K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Apr 16 2012

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Why we buy kitchens

Paco Underhill wrote an excellent book titled Why We Buy. It deals with motivations for purchases for a range of products. It is touted as the science of purchasing, since Mr. Underhill uses many methods to collect data, including filming consumers during the buying process.

Related studies have shown an emergence of neuro-marketing where researches are able to measure a neurological response to a product or brand. Here, there is no interpretation, since actual brain waves are measured in response to stimuli.

While we can’t place our clients into CAT scans (yet), the fact remains that unlocking the motivation for the purchase is the key to the sale. Here again, the design is a means to the end: certainly not unimportant, but mostly meaningless if we haven’t yet uncovered why they are buying.

If someone is shopping for a car and mentions safety as being important, the salesperson should show their safest model or emphasize the safety traits of the model of interest. The same remains for a kitchen purchase.

I once had a client who I was interviewing for a kitchen remodel (notice, I said interviewing). During the discussion, he asked if he could make a quick call. He ended up calling his brother and asked him how big his kitchen was (can you say kitchen envy?). The keys to the kingdom were in front of me.

Now, most clients are not quite so obvious. We know that many who shop for a kitchen may do little actual cooking. We can cut to that answer by asking what sort of cooking do they like to do: baking, family meals, entertainment, etc. And the key follow-up question: How many cooks will use this space?

If we find that they really don’t like to cook, we need to probe deeper. They could swing on the pendulum from “I really don’t care since I’m just trying to unload this house” to “I want to keep up with the Joneses.”  Of course, we would prefer the latter.

And when all was said and done, we would provide them with a design that gives them health, safety and welfare that they deserve in their final product. All the while without having to put them into a CAT scan.

—Nick Ritota

This entry was posted on Monday, April 16th, 2012 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business, Inspiration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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