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Organizational Behavior Why We Buy The Science Of Shopping

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 4001 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Paco Underhill describes himself as an urban geographer and retail anthropologist. He is the founder of Envirosell, a research and consulting firm specializes in retail environments in order to sell more products. His fundamental research methodology is to track customers as they move through stores, observe their browsing and purchasing patterns and take detailed notes of how long they spend in each area of the store, what they look at and touch what they buy and how much they spend etc. after more than 20 years of doing this, he has compiled a hugely detailed data base of shopper behavior patterns. He can tell you for example, 65% of males who take jeans into fitting room will buy them, as opposed to 25% of women. Or that 4% of browse will but a computer on Saturday at noon, compared to 21% of browse on the same day at 5 o’clock. Why We Buy is a summary of some of the important findings coming out of that research. This book is divided into three parts. The first part considers the mechanics of shopping, how peole physically react to the layout of space, other people in the store, etc. the second part deals with the demographics of purchasing, the different behavior of men, women, seniors and kids. The third section of the book tackles the dynamics of shopping. In other words how shoppers respond psychologically to the placement of merchandise, packing and other features of the merchandise itself. The book is for anyone who has ever shopped for anything or tried to sell something. The book covers retail products not services.

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Book Review

In this book author emphasis on the science of shopping. Paco say that whenever shoppers go out shopping and interacting with retail environments, there is some science in all that. There are many different ways of observing shoppers behavior, manners of common shoppers while shopping, how they buy, what they buy, and why they buy and for this they have used a very different technique to know all this. They have trained there employees/workers to track shoppers and note the important information about them. These people are known as trackers, essentially trackers stealthily make their way through stores following shopper and noting what exactly they are doing. There are different ways or techniques used to observe people and one of them is cameras. They are being used in many organizations such as shops, stores, restaurants, banks, etc. and through them, they can get every thing they want to know about the consumers and retailing process, which includes a lots of aspects.

The time taken by a customer in buying a product is very precious. Full advantage must be taken from it, and a retailer should be very well aware about its stores and its customers. Everything in a store should be perfect from the layout to the design and lighting to the display. To have a perfect store and to gain with it perfect market, every aspect should be studied closely and carefully. If the customer is satisfied then it is the key to success as satisfaction of the customer is the key. Give the customers comfort and opportunity to get everything from one place he/she will shop more. For this a retailer should and need to think like a shopper what they exactly need and how they feel. Planning merchandise can be a great help to retailers. Through it they can get the appropriate information, and then feed that information in to a computer and they can have the result and that outcome result can be in ratio, percentages etc. through these conclusions or results retailers can take decisions, can give and make advices, can create new ways to satisfy there customers, can know how to improve future plans and programs and most important how they can revise there sales. With the help of this information retailer stores organize the correct locations of their products so that it guarantees satisfaction of every customer, whether old or young. The correct position of a product and in the right category results in rising of sales.

Retailers should know that a good company would change few specific things and can become even more better. The store, or any other department, must meet the demands of the customer. Better the way of interaction or conversation with a customer, then the store will have better reputation, and in result the better business and better input. This all is about the time that a shopper spend in a shop, the time he/she take to interact or ask an employee for help or how long he/she will take to choose a product. All the things should be explained briefly in easy way as told above, and the results due to this not only sales will rise, but also the customer will want to buy something more and made to come back and will let others know they well they have been greeted or taken. It is the duty of a retailer that he should have full knowledge about its stores, its customers and their likes and dislikes. If he will not fulfill or take care of what a customer want, and if his/her needs are not satisfied he/she will not come back and that will not a thing for the retailer or for the reputation of his store.

There are different people with different need but some needs are common to people and the environment in a store should be tailored according to the characteristics of what a customer need. The best way to do this is to consider you in the place of a person who wants to shop. You must take care what he wants to see, what he wants to find and buy. Each and every aspect counts. The lightning of the store, the visibility, the layout, the staff, the signs, the display, the space, the stock, everything. So he must be careful from the start. For example, the entrance of the store. It should meet the basic requirements of the customer, for e.g. baskets, trolleys should be kept on the entrance so that customer can find it on the spot and he/she doesn’t have to find it and some staff should be there to help. Merchandise, products should be displayed wisely and effectively. Cashiers and counters should be located such that there does not seem a crowd at the entrance.

