Successful creation of a trendy counterculture is based on exclusivity of products and unique shopping experience in a small store, which a retailer like Urban Outfitters can offer its specific niche of customers. Their customers are people, who try to differentiate and create their own image with the help of products they can find in the store. Moreover, Urban Outfitters’ target market is represented by women, who enjoy shopping and would like to buy something really special and unique to emphasize their own individual uniqueness.
Big box stores like Sears or Wal-mart are mass-market oriented retailers, offering their customers a big choice of products, which they can buy at any quantity, unless the product is out of stock. Their vast target market is not limited by the people of counterculture, but individuals of any preferences or age, who come to the store primarily for necessities at an acceptable price. These people do not look for something unique to experience a moment of joy from finding it, nor do they wish to observe creative design of the store. They directly purchase things they need for the house, buy food for the whole family, best buy clothes, which is not associated to any brand, unlike in Urban Outfitters.
Furthermore, people who try to differentiate, greatly appreciate unique design of each small Urban Outfitters’ store, which appeals to their own desire to be unlike everyone else. Obviously, Sears and Wal-mart store cannot offer this to their customers, and in fact, their customers are not looking for it. Big box stores are all alike also due to its size, to make sure all customers know where each section is situated, and where to find each necessary item in a large space store.
All the differences between big box stores and Urban Outfitters reveal the main reason why Sears or Wal-mart are simply unable to create a trendy counterculture image – the psychology of their target markets is different, and encourages them to act accordingly.
Could the big box stores sell merchandise identical to Urban Outfitters?
The big box stores are unable to sell merchandise identical to Urban Outfitters, firstly due to the fact that their main goal is to sell all kinds of products at considerably large quantities. They do not sell brands, but, for instance, comfortable cheap clothes. The value of the product for big box store customers is associated features like quality, convenience or good price. Ordinary people do not come to the big store searching for an unique product or experience. They commonly come exactly for what they need to satisfy their daily needs and wants. While customers of Urban Outfitters, value the product depending on their experience of finding it. It is like discovering new lands, when you are hopeful and excited to find something you have never seen before. As soon as this “jewel” is found, a discoverer is absolutely sure, that no one else in the neighborhood possesses it. For this reason, every Urban Outfitter’s store provides small quantities of each product because special features of their target audience demand exclusivity, even for highly popular items. This fact relates to microeconomic law, saying that scarcity generates demand. However, in regards to the choice, total amount of different products, and constant stock renewal with fresh new items, scarcity can be hardly mentioned.
Secondly, selling fashion is not an objective for the big box stores. Wal-mart and Sears do not have fashion hunters like Urban Outfitters, who travel to hip cities around the world in order to find fashion trends. Their goal is simpler: to create abundance of affordable products in one place, where each customer can purchase utilitarian clothes or other products for their house and family, which usually have nothing to do with extravagancy and fashion.
If the big box stores started selling merchandise identical to Urban Outfitters, they would simply devaluate the products, since the design and atmosphere inside the store adds to a product’s value. In other words, customers would not perceive this kind of merchandise as something fashionable and unique, because Wal-mart and Sears sell mass market products and do not create uniquely designed stores.
Identify at least three reasons why exclusivity is valuable.
First, exclusivity is valuable because it gives a person a special feeling of belonging to something exceptional. For example, Urban Outfitters’ target market is a limited number people, who strive to be different. They have an opportunity to buy exclusive products and feel a part of the idea and philosophy of Urban Outfitters. It unites them and differentiates them from others, thus, satisfies their needs much more than purchasing a simple five-dollar t-shirt from Wal-mart. However, it is important to highlight that the price does not play the main role here. Urban Outfitters started selling a variety of products for people, who might not have much money, but each customer is able to buy an unusual item, and become a part of the Urban Outfitters brand family.
Besides, concepts such as ‘brand’ and ‘exclusivity’ are associated with elite life. It especially influences young generation, who want to be noticed and differentiated as people of a higher social and financial status. They experience satisfaction because others cannot afford to buy what they can.
Finally, it is a well-known fact that people tend to desire things they do not have or cannot have. As soon as they acquire an exclusive product, they enjoy this sense of possession for what other people failed to possess. For this reason, Urban Outfitters always limit the quantity of their items, appealing to these desires and feelings in the most effective way to achieve their marketing objectives.
Obviously, Urban Outfitters use all the value of exclusivity in their marketing. The company understands psychology of every group of customers, and offers them exactly what they want, and for what they are ready to pay more.
Senk says that shopping is rather entertainment. Do you agree or disagree with him? Explain your answer.
I do agree that shopping is rather entertainment. However, it depends on a store and on each particular person. For the majority of women, shopping is indeed entertainment, particularly when they go to malls and boutiques to buy clothes or make-up, or something within their interest or hobby. At the same time, men commonly do not enjoy the process of shopping because they are result-oriented. In addition, shopping experience in the big box stores is just a weekly necessity for most of the people. Hence, every store or shop must focus on the needs and expectations of its target audience.
For target customers of Urban Outfitters stores, shopping is definitely entertainment. It can be described as an adventure in the world of creativity and constant discovery of fresh unique impressions and products, which bring the feeling of delight and euphoria, as well as ultimate satisfaction. In their stores customers not only buy necessities or unusual creative products, but receive additional memorable experience due the technique of repurposing existing urban spaces, which creates retail settings and engages customers of every brand. Moreover, all Urban Outfitters stores are different, and their customers are waiting for a new surprise in every one of them.