Consumer Observations

Written by Dan Solkin

We have kicked off the summer with a series of observations about consumer behaviour, one for each of the letters of the alphabet. The first job was the easy one, scrawling the alphabet across our internal glass wall with a space beside each letter. The second job was the fun one, a team shopping trip into Leeds with a different shopping mission for each person. Lucy had to buy a new plant for the office, Joe a new movie print. Robyn had a tenner to spend as she liked, and Andy had to buy something using a discount voucher. Dan had to go online to buy the best value for money HDMI cables for our new starters joining in August, and Helen had the tricky job of buying something that wasn’t out on the shop floor. I followed with the notepad, jotting down my observations of behaviours as the team got to work.

The first thing that became apparent is the speed and frequency that behaviours form, change and disappear without the shopper even realising. I had a hard time keeping up as I scribbled things down that the team failed to report back at the end of their shopping missions. The next thing I noticed was the English language’s over reliance on a small number of letters! We had lots of really good behaviours that we didn’t select due to competition for that letter. Likewise, there are some very difficult words – behaviours beginning with X?!?

At the end of the day we got back together to populate our list and took to Instagram to start our daily posts. Today we reach our 9th post, I for Immerse. This behaviour was observed a few times throughout our shopping missions but was best observed for those who had a specific item to buy, but with plenty of choice. As Lucy looked through the flower stalls in Leeds Market, she was fully immersed in finding the right plant. Touching, smelling, picking plants up and turning them round to take a closer look. Her phone could have buzzed at that moment and it wouldn’t have broken her attention. As Joe browsed the movie-prints in The Corn Exchange he went beyond just scanning them, he was completely involved with the decision. It is a difficult behaviour to describe, but it is very apparent when it is observed.

To wrap up the first nine days, here is a recap of the behaviours observed so far. We’ll keep posting the behaviours daily on our Instagram feed and report back on the highlights of J-R in a couple of weeks.

A – Asking – To ask a member of staff a question of for help

B – Browsing – To look around a store, with or without a specific shopping mission

C – Checking – To go online to check for better prices or alternative formats

D – Deliberating – To engage in long and careful consideration

E – Eyeing – To look at an item closely or with interest

F – Feeling – Both an emotional state and the experience of the sense of touch

G – Guessing – To estimate or conclude (something) without sufficient information to be sure of being correct

H – Hunting – To search for something with intent

I – Immersing – involve oneself deeply in a particular activity.