Give your people time to recuperate, and whatever is at the front of the store will not be wasted.

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Why We Buy: Introduction

Who knew a book about stalking people in the name of retail science would become a national bestseller? Paco Underhill, founder of Envirosell, the “stalkers for hire” consulting agency, has three books on the market, and this one, “Why We Buy” is the first. I am doing an analysis of this book to better my own knowledge of selling, merchandising, and why people spend money on anything and everything.

In short, Envirosell monitors, anaylzes and draws conclusions from following people and recording certain areas of retail environments and public spaces. They can tell you more than just the average number of people in the store per day (most major retailers have an automatic people counter above the door) but how old they are, how they’re dressed, what they bought, how long they were present, and more. They collected so much data on tape at one point, “Kodak told us we were the single largest consumer of Super 8 film in the world”.
After just a few pages, my favorite statistic listed is about jeans. Sixty-five percent of men who try jeans on buy them, but only twenty-five percent of women buy jeans after trying them on. There are a thousand explanations for this, but the fact remains. As a retail fitting room attendant, I can attest to that entirely. As a result, I will feel more validated knowing that only one out of the four women trying on jeans will actually buy them. Knowing this gives me more realistic expectations.

Anyway, I report more as I get through the book. So far I can see why it is a bestseller. The writing is masterful yet personal, but the content is thick and juicy. Can’t wait to tell you more!

Buy bye!

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