Once the customers get into the store, they first try to adjust themselves according to the surroundings of the store, adjusting their eyes to the change in the light and scale and craning their necks to begin taking in all there is to see. They take a few minutes in doing so. Watching them long enough will enable to predict exactly where most shoppers slow down and make the transition from being outside to being inside.

Depending on the layout of the store most people stop on the same place. Sometimes the retailers do not realize the importance of the transition zone. This zone should be between the outside and the inside of the store. Greeting the customers on this zone can create a good impression for e.g. say hello, remind them where they are by saying can I help you, start the seduction. Offering a basket or a map or a coupon can be helpful for the customers. The retailers should keep this zone as small as possible and they can keep from trying to accomplish anything important there. Baskets should be scattered all over the store so that if customer needs it in the middle of the store he/she can get it and should be visible enough for the customer to see it because many customers don’t like to bend especially women. Special lighting on the doorway also clearly marks the divider between out there and in here. Paco research results in an interesting fact that the amount of money spent in a store is positively correlated with the amount of time spent. So the retailers should try to work on this. The more the shopper will remain in the shop, the more he/she will buy. Another important finding of Paco’s research is that in most retail settings, the longer a shopper holds something, the greater the chance that he/she will buy it, but in case of books it’s not true.

Many times shopping is done when usually people are in hurry. They have their own bags or boxes or children which they might not want to put down and shop. In that case, if u see that the shoppers already overloading and he is also realizing that, then some help should be given to him for example if the customer is holding a coat then a trolley should be offered to him so that he can put his coat on and make himself easy. This can be done by either giving him an easy hand or asking him weather he needs help. Things should be made convenient easy for him, so that he can shop in comfort and for long. Sales staff should be trained according to the situation because the more relax the customer will feel, the more their heart will desire to shop and stay in the store longer.

Another factor for maximum exposure or to guide customers is through signs. Signs should be placed in such a way that a customer can read it, understand it. They should be clear, distinct and to the point and it signs should not be more then one or two word. An effective sign is a successful one which tells exactly what the person is looking for. It is very important to get the audience attention. Sometimes the signs remained unnoticed because they are placed in locations where they can never be noticed

The stores should be designed in such a way that every corner be visited. The way the merchandise is showed and displayed should be given consideration by the shoppers. The flow should be flawless. There should be no obstacles or blind sports. A store should be invitingly designed so that people can move the way they want. The things they need the most should be placed right ahead of them. Once, sight lines are taken in to consideration, retailers must take care not to place merchandise so it cut them off. They must ensure that shoppers will be able to see what is all around. Some facts of shopper’s movement can not be turned in to universal principles, but they certainly have had their impact in specific environments. Stores should have capacity or some sort of entertainment for the ones who come with shoppers but are not shoppers. Aisles should be placed such that they do not collide with unwanted gestures.

Meaning of shopping is different for different people at different times. Men and women are always different in all aspects. They shop differently, women are more possessive about shopping they take more time in choosing a product, examine it and then they purchase it. They are more into shopping so they are more patient and easy going when talking about the shopping. But on the other hand men are totally different they are impatient they don’t take that much interest in shopping as women they are like loose cannons. They don’t like to waste time in shopping as women they don’t spend very much money they make a quick go. When shopping together they always create fuss due to there different views about shopping. So it is better to give some alternatives to both for e.g. when wives are shopping husbands should be given some other activities so that they both don’t make fuss and both can have good time and the result of it will be that the store will have a good sale. Men are only involved in shopping when it is of their interest otherwise it’s a very hard time for them. Women take shopping as a social activity so they usually go in those stores which offer things in a more feminine or can say in more neat and easy display. Women demand more of shopping environments rather than men do, that is why the greater number of shoppers is women. So they should be given more care, women like not to be disturbed while shopping, so departments like cosmetics, house hold items etc should be located precisely. If they will not feel comfortable while shopping they will not buy. Aisles should be wide enough so that customer can walk here and there easily and more then one person can walk in that aisle.

