November 30, 2005
They Came for Plasma TVs,
part of a mutual gratification pact between Mrs. Krause and me, she
rarely takes me along on her shopping trips, so I’m not entirely sure
what she looks for in a satisfying shopping experience.
pretty sure it’s not pastel walls. Best Buy, however, is banking on the
hope that Mrs. Krause is not a typical female. (She is leading in
the football picks this year, but I digress . . . )
newly refurbished stores, Best Buy is trying to attract more female
shoppers by replacing its familiar dark blue and yellow color scheme
with pastel colors.
course! Make them feel like they’re at a baby shower! Maybe they could
serve cake and finger sandwiches too.
only that, but Best Buy is trying to cater to females by offering them
“personal shopping advisors,” who lead them around the store and avoid
speaking in technical jargon.
there’s one thing I would think women don’t need an advisor for,
it’s how to shop. But Best Buy seems to think they are susceptible to
confusion with talk of rocket science concepts like “megapixels” on
digital cameras. So instead, they keep it simple for them.
a soccer mom? Do you want to take pictures of soccer children? Press
this button, ma’am.
Jersey-area Villagers Hardware outlets are trying this as well – having
associates basically shadow female shoppers from the moment they show up
until it’s time to load their cars. (Women like geeky men following them
around? When did this start?)
Computer-maker X2 is trying to pander – I mean reach out – to females by
making pink laptops. I don’t know if this will work, but I’m pretty sure
not many will be stolen.
trend is troubling on a number of levels, not least of which concerns
the fact that the laptop on which I am typing this column was purchased
at Best Buy. If I need service on it, I do not want to show up and find
those 100-inch flat screen TVs showing Oprah, Desperate Housewives and
some Lifetime movie about Valerie Bertinelli being sad.
the point, is this what retailers think of female shoppers? I get that
men and women are different. I get that your experience while you’re in
the store affects your willingness to come back. But not as much as your
satisfaction with what you took out of the store – and what you paid for
mother-in-law wouldn’t care if a store’s interior was pastels or dried
pasta – but if there’s an item marked down two cents, you’d better not
be standing between it and her.
marketing people need to overthink these things, and it didn’t start
with Best Buy. In reporting this story, Business Week noted that car
companies in the 1950s used to try to lure female buyers by offering
Krause has rarely shared with me the emotional feelings she experienced
while visiting fine retail establishments, but perhaps these
things are best left unshared between men and women. Besides, if I walk
into Best Buy and it’s covered in pastels, there’s a decent chance I
won’t even notice.
as they're showing sports on those big TVs.
© 2005 North Star
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