Making Buying Decisions

12 Dec

Honey, Are You In The Mood?

I hate to shop. I do it when I have to, er, I mean, when my wife asks me to. I’m rarely in the mood to make buying decisions.

Luckily, for retailers, I am an anomaly. For most people (and all women), buying stuff is a source of comfort and enjoyment.

In Hawaii, where our economy is based on tourism, shopping is one of the top three most popular activities.

People like to shop so much, they have even created a holiday for it. Ho, Ho, Ho.

That’s the good news. The bad news is retailers have suffered.  On-line stores and the sluggish economy have taken a toll on their businesses since 2008.

So what’s a brick and mortar store to do to get more people in the mood? Unfortunately, they haven’t invented a pill for that yet.

Engage and entertain. It’s all about the experience.

Costco has cracked the code!

I love going to Costco.  I love the giant shopping carts and the fact I am not in a store but a warehouse. (Guys like warehouses).

I love the feeling I get when I think I just got a good deal (even if I have to buy enough toilet paper to last twelve months).  I love the hot dogs.  My Gosh, where can you get a hot dog and coke for $1.50?

But, it isn’t just the good values that make it fun to shop at Costco.  I am engaged and entertained.

Have you noticed how they change their inventory regularly?

There are lots of things you might find during one visit, but not the next. That creates a sense of urgency but also a sense of adventure.  “Look honey what I discovered on aisle 12; a set of six flashlights! Can we use that? No?  Oh heck, let’s get it anyway.”

At Costco, I go down every aisle looking for stuff I don’t need.

It is fun to look because they have engaged me. I go down those warehouse type rows, with merchandise packed on pallets, high over head, hoping to discover something new.

Wow, look at the outdoor furniture. What a deal!  I didn’t come here for outdoor furniture, but it wasn’t there two weeks ago and if I don’t get it now, I may never get a chance to get it again.

Hungry?  Every other food aisle on the week-ends has free taste tasting.  That’s entertaining, isn’t it?

The best bar in town serves relief.

We all have computers and most of us have smart phones, but I bet you still can’t keep out of an Apple Store.

It really isn’t a store is it?  It just seems like a place full of interactive, cool stuff. You can touch and play with every single item in the store.  I’m surprised they don’t have signs all round saying “PLEASE TOUCH EVERYTHING”.

The Apple Store is engaging.

At the back of the Apple Store, they have a section which generates so much traffic it creates a buzz.

No, it is not the customer service department.  That doesn’t sound engaging or entertaining.  They have a Genius Bar!

They actually make you feel good going there.  After all, you couldn’t be that dumb if you are at the Genius Bar. And while you are waiting your turn to talk to a genius, they have excellent computer tips that appear on the video monitors above the bar.  That’s entertaining.

In addition, they have enormous backlit slice of life photo displays on both sides of the store that make you feel good because you can see yourself as one of those happy people, making a colossal digital family photo album…even though you don’t have a family or at least one that looks that good.

What stores get you in the mood?

Buying decisions are emotive—not rational.  If it were rational, everyone would use the analytical side of their brain instead of their emotional side.  No one would buy Rolex watches because Timex or Casio keeps better time and is a lot cheaper.

Does the right lighting and music get you in the mood?  Check out the tunes at the store your teenage daughter likes to shop in. I promise the lighting and music is different from Neiman Marcus.

Are you more of a visual person? How about a mannequin display using real people?  Would that entertain you?

Would you be engaged if you were able to see an over sized digital picture of yourself wearing and comparing the different clothes you tried on in the dressing room?

As JW Wilson, the Executive Director of the Advanced Learning Institute and an expert in the Neurogenetics of marketing notes “You can’t get anyone to buy anything unless you touch them emotionally.  When people’s emotions are stimulated in the right way, neurobiological changes occur within them which can lead directly to the buying decision.”

Stimulate your customer’s emotions and see how your relationship with them and your business change! Get them in the mood.  It will be fun…and profitable for you.




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3 Responses to “Making Buying Decisions”

  1. Iskandar Rabeendran December 12, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    I am now in the mood to read your next column 🙂

    • alan December 13, 2011 at 9:18 am #

      Is that because you think the columns are objective or subjective. Subjective thinking is emotive, too!:)

  2. Scott Mackenzie December 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    So True, When I’m in Hawaii I also enjoy Apple stores; whether I’m there to buy, hang or learn, I always have fun. I’m in NYC this week and stores that are quite engaging include: Desigual-red carpet treatment with free red bull, 82 Mercers Pop-Up Store-funnest store experience I’ve ever had, The converse store-make your own shoes on store suppled iPads and the Bryant Park kiosks, Ice Rink, Restaurant and waffle shops.

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