This is the story of two shopping malls and the men behind them - the men who manipulate our surroundings in such a way that we can't help but impulse buy. One lulls us into submission so we buy on the way out. The other dazzles us so much that we have to buy in order to get out.

And this, naturally, leads to theme parks. The mouse-father of them all.

The Gimme Episode. Go on, gimme.

ListenTranscriptSubscribe (iTunes). Follow (TuneIn). Listen (Soundcloud). Listen (Stitcher).

United Kingdom


00:00:00best is the story of two shopping malls and how they have led to a world in which everything is personalized
00:00:09this is the end of us
00:00:14in consumer psychology there are four general areas that interest the researcher the person buying what they're buying the message around that thing and the environment in which the by neck hurts I'm going to talk about only one teeny little part of consumer psychology how to manipulate the environment to get a customer to act on impulse when Victor Gruen moved to Los Angeles in 1941 he landed in the center of a city in the midst of urban sprawl perfect playground for an architect you fancy a little bit of an urban designer heat arrived on the wrong side of its 1930s Art Deco Heyday LA's burgeoning car culture was about to spawn fast food in the drive through the spectacular downtown that's pedestrian three ways and theater line Boulevard for emptying out if people escaped to the suburbs in the cooler Hills
00:01:12Bruins famously despise the car and he like other people saw this new road technology is the scourge of communities the destroyer of those serendipitous encounters that make up the great cities of the world less philosophically he thought it created clusters of shops that didn't particularly encourage cross-pollination people drove to strip malls they Park they picked up and they drove away so when our austrian-born Urban architect was given carte blanche the new kind of consumer market place he looked back to his formative years and Vienna and fabricated of physicality that would Inspire but still fit with the American Sensibility
00:01:53where did he build this Opus Edina Minnesota
00:01:59Southland Mall was remarkable for many reasons but just to give you a heads up all of its Innovations live under the single banner of trying to get people to Stay Awhile his answer to the impulse buy was to reimagine the town center by creating a watering hole that would attract retailers and consumers and a kind of biodynamic ecosystem you would recognize this first project because ruin was so successful with Southland Mall that its design was replicated across the u.s. and the rest of the world it excluded the car completely naturally the shopping arcade was pedestrian-only which meant that people had to bump up against one another and so it became a social space rather than somewhere that was purely functional
00:02:41his architectural Vision was also very inclusive everything was visible from everywhere and Pathways and escalators or right at his heart it would become a home-away-from-home algic reflection of consumerism gone by the underlined model of the Gruen strategy is the traditional community and the everyday life of small provincial cities or european historical towns enriched by elements of Disneyland's Main Street I know style drawer for Community you can trust architectural forms record the past and people sent its streets consumers I'm looking for the Lost order and the coherence of a bygone World in Disneyland like shopping centers people have the allusion to be the focus and the very center of the city the underlying design principle is to make people feel like the true viewers Renaissance Man sketch by Leonardo who is the center of the universe he can muster
00:03:41that was psychologically projected onto the retail shops that operated there by your stress to the mall because the architecture encourage them to the store whose image is most congruent with the image she has of herself that means the customer is in our comfort zone and she will buy more and more and more
00:04:04but that also means that the fickle in the social nature of personal identity who we think we are will determine the precursors to impulse buying
00:04:13nowadays gurdas Eternal spring time malls have decayed or have become dramatically reimagined the identity of the Shopper and shifted away from the more pleasant nostalgic time does something a little bit more Dynamic and hedonistic enter John gurda
00:04:32Georgia also went West in pursuit of his American Dream finding his people in Venice Beach California to capturing the impulse by was pure Venice cacophony overstimulation constant Freakshow
00:04:47couldn't be more different congruent I've actually made a pilgrimage to one of George Lopez is not far from the Southland Mall near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and st. Paul from the outside it looks like a normal shopping experience giant concrete cars in the outside but on the inside well there's a roller coaster
00:05:22the Mall of America is the journey invasion of consumption of Silence snowboard of unrelenting stimulation and overarching excitement and if roller coasters aren't your thing at the Mall of America you can also get married on the top floor and follow your ceremony with an actual and perhaps symbolic scuba dive with the sharks of the basement aquarium it is so big and its retail space Loops by the time you pass your third QVC you just have to have that thing that you've seen on TV
00:05:57so where has Gruen tried to low you into a sense of submission to get YouTube on your way out. I love you so you are so disoriented the you have to buy in order to get out this rapidly became the new architecture of social change everything became a spectacle from the Jordan design Bellagio in Vegas and that giant pirate ship down the strip the other Opus the Universal CityWalk in Southern California is a busy noisy Metropolitan Street the design is aim was to create a veritable Urban atmosphere and provide the experience of a full immersion into Metropolitan Life without the drawbacks the main motivating factor is not Nostalgia but amplification bombardment of the senses entertainment the means by which CityWalk changes the most in Fleming into an addictive consumer