Different people with different thinking and views. They’re many people who make their purchase after reading the label on their chosen product. Therefore their contents should be clearly written, in readable size and normal contrast. Old people, generally, require bigger and easy to read print. If this becomes a problem, sales will drop. Stores should provide them consideration and they should have there people trained to help those people who are old and can’t read properly. Therefore, signs and pictures should be clear and vivid. In restaurants the Menu and the deal offering broachers should be designed by keeping this fact in mind that old people can not see well. Every thing should be enhanced and very nicely illuminated. Those things widely chosen by the elderly should have an easy spot for them to locate. Products most designed should neither be too high nor is low, for stretching and bending the least like action. They should be given manual help in sorting out and understanding electronic stuff, like computers, etc. people who are a bit older should be given special care. Their likes and dislikes are similar. A store should comprehend in an acute way.

Kids are also a major part of shoppers. They are almost everywhere. And they demand almost everything as well. Kids consume more mass media than adults do, therefore, are most exposed to consumer goods. Stores should be aware of the fact that their products and styles of display are for parents and children alike. The stores should be wide enough for baby strollers and no blocking should take place so that mothers have no problem while carrying a child or a stroller with a child. Things for children should be placed where they can see and reach it easily. Some kids don’t like to take part in shopping for these kids there should be some play are or some place where they can eat or watch cartoon or do something of there choice so that they don’t disturb there parents while shopping. Small libraries can be created so that they can read books. Books of their taste should be in their reach so that they can get a better look at them. But things should also be protected from them.

Customers should be given a chance to freely experience the material world firsthand. Merchandising is more powerful than marketing. The shopping people should be given a chance to explore and find things of their choice on their own. This might also keep them interested. Environment should be created to attract lots of friends, groups, couples to shop. People prefer those stores which gives them more opportunity to shop for that they can even pay more for a product so that why customers should be offered care and help. People go for those stores who offer them privilege. Bargains should be given a notice. Much better deal should be offered. On the other hand, shoppers hate too many mirrors, lines on the counter and asking dumb questions about products. Goods should never be out of stock and service must not be intimidated.

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According to Paco’s research, if shoppers are encouraged to use baskets, sales rise. So putting the baskets in a proper place is of vital importance. Underhill noticed that placing the baskets in a discreet stack just inside the doorway is a very bad idea, because here they remained invisible. They should be moved to further inside, positioned higher like five feet and placed throughout the store. Try to arrange a desk near the exit, where the customers could unload all encumbrances as they enter into the store. Whenever people go for shopping they are usually in groups or bring one or two people with them for

E.g. people come with there kid, friends, spouses etc but in reality only one have to shop. The others need to have a comfortable sitting arrangement otherwise they keep on disturbing those people who are shopping. Seating is what keeps the non shopping party comfortable. While women shop, men wait. And vice versa for women. Retailers should have proper sitting for people who don’t come for shopping. They should also emphasize on the importance of maintaining pleasant conditions for the customers.

There are many problems for retailers and one of those is that most of the times customers want to test the product before buying it. the reason behind checking the product is that they wanted to satisfy there selves and especially women. They want to touch, feel, and taste. smell the product, they wanted to explore it. There are some products that get useless after being touch but they can’t be bought without checking for e.g. cosmetics so retailers can solve this problem by simply packaging small samples of such products. There are many plans and systems that provide testers to shoppers, but none of them has been flawlessly successful that it has become the industry standard. A certain level of confidence in a product and its value comes only from hard evidence. Once a thing is in your hand, it will change ownership from the seller to the buyer. Therefore, the main function of the store is to faster shopper-merchandise contact. Stores that strive to make every thing accessible to browsers will lose a little to shopper abuse but gain more in sales. The displays can be remade to allow shoppers to touch and try the merchandise. But if product packaging does not change as well, a great many opportunities will be lost. Tamper proof packaging thwarts every respectful attempt to experience the product. The shopper’s normal instinct is to buy what is cheaper. If given a choice of three brands, or three models, and also given a chance to pit one against the others, the shopper will at least have a sensible reason for choosing the better item.

