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Never take me to Hong Kong

Philip who runs a favorite toy blog of mine, Battlegrip, is currently on a trip in Hong Kong for some sort of toy convention. He’s writing about it as he goes and more so he’s posting photos. All I can say is never take me to Hong Kong.

Toy store heaven

If you’ve ever been to the Ohio State Fair been to the famed Junk Barn, I think you’ll have an idea of how some of the toy stores in Hong Kong look. It’s complete, wonderful chaos…only this time it’s ALL TOYS. One photo alone should be enough to give you a feel and if you’re a toy person then your mind instantly went to dreams where you’re roaming the endless, cluttering aisles grabbing toys by the handful.

Seeing the photos then got me thinking about how we shop…for anything, although shopping for toys is always more fun. Most retail places present their products a nice and orderly, even in the botique/speciality stories that sell one type of product. We browse the shelves, grab what we need and be done without thinking anything about it. Orderly products creates orderly shopping. I think that means minimal shopping.

The thrill of the hunt

I bet a cluttered store keeps people shopping longer and buying more. Think about when you see a clearance shelf or cart at the store. It’s not organized but you’ll see people flocking to it…why? Because there’s a deals there, right? Supposedly but more so I think the clutter creates a feeling of finding the diamond in the rough. You’ll see that one-off product you didn’t notice anywhere else in the store and grab it, even if the deal isn’t so great. It’s like digging for treasure…regardless if you really need the item you’re just overjoyed to have found it.

So now apply this theory to an entire store. I look at that Hong Kong toy store and know I could spend hours upon hours there. Every nook and cranny is filled with toys…in the box, out of the box…just laying there waiting. There’s probably very little order to things. I doubt there’s an action figure aisle or a toy car aisle…they’re all mixed together…and that creates the fun of the hunt.

Just like at a flea market or garage sale, you’ll spend more time combing through the stuff somehow knowing the one item you’re really wanting but not expecting is there. And it’ll probably be cheap to boot.

Of course a cluttered store doesn’t make for efficient shopping. No, this type of organization (or lack thereof) is no good for essentials, like groceries, medicine, etc. It’s only going to work for single-product retail stores. Toy stores, electronics, video games, beauty stores, book stores (maybe me), candy stores, shoe stores are all good candidates. Think about your local video game store (not GameStop). It’s probably a hole and has a little bit of everything. I say disorganize your products a bit and let people find what they want and then some. You’ll keep people in your store longer and I bet they’ll walk out with more money spent, far more than they were planning.

Will clutter make you buy more?

Another thing about Hong Kong is that is sounds pretty cheap. A toy marked at $30 in HK dollars is probably only like $8 in US dollars. That’s a dangerous combination: endless toy store and cheap prices. I’d need to check a second piece of luggage on the return flight just for toys!

If you’re a toy fan or collector, make sure to stop over at Battlegrip and check out his posts, they’re all top notch with lots of photos. If nothing else, stop by the Hong Kong set of photos and imagine yourself in the middle of a toy store that could very well have any toy you’ve ever wanted. He’s on Twitter too.