Insight into what your customer is shopping for, buying, and not buying is like an ace up your sleeve.
Problem is, shoppers rarely tell you what they really buy and don’t buy when you ask them in focus groups and interviews. In fact, research has shown that they often tell you what they think YOU want to hear and actually do the opposite when they are actually shopping.
But I learned a clever way to get the real story not long ago…while talking to one of your college store colleagues.
It’s a simple, Saturday afternoon exercise:
1. Request/Sign for $40-60 from petty cash.
2. Go to the local mall or shopping center—preferably one with at least a few of the hot retail brands for our primary customer segment (e.g., Hot Topic, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Old Navy, and/or American Eagle).
3. Identify a student-ish shopper that has shopping bags (has completed purchases).
4. Offer them $20 to review what they purchased, from where, and why. (A short, polished intro of who you are might lessen the shock-factor in their reaction.) :-)
5. Repeat 1-2 times.
Go get ‘em!
--The Retail Muse