Believe it or not but they seem to like it! It looks like shoppers enjoy getting ‘managed’ and ‘processed’ into waiting lines!
Personally I avoid ‘Christmas Shopping’ as much as I can. I don’t consider myself to be overly spiritual in the traditional sense but I would really welcome Christmas as a non-commercial celebration of peace on earth with the people you love, without all the stupid presents.
But I get it – our world order needs mass consumption. But this is not really what I wanted to talk about here.
Rather, I felt compelled to shine a light on how we hack into the human belongingness instinct to trigger consumption. We are going to take a peek at what I believe to be a more sinister technique from the marketing playbook of demand generation.
Someone famous – I just can’t remember who – once said something like: “Provide humans with the freedom to be as original as they want to be and all they will do is copy each other”
Any retailer, restaurant or night club owner understands that customers lining up out in the cold is as good as it gets for business. This is obviously nothing new.
But what I am increasingly seeing is that these queues are ‘engineered’. When you sneak in early to avoid the credit card wielding masses, you will see the goons with uniforms and their velvet ropes eagerly anticipating another day of imposed authority. They set up before the crowds arrive. They build these lines on purpose!
The days before Christmas were always busy on the Brussels high street, but I always kind of took pride in the fact that we weren’t the kind of people that would line up in the cold and rain… until now.
I first saw this dirty little trick of queue building in Paris earlier this year. The typical setup is where a guy in a uniform handles a red velvet rope to authorise people in and out of a shop. And just as our famous anonymous friend pointed out, the innocent bypassing consumer sees all those people standing in line and simply can’t resist going into ‘monkey see monkey do’ mode.
What’s new about the Brussels approach is that they have now added fences to process the crowd more efficiently. I guess it also must have something to do with limiting the possibilities of people stepping out of line in the event that they suddenly develop a mind of their own.
But all in all, from what I can see, people actually seem to enjoy being treated like cattle for the pleasure shopping…
I’m very curious about what’s to come next. This is a space to watch…
Happy Christmas shopping :-/