A store has three distinct aspects design, merchandising, and operations. These three aspects are completely interrelated, meaning that when some body makes a decision regarding one, decision has been made about the other two as well. The people who design packaging do not spend enough time in stores, visiting their creations and are unaware of things going around area there. When ever a decision is made, it should be examined closely for its farthest reaching implications. Retailers try to maintain service while cutting labor, which is usually impossible to do. The burden falls on design and merchandising, which are sometimes up to the job but not always. But it is also possible to use design and merchandising to save operations some work.

In all organizations whether a Bank or a simple all have different situations sometimes they have good times and sometime bad. Whenever a customer has to wait for something in a store it is bad time for that store and if that wait is way too long, customer thinks and feel as the service was poor. But ever bad times can be made into good times. Time a shopper spends waiting after an employee has initiated contact goes faster than time spent waiting before that interaction takes place. If customers see that they are being helped in the exact order they arrived, they relax, and the time spent waiting seems shorter. The wait seems shorter if you have got some one to talk to and discuss about. In order to divert a shopper’s attention and to help him pass his time swiftly, a store should provide entertainment like TVs, tabloids, magazines or free food samples.

The cash area of a store should be simple and not be exploited by retailers by stoking high profit, high impulse merchandise there. Retailers should place small merchandise and they won’t be distractions, whereas high merchandise will create distractions to take shoppers mind off the fact that they are waiting in line for the privilege of handing over money. The ideal most places for a cash counter in the store are the up front, near the door. But its effect on the rest of the store should also be considered. Retailers should be aware of the fact that an efficient cashier system affects the overall shopping experience.

In the world of merchandising, there are two aspects, one aspect is the effort to position products off the shelves, away from where they are forced to complete on equal footing with their competitors. The other aspect is the subtler art and science of adjacencies placing one item next to another to create some spark and sell more of both.

Now days shopping can be done through different ways and one of those ways is Internet and it is getting famous day by day. Web based retailing has become quite common. The shopper still want selection convenience and price, where as the shopper still wants sales, profits and a cost effective way to reach new customers. Cyber shopping provides limitless selection, convenience, speed and lots of information. It saves you from lots of troubles of shopping in stores. But the sites should be designed specifically by keeping this fact in mind that the shoppers seek convenience and accuracy while shopping. The type of writing should be readable and large enough to be clear. The pictures, the images and the directions should be vividly described. The site should be free of fault, or the customer is least liked to come back. The major advantage to the shoppers is that they can shop at home, in the office or anywhere else where there is an electronic outlet and a phone jack. They can shop at any time and at any day. They don’t have to look for parking. Customers can enter a website whenever they want and move through it as they want. They can have online and limitless amount of product information and other reading material can be summarized and then saved. So keeping in view all these benefits to cyber shopping a retailer should create retail store on internet.

At some level, all stores are alike, no matter what they sell or what kind of business they do. Retailers can learn from one another even when their particular categories are vastly different. Superstores, bookshops, video stores, banks, restaurants, etc. may have some similar aspects, so they should learn from each others, experience so as to increase their retailing or make it better and effective. Retailers sell their products the way producers make them, instead of how buyers buy. Considering this factor can also be a way for independents to survive and even prosper in the world. The lowly convenience store has quite a lot it can teach other retailers. Convenience stores make themselves very available and very convenient. If customers are given prestige, care and comfort, they are willing to pay more for all the convenience and ease they get. Other stores should follow suite. Supermarkets have responded to the working women’s burden by going in to replacement business. Since most shoppers are women, such a step in great for retailing of other linked purposes as well. Food, drugs, clothing, cosmetics etc. all under one roof have a very unique meaning. Appealing to the man and women, the young and old, the sick and healthy, a mission can be expanded.

” The science of shopping is a part of physical science, part social science and only part science at all, for it is also partly an art. But it is always a practical field, concerned with providing information that can improve the retailer’s edge and cut the odds of making a wrong decision. The truth is the science of shopping is transitory. The basic facts of human anatomy remain, more or less, but the store itself and the tastes and behaviors of the shopper continue to evolve. The world of retail is about following shoppers where they are going. Every body is competing with everybody else. Competition does not only come from others in the same category. Retailers compete with every other demand on consumer time and money. The most intelligent management decree today is to push more responsibility and authority down to the store manager level. In retailing, it’s the environment that must adapt to the organism.”


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