Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Science of Shopping

I learned a new term yesterday: mission shopping. This has nothing to do with seeking out the right place to proselytize, but with how we go about buying things.

Men, it seems, are mission shoppers. We don't like to shop. In general, when we need to shop, we go to a particular store with the idea of buying a particular thing. We go there, we buy it, we go home and have a beer.

Women, on the other hand, tend to be browsers ... they go from store to store, spending more time and ... most important to retailers ... money in each one. Retailers, thus, have tended to structure their stores to be attractive to female shoppers.

But women, to the horror of retailers, are becoming more like men in their shopping habits. The intersection of a miserable economy and the convenience of online shopping for selection, price comparison and the lack of sales taxes has turned women - who once could wander a mall all day and spend hours in a single store - into mission shoppers who either buy online or find what they want online, then go to a brick-and-mortar store to buy it.

This has led many traditional retail stores to experiment with all sorts of tactics to draw customers back through their doors to browse and make the sort of impulse purchases they used to make. This interesting article discusses the changes taking place in the science and psychology of parting you from your money: Best Buy Sales at Risk as Surgical Shoppers Lose Impulse. You might also be interested in this related article from the E-Commerce News: The Six Basic Types of E-Shoppers.

Have a good day. Buy something ... the economy will thank you. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

Mission shopping versus browsing. That concisely accounts for why men and women don't shop together well, and why some malls have husband parks.

I have a male friend who likes to shop, as long as we include electronics stores in the mix.

Bilbo said...

Angelique - I love grocery, book, and electronics shopping. Clothes (for men OR women), not so much...I have spent far too many hours sitting in husbands' chairs in clothes stores, having to read three-year old issues of Elle, Vogue, and similar magazines while I wait for the moments of "How does this look?" - a question to which (as any man will tell you) there is no right answer.

Mike said...

I can browse in a hardware store or a book store.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I only like shopping for books/music anymore