Retail Anthropology Research Paper

Decent Essays
Few things are as unnerving as the sense that a stranger is watching you. What if the purpose of that stranger watching you is to gain knowledge about your patterns of thought and behavior, in order to coerce you into doing something you might not otherwise do? Although this sounds like the plot of some psychologically thrilling horror movie, it is actually happening all around and takes place with a far less devious plot in mind. Retail anthropologists employ, sometimes controversial, methods to study the behavior of customers as they shop, and use the data gathered to provide their clients with information about how they can improve their marketing tactics. The methods frequently involve recording customers without their knowledge, and this…show more content…
A happy customer usually means a repeat customer, and therefore repeat business. An unhappy customer, on the other hand, is not only loss of that customer, but the potential loss of anyone he or she talks to. Studies have shown that a satisfied customer will share a positive experience with 2 to 3 people, but an unsatisfied customer will share the negative experience with an average of 8 to 10. Couple this with sites like, and the reach of customer review becomes incredibly powerful. A company will go to great lengths to ensure the satisfaction of its customers. Retail anthropology can provide useful vision into the ways a company can improve the customer experience. In a talk given by Professor Ray Burke he states, “I believe that through these insights you can improve the customer experience, you can increase customer satisfaction, and increase business performance. So how do we do this? Well, if we watch what people buy, we can infer what their needs and desires are and even anticipate what those needs will be in the future. If we watch shoppers we can see the points of engagement in the shopping process and the points of friction, the obstacles to purchase. And then we can modify the experience and improve the shopping experience and observe shoppers behavior. So our goal here is to optimize the 'shopability' of the store." (Burke). The goal of this research isn’t to try and manipulate the customer, it is to cater to the customer’s needs, and in turn the customer will choose to do business with them instead of with the
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