Sunday, 23 August 2009

Orphan items at the check out desk - do I really need that?

There's quite an insightful article from Mike Shedlock on the manner in which consumers are changing their minds, at the last moment, about whether to purchase items at the supermarket or online. When they do dump some item out of their trolley and leave it by the register this is called creating an "orphan" item.

In increasing numbers, cash strapped consumers are abandoning items at the checkout counter or dumping items from their virtual shopping baskets online. The former creates orphan items that have to be restocked.

Last second abandonment is a new twist in the "Do I really need that?" shopping psychology that has set in. Now more than ever, shoppers are thinking twice in the checkout line.

Internet research company Forrester Research estimates as much as 59 percent of online purchases are being dumped during checkout. Those rates had ranged from 47 percent to 53 percent in the past six years, according to industry surveys.

The Container Store, which sells storage items, has seen its online abandonment rate rise to 68 percent. The company has launched an e-mail campaign to remind shoppers of their abandoned purchases and a service that lets shoppers pick up online purchases at the store to avoid shipping costs.

Let's hope that as a result of the more frugal types of behavior that a lot of the junk that had been previously considered as deserving a place in people's homes will no longer be manufactured if it fails to find any more gullible buyers.

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