Yesterday, the Science of Shopping group had an interview with Elyse Slayton at TJX, the overseeing company which runs off-price retailers such as TJ Max, Homegoods, and Marshall’s. She spoke with us about some common misconceptions about the companies: the products they sell are not cheaper because they have been manufactured badly or are defective, but instead because their manufacturers simply made too many for its retail stores. TJX then saves the companies the cost of these items by buying them at a lower price, and in turn, selling them to the consumer at a lower price.
This system presents an interesting problem for the advertising section of TJX. Companies like, say, Polo Ralph Lauren, will spend an entire ad campaign to justify the price of their products. While TJX advertises how they could sell these products at a fraction of the cost, the consumer would realize the large profit margin of these manufacturers. For this reason, Marshall’s, Homegoods and TJ Max are not allowed to state directly the products they have in stock, and instead must focus their ads on the process of TJX’s aquisitions, and allow consumer to draw their own conclusions.
But does this process work? Do the people who shop at a place like Marshalls understand how their products are available at such low prices? In order to find out, our group conducted a survey and questionnaire outside the Marshalls on Boylston Street. We wanted to conduct the survey inside of the store, but were turned down, as the manager thought that it would distract or annoy shoppers. We’re working on compiling our results, and they’ll be presented in our group’s final project.
Working in this amazing public library is fun...