the yellow-brick road to FBC

18/10/2012 § Leave a comment

Panoramic shot of FBC; centre store. Click to enlarge!

This is FBC, otherwise known as Foreign Buyer’s Club, a small international imported goods store. They do a lot of business with CA and they sell turkey to the Islanders during Thanksgiving. This is a short study of how the store works economically. Get ready for a huge pic-spam and let me take you through the whole store. (Also, that man in the panorama is lovely.)

This is a shot of the side-entrance of FBC. It’s directly linked to the library on the third floor of the building as well as a way to get into the Entente, the residential building FBC is located next to. The location of this entrance makes it easy for consumers who are residents of the Entente to come into the shop. Also, the front of this entrance has Halloween decorations and signs like “Sale” and canned goods as well as sweet goods (see that Snickers bag?) at the front to promote a drop in the price for the consumers. A presentation of a drop in price at the front of the door will convince consumers to come in, because there may be even more cheap goods inside.

This is right after the side-entrance of FBC. It’s bright and shiny and it’s filled with happy things and cartoons and toys – clearly it’s for children. Showing off this display right in front of the door will attract children’s attention – the colors are bright enough to do this. When children come in, so will parents.

I couldn’t get a closer shot at the counter but presented neatly in little baskets are multiple colorful goods – candies, jellybeans, gum, etc. Firstly, the color attracts the eye of the consumer and even as they’re finished shopping and ready to pay, when the goods are attractive to the eye, the consumers are more likely to look down at the goods, therefore more likely to buy them [than if they weren’t there at all]. Also, the prices are plastered right onto each of the goods in the entire store. This is, as we’ve learned, the Japanese government’s method of making sure their consumers know what the sales tax (indirect tax) is so they won’t be able to change their minds as they buy their products.

They don’t only do this with sodas – they do this with the muffins, too. FBC lets people drop ¥100 into that little orange cylindrical… thing… for a can of soda. ¥100 is actually pretty expensive for a can of soda, because in Daiei or in Costco Rejects (also located on the island; only about two to seven minutes away from FBC), you can buy a can of the exact same drinks for either ¥85 (Daiei, I think) and ¥50 (C.R.) but putting the price out here at ¥100 instead of the price of soda at the corner of the store (around ¥120 or ¥116?) makes the good look more appealing and look cheaper for the consumers.

These are the goods that aren’t really necessities but people still like to buy them. Personally, magazines are always expensive for me (I think in FBC the prices range from ¥600-800 but I can’t be too sure) but they are sort of inelastic goods in that no matter what the price is, people will still buy them because they are news and they keep people updated on the lives of celebrities (if that’s important) and magazines are just pretty huge – it’s communication. Putting these goods inside – the goods that consumers will buy no matter what the price change is (because they are insensitive to the price) – the store, right in the centre of the place will force consumers to walk towards the middle of the store and take a look around everything else, thus increasing the chances that they might buy something.

Completely opposite of the above, this section is right at the front door. It’s dark and shady and kind of dusty and hardly anyone goes here. Here is where all of the goods that no one really cares about are. These goods can be considered elastic because consumers will be sensitive to a price change – they don’t care all that much for glitter or paint or colorful streamers and signs so if the price rises, they’ll walk away.

Finally, we’ve made it to the entrance of the store. There’s a huge WELCOME sign there and a lot of the classical “100% something something something” sign that I see smacked all over FBC’s store all the time. It’s less inviting than the side-entrance door and that suggests that more people enter FBC through the side-entrance door. At the same time, the lighting is set up in a way that darkens the parts where the producers don’t want to remain. They instead light up the store as a sort of pathway leading to the centre of the store (where the counter is with the magazines, candy, soda, and the food that consumers actually want to buy). It’s like following the yellow-brick road.

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