Truth, Lies, and Retail




(Mmmmn, no, sorry, you can't actually 'click to look inside!'....I snagged that photo from amazon). Today on AOL, there was a news blip about the tricks retailers ('them') play to lead the public ('us') to purchase more product. (Question: If 'we' are 'them', then are we also 'us'?) Click here to check it out.

The information contained in the article is based on findings by Martin Lindstrom in his new book, Buy*ology. Nice play on words and sounds there, did you catch that? Yes, his work is based on the basic biolologic responses of humans to external stimuli, and how those responses can be triggered intentionally to create a desired response.

What? Well, for example, one study in a wine shop led to the result that playing Italian music sold more Italian wines. Ditto for French music and French wine. Martin says it comes from a brain mechanism that equates what is heard with a suggestion... hear French music, grab a bottle of Bordeaux. The methodology equates to being the angel and devil sitting on every consumer's shoulders - and winning either way.

Martin is a Swedish 'brand futurist' and 'retail anthropologist', in the vein of retail author & expert Paco Underhill (he of 'Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping' and 'Call of the Mall', and who also wrote the forward to Martin's book), and divulges the findings from his unorthodox research on retail practices. What I'm trying to figure out is this: Did he write this book for retailers, to give them more tools with which to 'lead' the public into buying more, or - and the article on AOL seems to bear this out - is he promoting it to the public to underscore what a subversive lot retailers are, and what 'we' resort to to influence purchasing behavior? That move seems a little counter-intuitive to me. The subtitle 'The Truth and Lies of Why We Buy' doesn't really answer that question, either.

Martin's web site features a video of him talking about his work. It also offers you an opportunity to sign up for free newsletters and a chapter from the book. There is a wealth of useful information here for retailers, marketers, and those wishing to build their brand...the trick will be utilizing it without letting customers know you are playing the game. Especially those customers who read AOL.

2 comments:

  1. Deb, Have you ever read Eveolution (not sure on the spelling there) by Faith Popcorn? I found that book to be amazing in it's teachings of marketing to women. I am re-reading it right now to plan for spring.

    missy

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  2. Hi Deb...Thanks for noticing my letter to the editor in Where Women Create...You're the only one who knew where to find me, since there were no identifying links near my name...I'll have to pick up this book and the one mentioned in the other comment...Sounds fascinating and useful, both as a seller and a buyer...Take care, Katie

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my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK