14 September, 2011

The mystery called consumer

Of all the great mysteries of the universe, none is more confounding than that of consumer behaviour. You would have thought that it shouldn't be an unfathomable mystery - after all you and I are consumers too.  But no. It is inarguably established that you can even hope to nail down the Higgs boson, but cannot begin to understand this mysterious creature called the consumer.

Take the example of the Missoni collection and the outage at Target yesterday. Missoni is an outrageously priced design house - designing everything from clothes to patio sets each costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. I cannot imagine why anybody should pay thousands of dollars for something that is essentially similar and available for $49.99, but we shall pass over that lightly. Target is a discount store in the US.

At first glance, its not sure what the two have in common - you would have expected that one would wrinkle its nose at the other and the other should be showing its finger at the worthy. But hey presto, the two decided that they would collaborate and launch a limited edition Missoni for Target range. This was on the theme of "zig zag" - apparently zig zag lines on your dress is high fashion. Instead of of hundreds of dollars, you could could get it for $39.99.




Target has been swamped. Its web site crashed. The demand for items was higher than on the day after Thanksgiving or Black Friday; days when Americans go bonkers shopping. Everybody , it seems, wants to buy. Social media is inflamed. That doyen of intelligent media, Twitter, is ablaze. Many criticised Target for not anticipating demand. Many others moaned and groaned. Some boasted that they could get in during the few minutes that the site was up . Some others tweeted that they would get Missoni supported unlocked iPhones. As this post was written, the Target site is still down.

I would have bet before yesterday that

  •  Nobody in the US had heard of Missoni
  • It didn't matter one bit whether the lines on your skirt were straight or zig zag , or for that matter, non existent
I would have, of course, lost the bet. I was dead wrong.

Ah the mysteries of that incredibly species called consumer !

PS- Regular readers of this blog might have noticed that this blogger is rather advancing from the status of  "Sartorius Ignoramus" :)

14 comments:

gils said...

avvvvvvvvvvvv......thala...enanchu ungaluku..FTV paathu figures site adikareenga nenacha..ipo kodu poata designa kattam poatta designaannu patti mandram vaikra alavuku poiteenga!!!! emi matter??!!

and bye the bye...why are you ignorant of the thigh muscle??? (ara kuraiya google adichathoda epect)

RS said...

//and bye the bye...why are you ignorant of the thigh muscle??? (ara kuraiya google adichathoda epect)//

Same doubt here :)

Imagine Gils in yellow shirt with vertical zig-zags and a green pant with horizontal zig-zags. (Going by the post) All for less than 100$. :P

gils said...

echuseme..athelaam galss sokkais..me wear only mickey mouse costume

Ramesh said...

@Gils - No sight adichching - only patti mandram type blah blah blah.

@RS - Poor Gils; you've joined the bandwagon too of Gils' favourite dress :):)

@Gils2 - Poor Gils. We hereby withdraw all comments on crazy dresses and admit that gils only wears impeccable creased black trousers, starched white shirt, a blue polka dot tie and a smart blazer. And of course silver cufflinks and a gold tie pin :):)

Reflections said...

"I would have bet before yesterday that Nobody in the US had heard of Missoni"

Somehow I doubt tht....demand doesnt just come out of nowhere. But yeah almost evrybody is a sucker for a sale esp if they've convinced themselves its genuine;-D

p.s: keep em coming Ramesh, I for one am totally FOR it. Business musings is already looking different, colorful pictures & all;-D

Deepa said...

A significant component of that thing called 'consumers' (call shoppers) is us ladies. That explains some of the unpredictability.

gils said...

avvvvvvvvvv..mikey costumey ok..ithu atha vida kodumaiya iruku

hemarao said...

Hmmm....zig zag lines on skirts and shirts!!
I guess it is a great marketing strategy. This design must have been a disaster at Missoni ( Heard for the first time. Nice music on their site but took too long to load. So skipped) and they must have figured out a way to get it off their back somehow.

On another note, it is so interesting to note what Net has done to the blogging media. Anyone reading your post would think that you are sitting in some cozy town of Austin or somewhere and maybe experienced the grand sale yourself!
Ofcourse, full credit to your superb presentation, as always.

A great topic for patti ( pun intended) mandram indeed!

Ramesh said...

@Reflections - Mmmm ; my "makeover" is working :):)

@Deepa - Ha Ha. The eternal mysteries of the female of the species !!

@gils - :)

@Hema - Ha Ha at the pun. Amazing isn't it - bloggers can blah blah on any topic as if they are experts.

Vishal said...

The photos that you put along with this post support Deepa's logic. In fact, the link of Missoni for Target range also shows only Rajalakshmis (looks like American Rajalakshmis). No wonder the "eternal mystery" of female species makes you loose the safest of the bet. Ha ha ha!

Ramesh said...

@Vishal - I was hesitant to make that jab on the female of the species, but now that you have made it, I can, but, endorse :)

rads said...

You seem to be obsessed with everything American whether raving or ranting...I'm not the crazy black friday shopper (I still do not understand what's the need to disturb your beauty sleep for a stupid sale that wud be restarted anyways on some other occasion)...I also believe in shopping for stuff only when u really need it...and i am a shop-a-holic...
I'd like to look at this brand in a more creative and arsty kind of way and aztec prints are cute on cardigans, in a very boho-chic way...its genius... and that is what i like about America, they have a way of appreciating creativity in every form...
And as to why it is famous, its on Vogue worn by a celebrity model and target is definitely a place to get designer brands at cheaper prices...these cardigans are like for 30$ and its vogue fashion so nobody can beat that...

Ramesh said...

@Rads - Like America a lot; hence its the subject of many of my posts. You can't "believe in shopping for stuff only when you need them" and also be a "shopoholic" at the same time. I thought that was a contradiction in terms !!

rads said...

@Ramesh: You can be a shopaholic and shop for stuff only when you need them...example: when I need a pair of jeans, I shop for one skinny, one straight cut, one boot cut, in white, blue, and red so finally I end up buying atleast two pairs of jeans when I could have done with one simple blue pair..so the thing here is I went shopping not becoz of a sale but becoz I needed something and I'm a shopaholic coz I bought two instead of one...i hope i didn't confuse u again...