Understanding Shopper Mentality

If you are considering a book signing, you should understand how people shop in different environments.


A destination shopping center is almost always a strip shopping center where all of the stores are entered from the outside, facing the parking lot.

If you’re interested in appearing at a local store that meets this description, sit in the parking lot for awhile and observe.

Destination means people know where they want to go. They drive to the shopping center, park as close to the door as possible, go into the store, shop, and come right back out, get in their car and leave. They don’t wander up or down the sidewalk. They don’t window shop. They don’t browse.

This is fine, as long as the book store is their intended destination.

There’s nothing wrong with appearing at a destination shopping center, but you have to go into it knowing that more marketing and publicity will be needed on your part. They will not just happen upon you. You have to make yourself their destination.

The best destination stores are the ones who have already invested a lot in promotion and marketing and who have already established a reputation as the place to go for buying books.


Shoppers go to malls to browse. The doors at mall stores are extra wide, giving the appearance that shoppers are all in one giant store. They don’t walk through the center of the mall with their heads straight ahead; they walk with them cocked to the side, looking at everything they happen to pass.

Mall buyers are browsers. They are more likely to be impulse buyers, because they’re more likely to see things they didn’t intentionally come to the mall to buy.

The best times for appearances at a mall store are during the holiday season or weekends. The best malls are those who are riding a growth cycle.

Some towns have quaint areas where shopping and restaurants are intermingled throughout whole city blocks, such as the Inner Harbor in Baltimore or the Riverwalk in Wilmington. Shoppers in these areas behave the same way mall shoppers do. The area is the attraction; it’s designed for browsing and whiling away an afternoon or evening.

This article is an excerpt from Take the Mystery out of Promoting Your Book by p.m.terrell (Palari Books, October 2006). Terrell is a successful author of 9 published books, including suspense/thrillers, non-fiction, and how-to books. Visit www.mysterypromotion.com for more tips and information.