Thoughts about attention in shopping environment

The other day I was in Waston’s to buy a new lip balm, and then I had these thoughts about shop attendees’ attention and whether it makes a difference in purchasing.  Just wanna throw it out there and see what other people would think about this.

So for you folks in the states, Waston’s is a chain store kinda like CVS, but more focus on cosmetic stuff.  They have a large variety of lip balm, to my surprise.  But most of them come from two brands, Metholeton and Shiseido.  Actually Metholeton is about 80% I would say.  It’s all very confusing cause there are like 10 different series with 3 or more variants in each. Each line has different flavors or just simply different “key words”, such as “Natural”, or “Moisturizing”.  But if you look at the package in detail, and try to find out how “natural” it really is, you can’t get any clue cause “Natural” lip balm basically says the same thing as “Moisturizing” lip balm.

Just after I stood there for 10 minutes and couldn’t decide which one to pick, one shop attendee came by and asked whether I want to try the “Shiseido” lip balm.  She briefly pointed out the “natural” and “extra moisturizing” types.

Me: What does “natural” mean?
Her: There’s no added color or scent in it.
Me: So your other lip balms all have added color??
Her: No they don’t either…
Me: What’s the point then…
Her: But it’s new product you should try it… here’s one with a gift mirror attached, it’s free.
Me: Fine…

So I bought that one lip balm with a gift mirror… I don’t even care about the gift mirror, but it’s just something to trigger the decision making.  I don’t care about lip balm that much, and I’m not even sure how long I’ll keep it in my pocket before I accidentally lose it or forget it somewhere… But this short conversation might have earned Shiseido some business and made Metholeton lose.

Okay back to the attention question.  If you come shop in China, you generally find yourself getting more attention than if you shop in US or other western countries.  Yes we have cheap labor so all the department stores can hire as many people as they want, but on the other hand, is it because Chinese consumers are used to having a lot of attention?  Do they expect to be served by real people more rather than browsing themselves?  Personally I hate having people following me everywhere I walk in the store and constantly asking “What can I get for you?” but I’m curious about other people’s thoughts…
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