breadcrumbs to the cashier
This is a pretty interesting article about how retailers get you to go into a shop, browse and hopefully spend, for those of you interested in these things. I've always liked this sort of behavioural economics stuff, especially after I noticed how I fell for them. Example: the little bowls of knick knacks at the cashier when you're paying, designed to be cheery and inexpensive as you're paying for what you actually want, hoping you'll make an impulsive grab for them. You find them in bookstores, Topshop, supermarkets. They work on me, especially if they're edible.
Maybe because I spent my student years working part-time in retail stores, I like looking closely at how merchandise is displayed. In the Celine boutique last week, I liked how they laid out wallets flat on plain white tables, which invite you to pick them up and play with them. It's a very unthreatening display for a luxury store, which usually displays small accessories under glass counters. Their Classic Box bags were enclosed in glass cases mounted in walls unlike all their other items, which made it seem rather forbidding - and obviously it's a sign they're for serious buyers only. It was slightly precious - it's a handbag, not a Ming vase?
In Chanel , some staff put on gloves when they wanted to show me certain items, which made me feel like I shouldn't be touching them. In Hermes, a man showing me a bag far more expensive than the one at Chanel didn't bother, which made me feel rather touched and assured by his confidence in his wares. In YSL, clutches were stacked in a way they made them look like candy, and the whole thing felt like such a treat - and it is the perfect, relatively inexpensive item to walk out of the shop with if you're so inclined. Zara's windows make me want to walk in, but the shop layout is always too bewildering. Massimo Dutti in contrast, makes you feel like you've been invited into someone's dressing room, with scarves casually spilling out of bowls inviting you to touch, and little stools scattered thoughout the shop begging you to try on their shoes. Very nice for a mass-level chain.
But anyway, back to the article. I may not like the kind of manipulation businesses do to get people to consume, probably needlessly. But from a detached point of view, I marvel at human behaviour and how predictable it can be, and how the observant can stand to benefit by paying attention. A lesson for us all.
Picture from veemoze via google images