Shopping as art form: the ritual of a purchase
A short video courtesy of YouTube to get in the shopping mood for the holiday season and remember to shop local . . . ‘it is green, it is wise, it is friendly, it saves lives.’
There are those for whom shopping can be an artistic, poetic, even theatrical experience. This type of shopper luxuriates in the total experience leading up to the possibility of the purchase, the temptation, the indecision, the ultimate buy and then the lingering after glow as one takes home, admires and eventually even makes use of the purchase.
If all the elements are in place, this can be a breathtaking, sublime experience, even a ritual. But everything must be staged perfectly for happen. First, is the appearance of the store as one passes by time and again tempted but not quite ready to enter. The windows must be beautifully decorated. The storefront, signage, accents such as window awnings and other décor must all add to the charm, combined to create a magnetic appeal.
One will no longer resist when one feels like (s)he is being drawn into a French Bake Shoppe by the smell of freshly made pastries with butter, sugar and chocolate permeating the air. The ambiance, upon entering, must not disappoint. The feeling must be uninterrupted like a wonderful dream. There must be a seamless, elegant, reserved and continuously inviting air.
For this to exist, the service will need to be impeccable. Sales people appear only when called upon by the customer’s unspoken expression, ‘I am ready to take the next step’. But the idea of buying must not be pushed or presented a moment too soon.
The decision still weighs in the balance for the shopper. One struggles between the necessity and superfluousness of the purchase. One must independently come to the conclusion that this is something without which (s)he can no longer live.
Ultimately, the preparation of the purchase for departure is crucial. In fact, this must be the ‘piece de resistance’. It is a memento for the buyer and the signal to the entire community (or at least those who can see that this purchase has been made) that the experience has taken place. The purchaser has shopped in and made a purchase from this store. One has gone through the rite of passage. The ritual has taken place. But this finale can only occur if everything has been executed perfectly.
A recent purchase, on a particularly nice day, was a reminder of the importance of the ‘perfect shopping experience’. There is a wonderful store in a lovely downtown shopping area that has very beautiful products. These items, in their impeccable setting, beautifully decorated windows and a charming storefront call out to passers for the promise of that shopping experience.
In finding the call irresistible and then taking the steps described above, the resulting score for this store was a nearly perfect one. But it fell short in the final act, the preparation for departure and proof of the purchase.
Upon payment, the person at the cash register placed the memento of this so far perfect shopping purchase into a plain white shopping bag, a creative shopper’s nightmare. The thought immediately came to mind, is this it?
Will there be no memento of this almost exquisite shopping experience to act as a reminder that it really took place and that it was not just a magnificent dream? In addition, will no one outside the store know that this experience has been had and that the ritual of shopping here has take place? What a letdown, even a feeling of betrayal. This was definitely a less than perfect shopping experience.
It was inconceivable and unacceptable to leave the store with its purchase in a plain white shopping bag. And then a thought came. With a few strokes of a ballpoint pen sitting on the counter, the logo signature from their business card was drawn across the formerly unacceptable packaging. Now, the purchase was acceptable and the experience felt complete.
There is a moral to this story. A nearly perfect shopping experience is not a perfect shopping experience. One detail can make the difference between having a memento of it, making the most of it and even promoting to others the possibility of it.
A simple graphic, imprinted on the bag or even a sticker with the store’s brand (including name, logo, address, phone number, etc.) would have made all the difference to a consummate shopper. It would have created a memento of the perfect shopping experience as well as made the announcement that a ritual of such proportion had taken place.
- Posted in: Art & Design ♦ Business ♦ Fun And Personal ♦ Marketing
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