From time to time a researcher has the opportunity to see their earlier ideas combine in a way that brings the current subject of study into sharper focus. This was the case as I sat down to write an issue of my occasional online publication, Views on the World of Shoppers, Retailers, and Brands. As I thought about my endeavors to look at shopping from a strictly scientific point of view—but, at the same time, with tremendous commercial significance—three earlier ideas came together and brought into focus the issue of navigability through stores.

Before exploring each of these ideas, let’s set the scene with a single shopper purchasing a single item (see Figure I.1). All of retail, whether bricks or clicks, builds on this as the ...

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