Archives for category: Shopper insights

As part of my passion for shopper psychology and my constant super-search for the perfect store, I have over the years learned that value created through WOWability, or if you in an other way manage to cross shopper expectation with something unanticipated, you have managed to create positive tension to attract traffic.

But business can’t exist from only attraction, WOWability or positive tension without a positive revenue stream. We need to convert traffic! Get people to buy regularly and take the basket size to the next level. Get consumer interested in visiting more often, stay longer, we need people to talk to people about the store, to become one with the store. We need our traffic to carry an evolving message about the entire extra that we offer.

Therefore we need to offer something special – in terms of product, knowledge, service, presentation, interaction, relation and much more – all because retail is detail!

Let’s take a short look at some of the key words.

Product – if we don’t offer the expected – we can’t get them to buy something else! We simply give them a reason to walk away empty handed, and by the way somewhat disappointed!

Knowledge, Service, Presentation and Interaction – here lie a distinct possibility to do far better than what a website can offer, hereby really stand out store wise – offering consumer appreciated competitive advantage compared to overall competition.

The “much more” – well you, as a retailer know something about this already. But because of the workload in the day to day operations you frequently tent to forget, your responsibility in development! Taking into consideration that this part has to be revisited daily or weekly – most stores simply fail to comply – and after a couple of years perform poorly at best.

Admitting to the fact that price is always an issue, even for the best in class that I briefly will present. None of the below mentioned have surrendered to just being discount bookstore – because they don’t have to!

All below asked themselves – Am I special? Can I offer anything that the next in line can’t? Do traffic experience the difference that I’m trying to make, or is that just something I think is obvious?

How often, do you ask yourself these questions?

These stores – all except one, make larger changes regularly (at least 3-4 times a year). They proudly present a simple strategy – that talk about focussing on taking business to the next level. Strategy is then based on tools such as conversion rate, basket size, basket content and track and trace results. They all managed to have very positive revenue streams – even in troubled times!

Photo wise I have been focussing on presentation. Remember that these stores earn good money – based on the belief that by building special, you ARE!

If you want further information on the individual bookstore strategy and shopper behaviour take aways – don’t hesitate to revert to me!

MY personal Awards 2009 Retailwise

•Best in class (fnac 2009)

•Distinctiveness (Shakespeare & Co)

Shakespeare & Company
37 rue de la Bûcherie
75005 Paris

•Business (Academic Bookstore )

The Academic Bookstore (Akateeminen Kirjakauppa) in the center of Helsinki is built by the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto

•Wow factor (Lello)

Rua das Carmelitas 144, Porto 4050 – Portugal

•Traffic (Borders)

•Conversion of traffic (192 bookstore)

•Time spend (Lello)

•Third world (Calcutta roadstop)

•Interaction (Le Bal des Ardents )

•Basket size (Noels & Barnes)

No photo!

•Design (Le Bal des Ardents )

•Oldest (San Francisco bookstore)

With presentation come conduct and service – conduct and service fitted to presentation. The above mentioned has not in any way left any detail untouched.

But what about business figures – and other important figures! I’ll let the average figures talk for them self!

Trafic conversion rate (+29%)

Trafic (+49%)

Revenue (+19%)

Basket size (+47%)

Stockturn (+21%)

There are many stories/stores like this spread around the world – but for each good story there is a 1000 or more stories sadly pointing in the opposite direction – they simply don’t get it! They still think that the old way is the right way – you can tell, that they never read BlueOcean strategy!

Remember also – most of these bookstores have all the cheap extras, fancy coffee shops and alike they do great in terms of traditional core business.

This research has been conducted over the last 2 years

My pictures have not always been the best, so some has been borrowed from friends and likeminded, that like myself share a common interest for shopper psychology, in-store presentation and offer.

But believe me when I say – that the photos are nothing in compares to the original stores.

For Retailwise

Brian Engblad


But of course you do, you just don’t know where to begin, whom to trust with your project. And who honestly do you feel secure enough with as partner to expose your own lack of skills on the subject.

I know the feeling – I was there in the early 90’s when every one was talking about Category Management. I went participating in international workshops after workshops, seminar after seminar. I understood the system in theory – really I’d… or so I thought!

Nevertheless the same question kept arise in my head – how do one get hands on started?

Fact is – not then neither now, people know where to begin, how to start-up, how to monitor or how to convert knowledge into action. My story from the 90’s exactly!

Fact is also, that in theory you think you have all the right answers yourself – and that you are doing all right on the matter.

Of course you are not! You haven’t got the skills or the knowledge – and that’s quite all right, because truth is that you never did this before! But before going forward, you have to accept this!

Your target group varies, and they have been divided into subcategories, I’m sure! Still your store only offers one entrance and one presentation – so what do you do? How can you deliver on customer expectations and secure customer retention – they varies you know!

Remember that the product itself often stands alone come the moment of truth! Can it self sell?

There is no fact book attached here, nor anywhere else! You start from rock bottom! Collecting behaviour! And you get help to convert the documentation into action – and hey, this is NOT something your advertising agency knows anything about!

But when started you suddenly (over the years, I mean) understand:

:: about promotion effectiveness – because you’ve seen what NOT to do – let me emphasize you have seen it with you own eyes!.

:: about presentation – or should I say focused presentation, and how to create interactive presentations – because you have seen customers lack of interaction and valuable traffic leave because you did not understand or offer the right solutions – or that you actually offered the right solution but in a totally wrong context or surroundings.

:: about service and relation – about how much you have to stress and stretch to secure customer retention. Why “sameness” only can attract some customers – and why change is the only constant.

:: about why people/staff as ambassadors’ really is key to both brand and business objectives, and why anchor management is 10 times more important than the campaign itself.

I’m often asked to point a finger at the department to blame for not driving or deliver value to secure opportunity – retail or marketing? To be honest with you all, both are to be blamed for not having taking steps towards having collected shopper behaviour documentation as part of a mutually anchored foundation.

Not before can you point a finger at anybody but yourself!

Last but not least who is to pay – because you don’t have the budget to do!

Fact is that this is a company, business, brand and marketing issue… and as such not just a one department responsibility.

Todays fact – shoppers start deselecting before selecting, and only if they can find relevance in presentation

Regards from Amsterdam

If you are not relevant or interacting with your customers – you’ll not full fill you potential – and it’s about time to do something about it!

Is it doable? YES it’s!

Together with several brands we have over the last year tested how to change from no relevance to relevant – in only spilt seconds!

In other words we have got customers to change behaviour.

I believe the economic crisis will work in favour of our so called shopping streets and the in-store trends – the rental structure is already being re-examined, and opportunities are arising for small brands and entrepreneurs. That “sameness” we have experienced for years will have to go – and turbulent times hopefully will inspire innovation and re-imagination.

Quote – David Wilkinson: We’ll see the spread of the temporary streetside format as brands are forced to corner their customers in new ways.

Brands and stores should learn from ways of internet communication – don’t wait for your customer to visit you website, be where the customer are – even though that even they move in mysteries ways.

Have you heard of Comme des Garcons – perhaps not – brands should look if not learn from companies who really masters the guerrilla store.

There is a new buzz in town – pocket shops! The affordable and doable footprint of any brand – taking brand, customers and business serious.

Pocket shops, of course is not the only solution to swop from no-relevant to relevant – but interaction is practically inevitable!

From a shopper psychologist perspective, it’s mandatory to create the necessary stop effect to win the heart and minds of the customers – pocket shop is in that sense a breath of fresh air.

Take care,


written in Copenhagen