Monday, December 29, 2008

Making love in Supermarkets

I was pretty sure to get your attention with such a post title directly inspired by the book of Daniel Miller, A Theory of Shopping. Daniel Miller is an anthropologist specialised in material culture and consumption. 

How shoppers develop and imagine social relationships of love and care through the act of selecting goods is one of his thesis. He observed shoppers in the North London and discovered that shoppers do not buy what the others members of the family asked for but rather try to influence relatives habits, buying healthier food, better clothes (supposed to be) than they would expect. 

Housewives (80% of households food buyers are women) see her role as selecting goods which are intended to be educative or judged as morally superior (bio, better taste, ...). As Miller writes, "shopping is primarily an act of love that in its daily conscientiousness becomes one of the primary means by which relationships of love and care are constituted by practice". 

Shopping do not reflect love says Miller but is a form in which love is manifested and reproduced. Miller asses that each shopper is looking for thrift (value, sales, promotion, good deal, ...) and treat (extra product as a reward for the time and effort spend).

Well, that said, what are the implications for the retailer ?
Give value to the housewife shopper buying your product. She cares so you need to give her reassurance with product information,... explaining the benefits of your product. Never forget that each customer is looking for a personal treat, a direct reward to the shopper for carrying out the act of shopping. Is your assortment considering thrift and treat ?

This book is a recommendation from Luc Wise of V agency


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