Industry Eye: Shop Talk - Q&A; Web Content
Q&A With 'Shoptimism' Author, Lee Eisenberg
As the economy creeps back and holiday season is upon us, the $64,000 question is whether consumers will start buying again. Lee Eisenberg — best-selling author, former Lands' End executive and former Esquire editor — certainly thinks so. His new book, "Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What," released in October, explores Americans' love affair with shopping. All About ROI asked Eisenberg his thoughts behind the book and his outlook for all forms of retail.
All About ROI: What was your intent with ?the book?
Lee Eisenberg: Shopping and buying are activities we engage in every day, yet few of us have much insight why we do what we do and how what we do can be influenced by those in the business of selling us things.
So I take readers on what I believe is a lively and informative tour through both sides of the consumer universe. In the first half, we journey through what I call the "sell side" — that's your side: the world of marketers, consumer researchers, ad agencies, retailers of every description, even neuroscientists — in an effort to show how the various forces align. In the second half, I peer into what makes consumers tick: their love of the new and different, why men and women may behave differently in stores, why some are cheapskates and others shop with holes in their pockets.
AAROI: What's your take on shopping in 2010?
LE: Most people I've talked ?to have a far greater appreciation of value than they did just a few years ago. For example, women's fashion blogs are talking more about "cost per wear" than about whose designer label is attached to an item. One really positive development is how the internet has made prices more transparent, as well as given us all literally millions of personal shoppers who work on our behalf: consumers who buy various products then post reviews to either warn us against something or endorse an item's benefits and features. Bottom line: People are cutting down on spending, but there are tools at hand to enable everyone to spend smarter.