Thoughtful salespersons trump convenience and good deals, even in the case of young shoppers.

Over the past few months we have been gazing at the attitudes and dispositions of people aged 14-34 as consumers under this project christened ‘Cool Hunt’. They have not ceased springing one surprise after the other on us.

In one of our earlier cool-hunting missions we had gone mapping for shopping experiences. The endeavour was to get to know of expectations and behaviour of the cool folk and we discovered that shopping for this gang is not purely functional. For them shopping is a voyage or an expedition. If one was to garnish this finding with yet another study of ours that indicated that almost half of the cool folk get hooked to brands for non-functional attributes, it gives the marketer some direction on what needs to be offered as a shopping experience in the future. Now, these non-functional attributes were: My kind of a brand; It is so cool, and such. Imagine all of these manifesting themselves in the shopping arena? That, we felt would make for an interesting probe. Therefore, this time around we dug into what gets these folks to prefer one outlet over another.

We, as a practice, seek unaided responses and tabulate the findings post mapping and then construct our universe that encompasses the top four categories that emerge in our tabulation. To get to the four top categories this time we had to drop one and that was ‘store image’. (Our qualitative research led us to believe that the store’s image was good enough to get the footfalls just once and the repeat footfalls were a function of the experience the first time over where the four attributes arrived at played a role.)

Surprisingly, display/ambience/environment emerged as the single-biggest driver of footfalls. Forty per cent of the respondents felt that they not only get sucked into an outlet but also land up buying in outlets which offer a better environment or good ambience or smarter display. And our surprises didn’t just end here. Our cool folk credited caring shop personnel over convenience of shopping and even over deals /offers as the reason for their frequenting outlets or shopping there.

One is reminded of Martin Lindstrom who has been claiming for almost a decade now that it is the sub-conscious mind that comes into play when folks shop. He even used neuro-marketing techniques involving scanning shoppers’ brain to state that the sub-conscious mind arms itself with religious beliefs, childhood memories, sex, rituals and superstitions to fight and prevail over the conscious or rational brain when it comes to making choices as a buyer. Our small effort perhaps seconds that.

So spruce up the outlet, brighten up your display area and get the ambience right to get your cash-registers ticking! Happy cool-hunting!

(Giraj Sharma is an independent brand consultant and a compulsive cool-hunter.)

(This article was published on August 2, 2012)
XThese are links to The Hindu Business Line suggested by Outbrain, which may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here.