A Human Approach

Jae Rang Headshot

A Whole New Meaning to ‘Shop ‘til you drop’

Aha! Moment Monday

Did you ever forget where you parked your car at the shopping mall?  You went outside where you were absolutely certain you left your car then, lo and behold, it wasn’t there.  While car thefts in parking lots absolutely exist, more often than not we just got a little disoriented.

Credit to malls, they make a concerted effort to label lots with letters, numbers and characters to help you recall the general area, but inside the mall can be a different story.

Malls and shopping places are notorious for “scripted disorientation”; the art of making you feel a little lost – then cleverly sidetracking you with samples and events – so that you’ll lose yourself in the experience and spend more time and money there.

Let’s backtrack a little…well, a lot … to remember that ‘trading’ (the earlier form of “shopping”) dates back to our roots when we searched for someone with a surplus of something we needed, being willing to trade for it something we held in abundance.  Trading at its simplest level required only that two individuals with complementary requirements and surpluses meet.  Simple.

Now, although the requirements for life before electric light, running water and cell phones were substantially less than our needs (and wants!) of today’s lifestyle, the concept of trading still required seeking out multiple individuals with whom to trade.   Initially the meetings were likely by happenstance which inspired the process to evolve to regional trading posts whereby individuals could conduct more than one exchange.  Location, spatial requirements and a cognitive task of mapping or addressing –  elements in today’s store design – were likely given consideration perhaps subconsciously.  After all, it’s natural for us to want to sell more of our stuff, right?

Has “scripted disorientation” always been a tactic?
Is rerouting or distracting the customer unfair?

Aha! ~ ”There is no such thing as ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell’, there is only ‘smart sell’ and ‘stupid sell’.  ~ Leo Burnett, Ad Executive

When you know your customers’ needs and their expectations really well, taking them on a journey to experience enhanced benefits makes sense.

No one will ever know your range of products and services as well as you do.  Being creative in helping your customers explore something new, that potentially expands on their success, is only smart.

I can’t help but wonder, though, about the potential of disorientation in the fur-trading days. “Well, I came for the fishing rod but that wolf pellet over there is to die for!!!!”

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