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Making Shopping More Fun Is Key to Retailing Success

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Like death and taxes, shopping is inevitable. But some people like to shop more than others. And it is no surprise that people who like to shop also shop more often and spend more money, according to new research by Unity Marketing among recreational shoppers. “The key for success in retailing today is to understand what makes shopping fun and then make sure the entire shopping experience is designed to maximize the shoppers’ pleasure,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Why People Buy Things They Don’t Need and Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses — as well as the Classes. Retailers at this time of year when everybody has to shop have a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to reluctant shoppers that their store is fun by delivering key values the research shows are most important to recreational shoppers: -Superior quality products and a wide selection of merchandise; -Pleasant shopping environment, including a clean store with well organized displays, wide aisles, good lighting, pleasant music, good signage; -Good return policy; and -Unique selection of merchandise. “Recreational shoppers are not so much motivated by sales and discounts as by value, both in product pricing and presentation.” Danziger says. “Retailers therefore need to add value to the overall shopping experience. A better shopping experience, not just cheaper prices, is the answer.” Recreational shoppers shop more often and spend more In this survey among 1,250 upper income consumers who shop — 65 percent female/35 percent male; aged 25-64 years (avg. 43.6 years); and household incomes $50,000 or more (avg. $ 111.8k) — approximately 70 percent are classified as ‘recreational shoppers.’ These people agree with the statement, “I enjoy shopping and thing of it as a form of entertainment.” Recreational shoppers average 14.5 shopping trips per month (9.6 for necessities and 4.9 for fun) as compared with 9.4 shopping trips for the ordinary shopper (7.2 for necessities and 2.2 for recreation). Recreational shoppers spend 60 percent more per month when shopping for fun: $408 as compared with $241 for ordinary shoppers. Differences in income is not a factor behind recreational shoppers’ higher levels of spending, as their average income ($113k) is only 4 percent higher than the ordinary shoppers ($108.7k). The key distinction is how much or how little they enjoy the process of shopping. “If you want to get people to spend more money in your store, the secret is make shopping more fun. Take out the hassles and put in more pleasure. Retailers tend to spend lots of effort focused on merchandising, which is important, but they also need to invest in making the store environment and shopping experience better for the consumer. “Recreational shoppers are not drawn to the store because they need new stuff, rather they go shopping as a form of entertainment. So retailers that want to succeed need to emphasize all the things that make shopping more fun. How to do that is explained in the Pop! Equation,” Danziger says. The Pop! Equation: Maximizing the Shopping Experience The Pop! Equation is what turns an ordinary store into a fun place to shop. In other words, a shop that pops! The Pop! Equation defines the features of stores that are ahead of the pack in enhancing the shoppers’ experience. The distinctive features they have, called the Pop! Equation, include: -High levels of customer involvement and interaction: Shoppers don’t just browse the aisles. Shops that pop encourage customers to touch, feel, taste, try on and participate in the store in more involving ways, like Charlotteville’s Feast! gourmet food store and Atchison, Kansas’ Nell Hill’s gift and home store. -Evokes shopper curiosity: Shops that pop excite consumer curiosity to explore and experience, from the shop windows and entrance through the different displays. Altanta’s Boxwoods Gardens and Gifts lures shoppers through a maze of wonderful displays that promise a new treasure around every corner. -Have a contagious, electric quality: A shop that pops exudes energy and excitement. They are so kinetic that even shoppers not all that into the category feel there is something in the store for them, like Apple Stores. -Convergence between atmosphere, store design, merchandise: A shop that pops presents a comprehensive vision that captures all the tangible and intangible elements. Colonial Williamsburg Gift Shops and Stores are true to their colonial 18th century roots throughout. Best Buy’s Magnolia Audio Video stores do the same thing in a 21st century way. -Values-driven concept: A shop that pops is more than just a store selling stuff. It is conceptually driven and reflects a visionary’s values. It transcends being just a store into a new realm of experience, like Rapid City’s Prairie Edge where shoppers can touch, feel and participate in Native American culture through art, crafts, fashion, jewelry, books and home furnishings. -Accessible, non-exclusive and free from pretensions: Shops that pop have all the preceding qualities, plus another essential feature — they are immediately accessible to everyone, free from pretensions of exclusivity or snobbishness. Target stores are a favorite among recreational shoppers as they offer luxury to the masses. The new lifestyle shopping centers, like Columbus, Ohio’s Easton Town Center, get rave reviews from shoppers because they are so much more accessible than the old-fashioned enclosed mall. In addition Danziger’s latest book, Shops That Pop! The Future of Shopping, (to be published by Dearborn Trade Publishing fall 2006) will address the new experiential shopping paradigm. About Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing Pamela N. Danziger is a nationally recognized expert in consumer insights for luxury marketers, whether they sell luxuries to the masses or the ‘classes.’ She is president of Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992 to unite marketers with their target markets through consumer insights. She taps consumer psychology to advise clients such as Lenox, Cartier, Herend, Prudential Fine Homes, Stearns & Foster, Baccarat, The World Gold Council, The Conference Board and American Express. Unity Marketing publishes consumer insight studies on the luxury market, jewelry, garden, pet accessories, home furnishings, gifts and collectibles, greeting card and stationery, tabletop, art and wall décor markets, as well as the Luxury Business newsletter. For more information contact pam@unitymarketingonline.com.