A Human Approach

Jae Rang Headshot

Sell on Purpose

Did you ever forget where you parked your car at the shopping mall?  You went outside to where you were absolutely certain you left your car, and, lo and behold, it wasn’t there.  While car thefts in parking lots absolutely exist, more often than not we just get 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 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, in order to trade for it something we held in abundance.  Trading at its simplest level required only that two individuals with complementary requirements and surpluses met.  Simple.

Now, although the requirements for life before electric light, running water, and cell phones were substantially less than our needs or wants of today’s lifestyle, the concept of trading still requires seeking out multiple individuals with whom to trade. Initially, the meetings were likely by happenstance, but this later led to the concept of regional trading posts where individuals could conduct more than one exchange.  Location, spatial requirements, and a cognitive task of mapping or addressing – elements of clever design in today’s retail environments (as well as websites) – were likely given consideration, but perhaps only subconsciously, driven by simply wanting to sell more stuff.

Is “scripted disorientation” fair play?  Do we need our customers to be off-balance in order to notice us?

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 invest in understanding your customers’ needs and expectations, taking them on a journey to experience enhanced benefits makes sense as long as it adds value.

No one will ever know your range of products and services as well as you, so being creative in helping your customers explore something new to expand their success is smart.  Besides, with you as their guide, they’re sure to win.

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

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