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?