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A Consumer’s Fresh Eye on the World of Retail Execution: Shopping psychology


written by Richard Burton, global director of customer success at Exceedra by telus

Retail therapy – it’s a pastime that has always driven levels of satisfaction right from the early 19th century as the wealth and stability of society started to improve. Up until even 20 years ago, the mechanism to drive buying behaviors were focused primarily on the main forms of media consumption at the time – advertising through print media, TV, billboard, and radio.


And then came the internet.


Slowly but surely, through browsers on computers, then mobile devices, and now through social media platforms, our buying habits, our wants (through search engines) and our needs are all being collected to be shared with companies who wish to be the ones that fulfil that demand.

The Psychology of Selling

Buying behavior of shoppers varies according to the value of that product for the consumer. A car is typically the second most expensive item of purchase we make in our lives after property, and so a great deal of thought and analysis goes into getting it right (hopefully!) – compared to an impulse buy of a chocolate bar at the end of a long walk around the supermarket aisles. The larger the cost of the item, the more likely we want to make an informed decision before purchase. In fact, the review process has become a huge area of development – supported by digitalization of opinions.


This has meant that a high degree of influence must be exerted wherever possible to drive the shopper to the right end point of purchase.

It's the execution of the planned merchandising approach that either successfully influences the behavior of the buyer.

How do we learn?

The volume of data that is now being stored to help analyse and interpret response to targeted activity is enormous – the insights from which both the retailer and manufacturer learn what promotional activity or merchandising is working. The stage is no longer constrained to monitoring store sales activities based on promotions, but through omni-channel purchasing, especially online. We are moving to a point where we can actively link the behavioral response we have created through a specific activity, be it targeted adverts on a webpage, emails linked to a product or simply a cross-sell of other items at point of checkout (online and in-store).

Good Merchandising = Big Data, Big Analytics and Better Sales

The traditions of purchasing behavior in stores is well known – however it is the execution of the planned merchandising approach that either successfully influences the behavior of the buyer, or not! As a shopper we are probably unaware of the level of detail and thought that goes into where products are placed in a store, which aisle, which shelf, how many of them, and many more variables, if set correctly, will turn into a successful sale.


Many of these variables are condensed into the ‘Perfect Store’ metrics that Retail Execution solutions help to monitor and evaluate, they are fundamental to ensuring the objectives set through a merchandising plan are delivered correctly.


Next time you are walking through the shopping aisles in a supermarket, you may pause a little longer as you approach the checkout – that packet of gum, energy drink or chocolate bar is calling out to you – and now you know why!

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