Retail Focus Online
Volume 1 - 2014
Virginia Tile Recognized Among JGA Projects in Chain Store Age Competition
Last month's EuroShop event in Dusseldorf brought more than 109,000 visitors to "The World's Leading Retail Trade Fair." If you missed it, there's still time to see the Best of EuroShop at this week's GlobalShop Expo in Las Vegas. Ken Nisch, along with Christine Sturch of Whole Foods Market, Bevan Bloemendaal of Timberland, and Tony Camilletti of Design Fabrications will present: Big Ideas from EuroShop, highlighting the best in lighting, fixturing, visual merchandising and materials and finishes. The session will be held Tuesday, March 18th at 10:30 am. For registration information, click here.
Three JGA Projects Win Chain Store Age Awards

Chain Store Age Magazine announced the winners of the 32nd annual Retail Store of the Year Design competition, recognizing the best in retail design from around the world. Awards were given in 24 individual categories, with JGA designs recognized in three. Jockey Bra at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL won "Best Single Unit Store." Whole Foods Markets "city right" concept in Detroit was recognized as "Best Supermarket," and the stunning Virginia Tile "design studio" in Chicago received an award in the "Showroom" category.
Webinar Offers Experts Take on an Integrated Ecosystem

JGA recently participated in a webinar that addressed how the evolution of devices has created ways for retailers to connect with consumers through a more seamless approach to Bricks and Clicks. Ken Nisch, along with Janet Valenza of Pop-Up Artists, Keith Kelsen of 5th Screen Digital, and Fadi Shuman of Pod1, were joined by session moderator, Jenny Heinzen, Editor in Chief of Home Accents Today, for a lively 30 minute presentation. The entire presentation is still available to view via YouTube here.

Postmedia Canada: Menswear Sales Beating the Pants Off Retail Expectations
Whole Foods Detroit Named Finalist in EuroShop Global Design Awards
Follow JGA on Twitter for the latest on news and conference appearances

Half Full, Half Empty By Marcos GouvĂȘa de Souza
When Julie left her once favorite clothing store empty-handed she said she felt agitated but didn't know why. "I don't know, nothing hit me. Maybe I've outgrown that store." Julie is one of more than 100 consumers that I interviewed for my new book, Decoding the New Consumer Mind. I tagged along with her on a shopping trip, chatted with her about her life and interviewed her about how, when and why she shops and buys. What Julie doesn't know (at least consciously) is that three things happened when she was shopping that contributed to her agitation. She accidentally wandered into the petite section of the store and it took a minute for her to reorient herself, she found a t-shirt she liked but couldn't find her size, and she received a call from her daughter that distracted her long after the conversation ended.

Tiny impediments to purchase, like those that Julie experienced, were relatively insignificant a decade ago. Not so today. And that's one of the many ways that consumers have changed in the past decade. Three giant sociocultural shifts have altered our psychology and by extension how and why we shop and buy. One of those shifts is greater emotionality - particularly anxiety, anger and emptiness.

Julie told me that "it's been a tough year" and that she's been stressed out lately. She's not alone. According to a new study by JWT, three times more Americans report feeling anxious than those that don't. Around the world, anxiety is on the rise. Stress, anxiety's little cousin, is such a common part of our lives it's nearly taken for granted. And diagnosed anxiety disorders are at record levels.

Anxiety - big or small - influences our interests, stamina, how we process information and how we make decisions - all things that are key components of shopping. Here are three examples of how anxiety is impacting retail:

1. Anxiety's original purpose was to give us a physical boost to combat things like wild animals. Even though today's threats are more likely to be things like deadlines or money concerns - our bodies still get the juice, at the expense of our rational minds; which is why the sensory components of shopping are more important than ever. Today's shopper sees, hears and smells with greater acuity. They acquire perceptions through visual and symbolic information such as colors,
assortments and organization much more readily than through words.

2. One of the factors contributing to elevated levels of anxiety is a diminished trust in social establishments. Edelman's 2014 Trust Barometer shows abysmal levels of trust in business, media, schools and especially government. Who do we trust? People "like" us; which is why "crowd cred" is more important than ever. Retailers that showcase the opinions of other shoppers - through things like "most pinned" tags in stores or product ratings online - simply look more trustworthy and that takes away a barrier to purchase.

3. When Julie's daughter called (shoppers get to take work and family stressors everywhere now) the two very minor shopping bumps she encountered were enough to exhaust her interest in the retailer. Hassles seem more profound when our mental resources are diminished by anxiety and stress. This is why shoppers increasingly tell me about smooth transactions, easy shopping and insightfully designed websites or stores when I ask them about their favorite retail experiences. This is a major difference from the interviews I conducted a decade ago when shoppers talked about products or prices more than the shopping experience. After years of discount fever, consumers have come to expect great products and bargains when they're shopping - which means they're rarely surprised or delighted when they find them, more likely they're disappointed when they don't. Add to this the effects of anxiety, and fewer sticks stand out more than more carrots.

Sensory excellence, trustworthiness and hassle reduction stand out because they're unique in today's retail landscape and most importantly, because they tap into the new psychology of today's shoppers.


KIT YARROW, Ph.D., is an award-winning consumer research psychologist, professor, consultant, and keynote speaker. She chairs the psychology department at Golden Gate University, with a joint appointment as a professor of psychology and marketing, and was recognized as the university's 2012 Outstanding Scholar. Kit writes for Time and Psychology Today. She is also the coauthor of Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail (Jossey-Bass, 2009). Kit is regularly quoted in a variety of media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Marketplace, USA Today, and Good Morning America. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit www.kityarrow.com

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