I took Sheryl to Monsieur VRAC yesterday enroute to Walmart, which though a horrid store has a selection of goods we often like to buy.
We walked out of Monsieur VRAC without buying anything. The store is clean, brightly light, sparsely populated with goods*, and with polite sales people who are there to guide you through your experience in the store. The only fault you might find is the quantity of goods is too small.
And yet though we had need, we didn’t buy.
For us the reasoning was simple. The pricing of all the goods we looked at were far higher than what we would pay elsewhere and with no indication that what we would be purchasing is of better or even equivalent quality. This isn’t the Bulk Barn who advertise falsely that by buying in bulk from them you save money. But they are still selling commodity goods at premium prices. So why would you pay more for something, in one instance twice as much, than what you pay elsewhere?
The in store experience might be a factor, but ordering goods via my mobile, exactly when I need them is a better experience for me in this case. A good shopping experience is more akin to discovery, and the joy of being in a store is an activity in itself. A good bookstore might have helpful staff (who recommend things), a calming environment, a rotating selection of interesting items to find, and good coffee to drink while you consider your purchases.
I think more likely what you purchase from Monsieur VRAC is the belief that you are doing something positive. That by buying from them you are making a difference in some small way – reducing packaging waste, participating in a “zero waste lifestyle.” It seems more emotional, then tangible. You feel connected with something.
It’s an interesting study in creating an experience based business around commodity products.
*which generally means the goods will be more expensive.