Haley Scholars Spring 2013 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?