17.2 INFORMATION SEEKING AND INDICATIVE CUES
What information do shoppers seek in stores? An d what cues do they naturally and
implicitly give off that indicate their desire for information? We begin the discussion
by imagining and analyzing a simple hypothetical clothes-shopping scenario.
Cindy and her friend Julie walk into a clothing store. Cindy is looking for an
outfit for her date tomorrow evening. She walks around the racks, moving
throughout the store, glancing around to see if anything catches her eye. She
spots a black top with spaghetti straps that she imagines would perfectly match
her blue jeans at home. She pulls the top from the rack and takes a closer look.
Cindy calls to Julie to come take a look and asks “What do you think? I think
this will match my blue jeans.”
Julie smiles and replies as she points to a red top in the next rack, “That’s cute,
but what about this red top? I think this will make you look sexier for your date.”
Cindy considers and agrees. She takes both tops and enters the changing
room. She tries on the black top first and comes out to the atrium area to stand
in front of a three-way mirror. “Julie, this is top number one.”
Julie looks Cindy over and replies, “Okay.”
Then Cindy goes back into the changing room and puts on the red top. She
comes out, poses in front of the mirror, and says “This is number two. Which do
you think is prettier?”
“I think the black one looks more dressy, but the red one is cuter,” says her
Cindy looks at the mirror again and turns her body to the side so that she
can see her profile. “The red one is a little short and doesn’t cover my belly as
well. But it’s probably better if we go dancing after dinner. I wonder if there’s
one that’s a little longer or maybe a different color.” After considering for a
while, she goes back into the changing room and changes into the black top
again. She says to her friend, “Doesn’t this one hang better?”
“Yeah, it does, but the red one is cuter,” says her friend.
“I know. Wow, this one is $80! Let me try on the red one again,” says Cindy as
she walks into the changing room one more time.
17.2.1 Analysis of the Hypothetical Shopping Scenario
Let us analyze the information-seeking behavior in the shopping scenar io. Before
Cindy goes into the store, she has a goal in mind, which is to buy an outfit appropri-
ate for her date the next evening. The information she seeks is whether there is an
outfit in the store that will match her personal tastes for the occasion she has in
mind. Assuming she has no knowledge of the existing inventory in the store, and
since she has only a limited amount of time to shop, Cindy has devised a strategy
to first quickly look over the store’s entire inventory and then select a few of the
most eligible items.
17.2 Information Seeking and Indicative Cues 417