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  • A Crash Course in Creativity

    Stanford.edu

    Assignment 2 Observation Lab

    Richard Powers

    Oxford, Mississippi

  • StoresOxford, MS. Square University

    Sporting

    Goods

    Square

    Books

    Jr.

    Neilsons

    Department

    Store

    Off Square

    Books

    Stash Square Books

    Before you enter the store:Does the store draw you in? If

    so, how?

    Neat old

    building

    Yes

    inviting

    Yes

    inviting

    Yes

    colorful

    Yes

    interesting

    Yes

    friendly

    Is the door open or closed? closed open closed closed open open

    How does this make you feel? NA NA NA NA NA NA

    How big is the sign lettering

    and in what font?

    Large Large Large Medium Medium Medium

    What does it tell you about

    the store?

    Old Old Old

    Est. 1839

    Old Unique Interesting

    Environment:

    What is the color scheme of

    the store? How does this

    affect you?

    Red & Blue

    Ole Miss

    neutral neutral neutral neutral neutral

  • How high is the

    ceiling? How does

    this feel?

    20 ft

    Open

    20ft

    Open

    30ft

    Open

    30ft

    Open

    30ft

    Open

    60ft

    Open

    How brightly lit is

    the store? How

    does this affect

    you?

    Light - open Light

    inviting

    Light

    Very inviting

    Light

    comfortable

    Dark

    comfortable

    Medium

    Inviting

    How loud is the

    environment?

    quiet quiet quiet quiet quiet quiet

    What is causing the

    noise?

    stereo none none none none none

    Is there music

    playing? If so, does

    it fit the

    environment?

    Music

    Top 40 yes

    Yes

    Childrens

    yes

    No No Yes, large

    Screen TV,

    yes

    No

    Is the store warm

    or cold?

    neither neither neither neither neither neither

    Is the store crowed

    with merchandise

    or is it sparse?

    crowded crowded crowded crowded crowded crowded

    Does the store have

    a distinctive smell?

    Yes, clothes Yes

    Books

    Yes

    expensive

    Yes

    Books

    Yes

    expensive

    Yes

    Books

    Where is the cash

    register located?

    By entrance Close to entrance Several around

    store

    Center Right of

    store

    Center rear Center Left of

    store

    How visible is the

    store security?

    Not seen Not seen Not seen Not seen Not seen Not seen

    How long do you

    want to stay in this

    store?

    20 min 20 mins 30 mins 30 mins 20 mins hours

    Does the

    environment

    influence the

    perceived value of

    the merchandise?

    yes yes yes yes yes yes

  • Personnel:

    How long does it take before a

    sales person initiates contact?

    seconds seconds seconds One minute seconds None did

    Casual

    atmosphere

    Does the salesperson have a

    script to follow with each

    customer?

    No No No No No No

    Does the salesperson treat

    different customers

    differently?

    No No No No No No

    What is the ratio of

    salespeople to customers?

    1 to 2 1 to 1 3 to 1 1 to 1 1 to 1 1 to 5

    What age and gender are the

    employees?

    30 F 40 F 40s M & F 50s M & F 60s M & F 40s M & F

    Are the salespeople using the

    store products?

    Yes NA Yes NA NA NA

    Do the salespeople have a

    uniform?

    No No No No No No

    Do the salespeople match the

    stores image?

    Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

  • Products:

    What is the first

    product that you

    notice?

    Ole Miss

    shirt

    Books &

    Posters

    Clothes Books Furniture Books

    Is there a central

    display table with

    featured products?

    yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes

    Where are items

    that are for sale

    located in the store?

    yes yes Yes Yes No Yes

    How are the

    products arranged?

    By function? By

    price? By color?

    Function By childrens

    ages

    Function

    Depts.

    By type of book Not arranged

    Eye appeal

    By type of book

    Are there free

    samples or

    demonstrations?

    no no no no no no

    What products are at

    eye level?

    apparel books clothes books Dcor Items &

    Furniture

    books

    What items in the

    store are in the least

    accessible locations?

    shoes toys Glassware

    Homeware

    items

    Some books Goods on

    walls

    Some books

    Where are the most

    and least expensive

    products located?

    Front -Back of

    store

    Least in

    Back of store

    NA everything

    expensive

    Equally spread

    through store

    NA everything

    expensive

    Equally spread

    through store

    Are the prices of the

    products easy to

    find?

    yes no yes yes yes yes

    Are there impulse

    items near the cash

    register?

    yes yes yes yes no yes

  • Customers:

    Are most customers alone or

    with someone else? What is

    the relationship?

    alone alone alone alone alone alone

    What is the average age and

    gender of the customers?

    40s

    M & F

    60s

    M & F

    40s

    M & F

    40s

    M & F

    60s

    F

    40s

    M & F

    When a customer enters the

    store, do they tend to walk in

    the same path or direction? -

    yes yes yes yes yes yes

    How long do customers stay in

    the store, on average?

    20 mins 20 to 30 mins 30 mins 30 mins 15 mins 1 hour

    Do customers touch the

    products? Is this encouraged?

    Yes, yes Yes, yes Yes, yes Yes, yes Yes, yes Yes, yes

    Do most customers appear to

    be on a mission or are they

    browsing?

    browsing browsing browsing browsing browsing browsing

    What percent of customers

    purchase products in the

    store?

    50% 80% 60% 50% 20% 50%

  • Other Observations:My observations were done at six stores located around the town square in

    Oxford, Mississippi ( pop. 20,000 ) in North Central Mississippi. It is the home

    of Ole Miss and I feel that and the history of the authors here (William Faulkner,

    John Grisham, and others) have definitely affected the type and quality of the

    book stores I visited. Also, most of the buildings are dated back to the 1860s

    after the Civil War, as I was informed by a local: the Yankees burned the town

    to the ground in 1864.

    Security If there, it wasnt noticeable in any of the stores.

    Note: I did my observance at store opening time on a mid-week day, so I feel

    that effected my responses. Again, this is small town America!

    Insights and New Opportunities:Location, location, location as realtors say. The property around the Oxford

    Square is high dollar property with extremely high dollar rents, therefore goods

    and services are expensive. I think the most educational creative thing I

    learned was from how the book stores competed with the chain stores and the

    Internet. Each provided something unique, Square Books book signings and

    parties for authors, Off Square Books Thacker Mountain PBS Radio Show, with local

    music, authors and commentary, and Square Books Jr. reading clubs for children through

    teens, with readings by authors. In conclusion, it was an interesting exercise.