Videotaping people shopping

April 14, 2006

via Seth’s Blog: The butt brush:

The butt brush Paco Underhill, who is the world’s greatest expert on shopping, made millions for Macy’s and other stores by videotaping how people shop. Reviewing the tapes, he discovered, for example, that women will stop shopping for ties if the racks are too close to the aisle and people bump into them. Moving the racks made sales skyrocket.

Couldn’t find a way to leave a comment on Seth’s Blog, so I am putting it here.

Video surveillance system should be in shops for security and shoplifting control sake, I thought. Is it ok to use taped videos to analyze users’ behaviors? 🙄
Better sales should come from better service, which implies customer satisfaction. An improved layout of the tie corner – no people bumping into each other and the racks – improved the user shopping experience and then sales. Maybe it worked nicely in this way.
Though it may not work in shopping-crazy crowded Tokyo…

If the rationale for peeking at people is to render a better service to them, then I see the point and, yes, Mr Underhill is a great expert on shopping experience.

But, what other ‘experiments’ are based on observation of shoppers’ behaviors?

This morning I was reading “The new paternalism”, a Special Report (and premium content) on The Economist of this week. It says:

Because of ignorance or intemperance, lack of willpower of brainpower, people choose badly. Predictably so. The subdiscipline [of behavioral economics] now has a well stocked cabinet of horrors and curiosities, showing how people fail to exercise their choices in their own best interest.

A better customer experience cannot be measured solely in terms of sales.

What do you think?


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