True Mass Market Shopping

Over the last couple of months I’ve been thinking a lot about the experience of shopping.  Shopping Online (Amazon) Shopping in the App Store (iTunes) Shopping at Mass Market (Target) Shopping at Specialty (Barnes & Noble, Williams Sonoma) Shopping in the Suburbs (Salisbury, Maryland), Shopping in the City  ( San Francisco, New York,  Hong Kong).  How people shop. Where they shop. What  makes them shop. When they shop. What converts shopping to buying.  I got to see the art of shopping (and the art of marketing) up close this week in Hong Kong.

A couple of observations.

The lower the price, the more merchandise in the store. The 7-11 store is stocked floor to ceiling with everything from Bananas to Cigarettes with opened boxes of product stacked up and

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down the aisles so tightly you can barely pass through.  The Louis Vuitton store, in contrast, has one of every item, beautifully displayed like priceless merchandise.

A mass market brand like H&M next door to Gucci or Armani gets the halo effect.  I saw 20-somethings shopping in H&M carrying bags from the big  luxury brands  and grabbing handfuls of t-shirts and dresses. Great for H&M.

Unique displays wake up the consumer. The luxury retailer Lane Crawford (similar to Neiman Marcus) reinvented the shoe department. Instead of rows of shoes on displays within a department, they displayed shoes throughout the store tied to specific themes – Ferragamo pink kid skin slippers in the lingerie section. This totally unexpected merchandising undoubtedly works as a great cross sell.

Trained sales people and a lot of them. I visited an Apple Authorized Reseller in search of an adapter. In the 500 sq. foot store there were 6 sales people and I was greeted within 10 seconds and checked out within 5 minutes (after being upsold from a simple adapter to the “official Apple universal travel kit for $400 HK”

Demonstrators.  The  cosmetic companies have invested in pop-up make-up studios throughout the malls.  Dior, Chanel, NARS, and Benefit all had standalone displays fully staffed by beautiful, professional make-up artists soliciting consumers as they walk through the malls.  These are so popular that girls and women wait in line for hours  for their turn – giving the impression that the product is something special and rare.

Outdoor Kiosks. Various manufacturers have set up throughout Hong Kong.  The mobile/wireless companies are leading the charge here. Consumers can touch every phone and price is announced on big posters carried by salesmen on the streets. The merchandising isn’t that much different than the open air markets and really grabs the passersby.

All-in-all, great opportunity to experience a shopping when the “mass” doesn’t relate to big box retail, but relates to “masses” of people all shopping.  Interesting tactics to think about from an experiential marketing perspective.