Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Power of Habit, Chapter 7

Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups

In Chapter 7 of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg discusses how researchers and statisticians at major companies like Target take extensive steps to learn and understand the habits of American shoppers. Duhigg reveals that many well-financed stores spend millions of dollars researching and collecting data on their customers.

The chapter concentrates in part on "a mathematical mind reader" who utilizes his skills "deciphering shoppers' habits in order to convince them to spend more" (184). Researchers discovered "consumers going through major life events" often shift their shopping patterns, and for major retailers trying to appeal to those going through major changes, "pregnant women are gold mines (192). Companies invest considerable energies into identifying and influencing new parents for they understand that winning them over as customers can translate into large profits over the course of many, many years.

Based on the material covered in the chapter, what's something particularly fascinating or even unsettling that you discovered concerning the steps that major retailers take to collect data on and draw the interest of potential customers? Why did you find what you identified especially fascinating or unsettling?


Katrina S said...

It is interesting that major stores think they can quantify people by their habits. I know there things I buy as a one time purchase that stores may keep recommending and it is more annoying than encouraging me to buy a similar item. It is also interesting that they follow people's habits to suggest new things because habits are habits for whatever reason and it is sometimes hard to get people to try new things.

I don't think it is over reaching for a company to st up a profile for their records. However I have been noticing ads on websites are tailor made to the consumer and I think that goes to far because it is like they are following me site to site.

B.Jeffery said...

This chapter confirmed most of my prior knowledge and confirmed some suspicions about marketing. Some of the tactics they use to gather consumer information are a bit unsettling to me. However if we're putting it out there then it's up for grabs.
I myself try to check out as a guest as much as possible, online purchases and hand-to-hand. If I check out in a store and am asked for my email or phone number, I opt out. If I attempt to make an online purchase and there’s a requirement that I establish an account, I opt out as well.
I agree with what some of the consumers said about this being like "Big Brother" watching. If customers consent to giving the information, which there are many who are willing, then let them be the target base for these practices. For us who would like to remain anonymous, I think that's our right.
Overall, this was an eye-opening chapter and still a great read!

Jessica H. said...

I agree with the things mentioned in this chapter. Retailers can collect the data that we put out their. The fact that their assumptions are true, can be a little scary. The feeling that someone (a retailer) gets to know your shopping habits really feel, may be a little intrusive. But at the end of the day that is how a store makes money. The more coupons or sales ads that you receive may encourage you to send more at that specific location.

Robin Caffey said...

Although I knew companies did this type of research I still find it fascinating how far in depth the research goes. For example, finding out what types of shoping patterns are utilized by people going through certain things in their life is pretty intriguing.

I think the research of their customers habits allow them to have the right amount of the right products when their customers need them therefore the company is happy with the profit and the customer is hapy with being able to get what they want when they want it and even getting recommendations for similar products that they may like better.