We Earn Money, Shop Till Our Souls Get Tired

“Shopping and buying” in the layman’s perspective, “Purchasing” in the marketing parlance all means to give money for something we get. To be short, it is trade. Barter was one system those days to exchange goods against goods where no money and calculation came into action. For example a kg of rice was exchanged for a kg of wheat and so on. Those days have gone. Now it is all money. People started thinking big when they started earning more and more. The situation is like they purchase just because they have come to that status and sometimes just because it is possessed by their neighbors. I feel ownership of something is valued more than value of money. Books define market as, “A place where buyers and sellers meet and exchange their products and services”. Today, it has become a stage for earning money. People have become so much obsessed with shopping and exploring products. Well, it’s up to people how they look at it. Some buy just because they want to possess it, some do shopping as a hobby, relaxation, and some create a situation for them to shop and so on. It is endless.

Developing a craze towards shopping depends on the mindset as well as buying behavior of a person. Quality of goods, customer satisfaction, and seller’s attitude play a very important role in dragging customers to their shop. Generally discounts; good shopping environment, customer relationship management, value added services etc are some of the strategies/activities they perform to keep loyal customers. Well, product availability, services, variety of branded goods, assortment of products, store ambiance etc are considered very important.

Shopping is done by each one of us almost daily. We find some reason to buy something. Pens, pencils, groceries and so on. List is endless. I have seen people would write down a list do buy but when they get into the shop, they get carried away by the attractive displays, advertisements, and sometimes even the wrapper and buy the things which is not in their list. Finally they come home and say, “Oh my god, I have got this one. I forgot what I wanted. It is my mistake” and so on. In marketing parlance, it is impulse purchasing.

Well, shopping is always fun. Some plan to shop. To others, it just happens. There is one term “window shopping”. Defining it would be great. It is always cheapest way of obtaining satisfaction. It is the only shopping in which people do it with a lot of pleasure and happiness because no money gets out of the pocket. Window shopping is even more great if the shopping mall is air conditioned well perfumed with good fragrance and the store ambiance is colorful. Wow. I am sure everyone would have experienced this.

Festivals always begin with shopping. This is the only culture followed all over the world. What do we buy during festivals? Sweets, chocolates, gifts, clothes, stationeries, fruits, flowers, dress materials, junk foods etc. The list is surely endless. “Hey, come let us see what we find there, will this shop be okay for us?, where do we get branded clothes?”, are some of the questions we will be able to notice. Specialty stores earn a lot during this period. When I think of specialty stores, the word brand loyalty hits my mind. It is when a person uses only a particular brand. They do not compromise with other brands. “Somehow I want it” will be their attitude. In that case men have a lot of brands to stick on to whereas women don’t.

Basically I love shopping. I buy anything that is good and worth paying. People generally ask me, “Why did you take Retail management as an elective paper in your marketing” and this is my answer to them, “I love shopping and moreover retailing sector is coming up”. There is always one question that keeps coming in my mind. Why do people buy? The very true answer is because of the external appearance (packaging) and the considerable price. Packing plays a very important role in the sale of a product. The best example would be FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) products. Shampoos, biscuits, chocolates, tooth pastes, cosmetics and many fall under the category. I feel impulse purchase is influenced by the packing.

I feel, targeting the kids would make any company successful. Kids are influencers in most of the families. Right from biscuits to clothes parents give them the choice. Those days the attitude towards shopping for a child was, “I have bought this for you”. Now it has changed entirely. It has now become, “see if this will suit you, if you don’t like it you choose”. Cartoons and animated wrapper does not matter. Pleasant color and good designs matter a lot.

As I mentioned earlier, I love shopping. I feel people should have the art of observing things that happen around them when they shop. Well, it is very interesting to see the product assortment, salesman’s way of responding, displays inside and outside the shop, promotion strategies followed to attract the customers, lights over the products, maintenance and so on. The joy of watching people enjoying and buying what they want cannot be expressed in short. Shopping itself is an endless topic. My idea of looking at shopping will not be the same as others. It need not be also.

I feel a salesman can create ‘n’ number of footfalls to his shop. Promotion, advertising, brand image and location contribute a lot externally but inside the shop, how the customer is treated matters a lot. In a shop, a section should not have too many salespersons. If the crowd is too much, it helps. If there are limited customers, then it irritates the customers. Clutters like repetition of requesting, delay in showing the products, lack of attention to one customer generally happen. I have seen people deciding if they should get back to the same shop or not in the billing counter itself. If they like it, they say, “This is the shop I was looking for, awesome service, great shopping experience and so on”. If they don’t like the service, even if everything is good there, “I have never had such a bad experience, they don’t have anything with them other than their salesmen and so on”. This reminds me of one saying, “One satisfied customer can bring ‘n’ number of customers”. This is “Word of mouth strategy”.