Emotion Rules Global Shop

April 3, 2000

Emotion Rules Global Shop

Emotion – not technology – is the key to the new economy. That's what consultant Joe Pine told attendees at GlobalShop, the National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers' annual show, held in Chicago over the weekend. As if to prove his point, exhibitors showcased a wide variety of tools and strategies designed to trigger shoppers' senses and emotions. For example:

EMI-Capitol Music offered retailers a chance to create signature music CDs, a tactic used so successfully by the Starbucks and Bed Bath and Beyond chains they now sell them to customers.

Packaging expert Joe DeJure decried retailer chintziness with packaging as an insult to upscale shoppers. Example: a jeweler with an average sale of $5,000 who "couldn't afford" an 80 cent box. Luxury customers deserve more pampering, he said.

The "Dottie" store – a "Store of the Future" prototype –included Disney-like "teacup" seating on which preteen girls could bond with their friends while checking their e-mail on a computer.

Why the emphasis on emotion? According to Pine, emotion is what produces a pleasurable shopping experience. Moreover, in the new economy, the economic value of "experience" will surpass that of services, manufactured goods and commodities.

"Services like long-distance (telephone) service are being commodified, which means they will compete on price," said Pine, coauthor of The Experience Economy. "More and more, economic value will go to those who create memorable experiences." P>- by Mark E. Dixon