00:06:53City attic and shopping at it turned out to be one in the same the creator of experience architecture took a very contemporary approach to how the individual would identify with the space the rather than placing him at the center the god of the mall the individual is here assumed into this kind of collective the social identity becomes more important than impulse shopping who won is is part of the group in this particular situation in this physical contact the consumer explosion of overstimulation The Dazzle makes it easy to convince someone to buy because after all there is a reason for a giant pirate ship or a spectacular array of dancing fountains the phonetic entertainment the lights the sound the overwhelmed that appears to rain on the Vegas Strip is there an actually bamboozle you into thinking that you form a greater part of this consumerist phenomenon than you actually are when your identity is alleviated by the party atmosphere you
00:07:53will conform to the cues that surround you it's absolutely not an accident someone of course is in control in the background pulling the strings
00:08:03it may be that Jared is ideas are a swing too far in the other direction if every time you went out to buy new socks or a copy of the newspaper and the environment you were in was trying to keep you off kilter you would be exhausted and here's another thing the way that we act on impulse is actually culturally determined person individualist emphasis on the self individual needs and desires encourages impulsive buying behavior in two dependents emotional control in moderation and group needs and desires discourage impulse buying Behavior buying impulsiveness equal measure with individualist they suppress the straight impulse and act in a manner that is consistent with cultural norms in this case would you sing their impulsive buying Behavior which is Ben Cartwright's is a highly individualistic emotionally-charged Behavior so up here dirty an approach doesn't work for everyone
00:09:03yet nowadays consumers come to things in the digital world not something that's hyperlocal that you can drive to and they come from all over the world so perhaps we might want to find a third way and one indeed has emerged that combines the two the solution however isn't shopping malls what has the parochial safe space of a traditional Main Street and a tightly managed confusion of a dirty space
00:09:34Disneyland Disney have taken their manipulation of the impulse buy one step further than the mall approach because they have a r e involved the customer in they are fictional reality they've actually asked the question how do we Disney know what they are customers want in order to create an environment that adopts it's grew in this and it's Jordan s in real time
00:09:57Disney of course we're not the first people to ask this check this out for insight retail stores are in a position to make a continuous Market survey by simply listening to what people come in to tell them I'm recording the request articles that cannot be supplied the proper attention to such request which are in effect buying behavior wouldn't need help to measure the demand for well-known articles but would provide the best possible indication you can see Miss future buying habits in regard to new fashions the wise procedure is to detect to Mom's as soon as they crystallize on the simplest method for doing this is to record and watch the one switch customers Express and that was written in 1932
00:10:38fast forward to now and as you know tracking your customer is standard practice online we use cookies and begins and all that kind of thing and it's shopping malls and sometimes in the High Street we track cell phones as people wander around and Disney they go even further than that their guests are given these extraordinary wrist bands that have RFID chips in geolocation Center that track them even before they enter the park this is a very real scenario you want to go to Disneyland you buy your tickets online you're also offered The Wristband one of those cute brightly colored plastic things that you can personalize we can give to your kids ahead of time ramps up the excitement link to your family profiles and each band belongs to one person with their preferences their menu choices that ride times are special bonus activity
00:11:27and of course there are all associated with a credit card yours
00:11:32the big Disney day arrives rather than deal with a paper or electronic ticket you're welcome to the gate by name and you are Usher through come on in you click your band into the Mickey Beacon and voila you are part of the Disney Borg you glide through the rides you high-five the characters who sings you know you asking questions about you you pick up merchandise wave your wristband at the cashier feels like you are the only person at the park the world have been made just for you it is literally magic or really it's cleverly integrated and not at all creepy in this context data mining that is part of a social contract that monitors you and your family in exchange for a never better personalized experience
00:12:20but you might think this is super cool but of course it is complicated because not everybody likes High / personalization as what that cultural question about impulse buying or maybe a cultural implication for this kind of tree Disneyland Shanghai open just a few weeks ago and so as we speak those Disney data scientist to probably find out the answer to this question one day they might even publish the results
00:12:45the reason the online space is so complex is that unlike a 1950 shopping mall or a 1980 shopping mall or a 2016 Disneyland Shanghai the online world is Creed not only by content producers but by its audience as well the equivalent would be a Disneyland that handed everyone a spanner along with their magic band and told them on their way in that they're free to build their own rides as well and this perhaps is where consumer psychologist realize that they are breaking new ground that the billions of dollars in Commerce and entertainment that have been inspired by Gruen and Jada and Disney pay Linda insignificant but the in measurable social influence in the online environment
00:13:30this is been the end boss
00:13:35it's produced by me Alex cutkosky the research you heard today comes from the mines and writings of John domanico Amendola in urban mindscapes of Europe Piere Martinez 1958 article the personality of the retail store and Julie Lee's the influence of culture on consumer impulsive buying behavior and Henry see links very early the new psychology of selling and advertising voice and editorial support come from Ben hammersley and sound design by Katie mcmurrin if you like what you hear then please write us on iTunes it really does help us get in front of our crowd thanks for listening

Transcribed by algorithms. Report Errata
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Aleks Krotoski, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.


Thank you for helping to keep the podcast database up to date.