The Concept Of Shopping In The Science Of Shopping By Malcolm Gladwell
Shopping is normally something in which is very relaxing and easygoing. Most people can spend hours and hours shopping and genuinely enjoy being in the environment. In the essay, “The Science of Shopping” written by Malcolm Gladwell, Gladwell explains how shoppers, when shopping, like touching the clothes to see how it feels or would feel on their body Gladwell followed Paco Underhill on an investigation to see if that that are not knowingly being recorded to see how consumers would react to experiments that Underhill is doing. If I were shopping, I would like to know or be advised that I am being recorded for an experiment since it is invading my personal space and being done without my permission or consent. I believe that if you are going shopping, you should know that you are being filmed so that you can also see how you look and act while shopping as well.
There are many interesting observations that Paco Underhill observed while doing these experiments. First, Gladwell explains how us humans beings always tend to stay on the right side of the walkway when shopping. Why would Gladwell explain about how human beings always stick to the right side of the walkway? Well, it is very simple that people tend to stick to the right side of the walkway because since we were little toddlers, we were taught and/or programmed to stay to our right all the time. I agree with this because whenever I am in the store shopping or even just walking on the parking lot, or driving on the street, I always stick to the right side of the walkway to let others pass who are in a hurry to get somewhere. Paco Underhill states, “Human beings walk the way you drive, which is to say that Americans tend to keep to the right when they stroll down shopping, mall concourses or city sidewalks. This is why in a well designed airport…the gift shops on their right,” (Gladwell 89). This shows how people all over the United States always stick to the right side of any path since we drive on the right side of the road and it becomes like second nature to us. This also shows how in some other countries like England, where they drive on the left side of the road, they may walk on the left side of the walkway since they all drive on the left side of the road. Gladwell also explains how long that the average American spends in a shopping mall. Why would the average time spent in a mall be important? This is important because a lot of people tend to lose track of time when they go shopping, myself included. Malcolm Gladwell states’ “The time per visit that the average American spends in a shopping mall was sixty-six minutes last year… American shopper is now more than double what it was in the mid-seventies,” (Gladwell 90). This shows how people now tend to stay in shopping malls longer than what it was in the seventies and retailers making their store have the most up to date merchandise. This also shows how people, when shopping, lose track of time and end up spending more money on things and making the retail stores make more profit in their day. These are just a few examples of the observations that Paco Underhill made in his investigation.
Another few interesting observations that Paco Underhill found in these experiments he did are how a consumer shops, and how retail stores strategically place their merchandise in the stores. One example of what Paco Underhill found in his investigation is on how a consumer shops. Should he have been permitted to study consumers without them knowing as they are shopping? I believe that although the shoppers should know that they are being recorded, they may not act as natural as they would without unknowingly being recorded. Gladwell stated, “ The likelihood of a woman’s being converted from a browser to a buyer is inversely proportional to the likelihood of her being brushed on her behind while she’s examining merchandise,” (Gladwell 91). This shows how as soon as someone feels uncomfortable or like their personal space has been invaded, they tend to either buy the merchandise they have in their shopping cart or they just leave without buying anything. This also identifies how a person can look at something and right away fall in love with it because it has an emotional feeling towards them. He also explains how when people are shopping, they tend to like having some personal space. I agree with this because when I am shopping, whether it is for clothes or shoes, I would like to have my space since it is supposed to be something very relaxing and easygoing. Another great example is that when you walk into a retail store, the out of style stuff is in the very front so that the shoppers do not focus on these but on the new merchandise. Malcolm Gladwell explained, “Paco found that ninety-one percent of all shoppers penetrated as deep as what he called Zone 4, meaning more than three-quarters of the way in, well past the accessories and shirt racks and belts in the front… Zone 3 to be under fifty percent,” (Gladwell 93). This shows how as soon as people walk into a store, they go directly to what they were looking for first and then tend to go all around the store right after. This also shows how the retail stores have to plan accordingly on where they have to put their most expensive and most profitable merchandise and where they put their least expensive merchandise. One great example of this is the IKEA Stores. The IKEA Stores tend to make you go around the whole store so that you can come out of there with hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise and even eat there so that you stay longer and buy more product.