We all know November and December are high spending months. I have no qualms about it — go forth and shop! But I do advocate being a mindful shopper. Be aware of merchandising and marketing strategies. Here’s three things I have been keeping in mind lately… CONTINUED
Hi all! It’s been a while! How are you? Been shopping 150% overbudget this month? What, more than that? Yeah me too. Don’t get me wrong — je ne regrette rien. Personally, I obsess over googling product reviews before buying, so I’m rarely disappointed by my purchases.
But I did start thinking about how unintentional all my shopping has been. Typically I spend very little besides gas, groceries, and the like. I don’t deny personal responsibility — But I also wondered, how do businesses encourage shoppers into buying more? Nowadays more people are wary of “being sold to” by sales associates, but what about the store environments themselves?
We all know November and December are high spending months. I have no qualms about it — go forth and shop! But I do advocate being a mindful shopper. Be aware of merchandising and marketing strategies. Here’s three things I have been keeping in mind lately…
(1) There’s a lot of thought that goes into the layout of a store.
You might think you and other shoppers are just aimlessly wandering, but chances are you’re all following a specific track that was laid out for you.
- Outside in parking lots or the mall, your pace is pretty brisk — you’re focused on getting to a destination. Stores need to get you to stop “walking” and switch to “browsing.” The first few feet of any store is the “decompression zone.” This area isn’t about selling merchandise. Rather, it provides environmental cues that subtly signal you to transition your behavior. My local Crate & Barrel puts a reeeally large, unwieldy dining table front and center of the entrance that forces you to walk around it — slowing your pace. H&M has a large display with mannequins front and center that introduces you to seasonal items and new themes, “prepping” you for what’s further in store.
- Now that you’re browsing, stores want you to see as much of the merchandise as possible. Supermarkets keep the hot ticket items far out of reach — the milk at the back wall and the bread in the middle aisles, so you have to pass by as many aisles as possible. IKEA and Costco are built like modern labyrinths, to keep you walking. Department stores favor a “race track” layout, in which customers enter through doors, typically drift towards the right, and from there on are led throughout the store in a circuit.
So if you ever came in to buy a specific item, but somehow ended up browsing discounted seaweed body lotion, and wondered “Wait. Why am I in this section, again?” … Now you know, my friend.