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Online Retailers and the Drunk Customer Market

A lot of good, horrifying stories begin with “I was drunk, so I got on the Internet…” and go downhill from there. Some people even shop online while sloshed:

“I have my account linked to my phone, so it’s really easy,” said Tiffany Whitten, of Dayton, Ohio, whose most recent tipsy purchase made on her smartphone — a phone cover — arrived from Amazon much to her surprise. “I was drunk and I bought it, and I forgot about it, and it showed up in the mail, and I was really excited.”

And online retailers have noticed:

At QVC, the television shopping channel, traffic and viewers rise around noon, then quiet down until after 7 p.m. Then items like cosmetics and accessories sell briskly. “Call them girl treats — they seem to attract a really strong following once you get past dinnertime,” said Doug Rose, senior vice president for multichannel programming and marketing for the company. “You can probably come to your own conclusion as to what’s motivating her.”

Still, the nighttime spike requires delicacy among retailers: for reasons of propriety, they do not want to be seen as encouraging drunken shopping, and many people who inadvertently buy products in that state would most likely return them at high rates. On the other hand, a happy customer can lead to higher sales.

“In a shopping context, alcohol would lift people’s moods and make them feel more relaxed,” said Nancy Puccinelli, an associate fellow at the Oxford’s Saïd Business School who studies consumer behavior. “If we see a product and we feel good, we will evaluate the product more positively.”

Link -via Marginal Revolution | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user somegeekintn

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Date
December 30th, 2011

Author
Stranger to the World

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