A Crash Course in Creativity Stanford.eduAssignment 2 – Observation Lab Richard Powers Oxford, Mississippi
StoresOxford, MS. Square University Square Neilson’s Off Square Stash Square Books Sporting Books Department Books Goods Jr. StoreBefore you enter the store:Does the store draw you in? If Neat old Yes Yes Yes Yes Yesso, how? building inviting inviting colorful interesting friendlyIs the door open or closed? closed open closed closed open openHow does this make you feel? NA NA NA NA NA NAHow big is the sign lettering Large Large Large Medium Medium Mediumand in what font?What does it tell you about Old Old Old Old Unique Interestingthe store? Est. 1839 Environment:What is the color scheme of Red & Blue neutral neutral neutral neutral neutralthe store? How does this Ole Missaffect you?
How high is the 20 ft 20ft 30ft 30ft 30ft 60ftceiling? How does Open Open Open Open Open Openthis feel?How brightly lit is Light - open Light Light Light Dark Mediumthe store? How inviting Very inviting comfortable comfortable Invitingdoes this affectyou?How loud is the quiet quiet quiet quiet quiet quietenvironment?What is causing the stereo none none none none nonenoise?Is there music Music Yes No No Yes, large Noplaying? If so, does Top 40 yes Childrens Screen TV,it fit the yes yesenvironment?Is the store warm neither neither neither neither neither neitheror cold?Is the store crowed crowded crowded crowded crowded crowded crowdedwith merchandiseor is it sparse?Does the store have Yes, clothes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yesa distinctive smell? Books expensive Books expensive BooksWhere is the cash By entrance Close to entrance Several around Center Right of Center rear Center Left ofregister located? store store storeHow visible is the Not seen Not seen Not seen Not seen Not seen Not seenstore security?How long do you 20 min 20 mins 30 mins 30 mins 20 mins hourswant to stay in thisstore?Does the yes yes yes yes yes yesenvironmentinfluence theperceived value ofthe merchandise?
Personnel:How long does it take before a seconds seconds seconds One minute seconds None did –sales person initiates contact? Casual atmosphereDoes the salesperson have a No No No No No Noscript to follow with eachcustomer?Does the salesperson treat No No No No No Nodifferent customersdifferently?What is the ratio of 1 to 2 1 to 1 3 to 1 1 to 1 1 to 1 1 to 5salespeople to customers?What age and gender are the 30 F 40 F 40’s M & F 50’s M & F 60’s M & F 40’s M & Femployees?Are the salespeople using the Yes NA Yes NA NA NAstore products?Do the salespeople have a No No No No No Nouniform?Do the salespeople match the Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yesstores image?
Products:What is the first Ole Miss Books & Clothes Books Furniture Booksproduct that you shirt Postersnotice?Is there a central yes Yes Yes Yes No Yesdisplay table withfeatured products?Where are items yes yes Yes Yes No Yesthat are “for sale”located in the store?How are the Function By children’s Function By type of book Not arranged By type of bookproducts arranged? ages Depts. Eye appealBy function? Byprice? By color?Are there free no no no no no nosamples ordemonstrations?What products are at apparel books clothes books Décor Items & bookseye level? FurnitureWhat items in the shoes toys Glassware Some books Goods on Some booksstore are in the least Homeware wallsaccessible locations? itemsWhere are the most Front -Back of Least in NA – everything Equally spread NA – everything Equally spreadand least expensive store Back of store expensive through store expensive through storeproducts located?Are the prices of the yes no yes yes yes yesproducts easy tofind?Are there impulse yes yes yes yes no yesitems near the cashregister?
Customers:Are most customers alone or alone alone alone alone alone alonewith someone else? What isthe relationship?What is the average age and 40’s 60’s 40’s 40’s 60’s 40’sgender of the customers? M&F M&F M&F M&F F M&FWhen a customer enters the yes yes yes yes yes yesstore, do they tend to walk inthe same path or direction? -How long do customers stay in 20 mins 20 to 30 mins 30 mins 30 mins 15 mins 1 hourthe store, on average?Do customers touch the Yes, yes Yes, yes Yes, yes Yes, yes Yes, yes Yes, yesproducts? Is this encouraged?Do most customers appear to browsing browsing browsing browsing browsing browsingbe on a mission or are theybrowsing?What percent of customers 50% 80% 60% 50% 20% 50%purchase products in thestore?
Other Observations:My observations were done at six stores located around the town square inOxford, Mississippi ( pop. 20,000 ) in North Central Mississippi. It is the homeof Ole Miss and I feel that and the history of the authors here (William Faulkner,John Grisham, and others) have definitely affected the type and quality of thebook stores I visited. Also, most of the buildings are dated back to the 1860’safter the Civil War, as I was informed by a local: “the Yankees burned the townto the ground in 1864”.Security – If there, it wasn’t noticeable in any of the stores.Note: I did my observance at store opening time on a mid-week day, so I feel that effected my responses. Again, this is small town America!Insights and New Opportunities:Location, location, location as realtors say. The property around the OxfordSquare is high dollar property with extremely high dollar rents, therefore goodsand services are expensive. I think the most educational creative thing Ilearned was from how the book stores competed with the chain stores and theInternet. Each provided something unique, Square Books – book signings andparties for authors, Off Square Books – Thacker Mountain PBS Radio Show, with localmusic, authors and commentary, and Square Books Jr. – reading clubs for children throughteens, with readings by authors. In conclusion, it was an interesting exercise.