As we head into the holiday season, we need to have faith in the fact that shoppers will soon be coming into our stores, money in hand, to make our cash registers jingle happily with sale after sale. (I’ve been in retailing since back when registers actually did ring when the cash drawer opened, but that fine tradition seems to be lost in this era of beeping POS systems.)

There is a book making its debut next week that should make comforting night-time reading for all retailers: Shoptimism: Why The American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What, by Lee Eisenberg.  Described as “an entertaining guided tour through the parallel worlds of selling and buying,” Eisenberg’s book explores how marketing, retailing, advertising, and consumer-research forces take aim at the American buyer, then delves into to the psychology of buying.

This section promises to be the most useful to retailers, as it gives insights — probably some more scientific than others — into why we buy. (If you haven’t read Paco Underhill’s important book by that title yet, please add that one to your nightstand as well.)

According to the pre-press materials, Shoptimism includes a discussion of how critics of consumption are too often quick to levy a guilty verdict on the American buyer, ignoring how consumption can be a pathway to self-expression, creativity, and even provide a lasting personal legacy.  Yes!

Lee Eisenberg spent the last few years researching the retail world by interviewing shoppers and industry experts (he even worked at a Target store for a time, which had to have been an interesting experience for the former president of Lands’ End and editor-in-chief of Esquire).

It is essential that we do all we can to understand buyer psychology, and to appeal to the aspects of the shopping experience that makes our customers feel good. I look forward to seeing what Lee Eisenberg has to say about why the American consumer keeps shopping, and how I can apply it to keeping those consumers shopping in my store.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder