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Reflections on Shopper Insights

From: Bill Alberti
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 1:59 PM
To: Julie Wittes Schlack
Subject: Reflections on Shopper Insights…

Whadidja think?

From: Julie Wittes Schlack
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 2:02 PM
To: Bill Alberti
Subject: RE: Reflections on Shopper Insights…

Well, my conscious and rational mind says that the Shopper Insights conference was all about dichotomies – conscious vs. unconscious, planned vs. unplanned, habit vs. change, what people think vs. what they feel, etc.  But since according to one speaker, 84 percent of what I do is unconscious, what the hell do I know?

From: Bill Alberti
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 3:42 PM
To: Julie Wittes Schlack
Subject: RE: Reflections on Shopper Insights…

What YOU know is just point … what you know, how you act, how you feel … My big takeaway was about treating shoppers as unique from one another and getting intimate with them. From understanding how their brains work, to exploring the richness of the emotional territory of their lives, you quickly realize that data alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to get intimate with customers to earn permission into their lives to see their experiences from their points of view.

From: Julie Wittes Schlack
To: Bill Alberti
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 4:01 PM
Subject: RE: Reflections on Shopper Insights…

Amen, brother! Understandably, a lot of shopper insights work focuses on measurement, because this is one domain in which measurement is not only strategically important, but relatively easy. So there’s reams of data on what SKUs are moving and how quickly, length of time in aisle, where shoppers eyes are roaming – on WHAT people are doing … but not on WHY they’re doing it. The neuroscience work aims to get at the latter in an objective way, and it is fascinating and powerful research.

But what struck me as I listened to several presentations is that while a variety of sensory cues may inform the unconscious and stimulate the desire to touch or acquire, ultimately the act of purchasing is a pretty conscious, intellectually mediated act. That’s why shopping is one behavioral domain where self-reporting and reflection – affording people the time in space in which to wonder aloud, “Hmm … why DID I not only have the impulse, but follow through on it?” – is really important. Reflection is a powerful insight-generation tool.

And so is Dan Arielly. My other big take-away, in fact, was a deeper appreciation for just how daunting, even paralyzing, choice can be. I’m heading out for vacation in an hour, but as I weigh the question of beach vs. pond vs. hammock next week, I’ll reflect a little more on that… 🙂

From: Bill Alberti
To: Julie Wittes Schlack
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 4:44 PM
Subject: RE: Reflections on Shopper Insights…

And that’s why I asked … always very insightful to hear your perspective.

Enjoy your vacation. When making your decision, you may want to throw in the “decoy” option of beach minus a beach blanket. The asymmetrical dominance might make the decision for beach (my preference) unconsciously easier 😉  See you next week.

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