The glam world of retail therapy

As George Pitcher magnificently illustrated (MW October 30), the third quarter of 2003 saw retail customers continuing to spend, spend, spend – much to the delight of the UK economy. And the general prediction is that retailers’ tills will jingle all the way through to the January sales.

But why? Pitcher commented that financially, we’re not so healthy. As individuals, we’re supposed to be economically drunk, wobbling on the fence between black and red.

So, can it be concluded that our compulsion to shop has nothing to do our financial situation? Can it really be true that UK retailers have conjured the best trick of all?

Honestly and truly, yes. Any marketer who has been involved in retail at Christmas will be aware that everything – from headline messaging to the tiniest button badge on staff lapels – is designed to inspire customers.

Why? Because creativity is key to customer inspiration – and an inspired customer is a spending customer. Christmas shopping needs to be an experience, not just an everyday shopping trip. For most Brits, Christmas shopping is the light at the end of the tunnel of our dark, rainy winter. For others that aren’t so keen, retailers need to make the necessity of Christmas shopping as pleasant an experience as possible.

So, as consumers, the great British public doesn’t stand a chance

this Christmas. Perhaps it’s best that they sit back, relax and shield themselves with their credit cards.

Uwern Jong

Account director

Intelligent Marketing

London NW1

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