Thursday, September 6, 2007

BAD Retailer!!

There are many types of bad retail experiences. And today I'll talk about the ones with a poor mental model.

For those people not in the design community a mental model is an imaginative construct a person makes in their head to try to understand how something works - e.g., many e-commerce websites give us a mental model of a "shopping cart" to illustrate how one component of the shopping process works.

Many people in the design community use the concept of mental models to ensure that what they are designing, be it a product or a interactive experience, is comprehensible by the intended audience. Well, maybe it is time that executives of certain physical retail establishments tried to use this concept in regards to the physical shopping experience in their stores.

Why do I say this - as usual, because I am gosh darn angry! What mega-moron came up with the concept that a store should try to change the way humans think and behave to fit into a non-intuitive logistical model.

I don't remember if Circuit City or Service Merchandise came first with the whole "get a ticket, pay, and walk out of the store to a loading area" model. But I hate them both equally for the setting a horrible trend that other stores have followed.

First off, the whole concept is flawed - The process is designed around a concept where a store is trying to save the cost of holding inventory and using a warehouse like layout "in the back" to minimize the space needed while still maintaining an aesthetic store environment. NEWS FLASH - PEOPLE WHO SHOP AT LOW OR MODERATELY PRICED STORES ARE MORE CONCERNED WITH PRICE AND CONVENIENCE THAN HAVING A LINOLEUM FLOOR! Just ask any successful big-box retailer like Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, Sam's Club, etc. - Not that these companies don't have their issues, but that's a blog for another day. My point here is open up the back room you dolts! You can have your savings on the footprint required for inventory and have even more savings by removing your "tastefully decorated" store.

Secondly, who goes to a store with the idea of buying a ticket which represents a piece of merchandise? Nobody does. Enough said.

Lastly, every time I go to one of these establishments there is always some problem at the loading area. I wish I could avoid this whole part of the process and pick what I want from a shelf, put it on a cart, pay for it and GET OUT OF YOUR STORE WITHOUT TALKING TO ANOTHER SOUL!!! I don't come to Brandsmart to make friends, I come because I want to buy something at a reasonable price as quickly and pain free as possible.

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