Ruminations on Retail

The brown-eyed girl and I went to Cary tonight so that she could go to Kohl’s — and I decided to go over to Best Buy.

I hate Best Buy, but there’s a lot of stuff in Best Buy that I like, so it’s fun to go now and again. Thankfully I’ve learned the appropriate glares and the correct intonation in my voice to “I’m just looking” that means “I AM JUST LOOKING” — so the salespeople don’t bother me (well, as long as I avoid the TV section where they hover like turkey vultures in the deep south on a hot, humid day).

I had a while tonight to look through every section in the store — the Cary Best Buy, unlike the Garner Best Buy now has an Apple section — which is good to know. It looks like Apple foisted some design on them, but it’s certainly very different than an Apple Store.

What I found most interesting was which sections were getting traffic and which ones were not. I’m sure some design psychologists might have a comment or two, but for me, I thought it was extraordinarily telling about which products are really the ones that are grabbing our interest.

The busiest section by far was the mobile phone section — which also includes the iPods and other digital audio players (although it’s all iPod traffic).

Coming behind in traffic was the mobile section was the Digital camera section — the side with the point and shoots — not the SLRs — although I think a SLR was in process of being purchased, I’m not sure.

Right behind that — Video Games. Lots of kids playing Guitar Hero.

Behind that — a two way observation tie 1) the computer section — mainly hardware and monitors, not so much browsing through the software. The Apple computers were getting attention (the Apple display set up contributed to that — it’s a lot easier to “try” the Apple computers than most of the Emachines, HP’s and Sony’s — and whatever else they carry). 2) DVD movies — pretty good traffic there too.

There was also pretty good presence in the TV section — particularly the lower end LCD TVs. I had hoped more people would be browsing the 1080p TVs so that the prices would drop, but alas, most seemed to be comfortable with lower resolution HD. (not that I care — I still have a standard def Tube that won’t hasn’t died).

There were a few people in car audio, and an actual buying customer in GPS units.

There were two MAJOR ghost towns. Analog phones particularly. Even appliances had more traffic. The Analog phones had about the same traffic as the desks and chairs. (which I don’t even count as a Best Buy section — I’ve never seen anyone there).

The second Ghost Town — it had a few people, maybe 3 total. Audio CD’s.

People go to what interests them — and tonight it was mobile phones, digital cameras, video games… and NO analog phones and CD’s.