Consumers Buy More Without the Glitz

A study out of the University of Florida says that glitz may encourage browsing over buying for certain items.

Attention shoppers: A new University of Florida study finds that buyers want stores to be turn-ons when they browse for fun but prefer sedate environments when seeking mundane merchandise for everyday life.

Unfortunately, some store managers get it wrong by making their establishments too flashy for customers who only want to get their trip for groceries, toiletries or household goods over with, said Barton Weitz, a UF marketing professor.

"While research on store environments is mixed, with some saying an arousing, exciting environment is good and others saying it is bad, we came up with a theory that says, 'It depends on what people go shopping for,'" he said. "It might be good for department stores but bad for supermarkets and discount stores."

Let me give you the Mrs. Businesspundit theory of glitzy stores, via a hypothetical exchange that is very similar to what happens when we travel and visit nice retail stores.

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Businesspundit: Oh cool, look at this widget. Let's get one.
Mrs. Businesspundit: When would you ever use that widget?
BP: I would use it (insert explanation).
MBP: Just like you used the (insert long list of things I bought and never used for their intended reasons).
BP: I'll really use this one.
MBP: But look at this store. How much does that little waterfall cost to run? Look at those posh designer chairs for shoppers. They must have huge markups to afford all of this. Let's buy it somewhere else.

And then I lose interest and we never buy it anyway. The point though, is that shoppers like nice stores, but ridiculously nice makes them think your prices are too high.