Bracketing Retail Purchases


I was shopping with the wifus this weekend and she bought our son two pairs of basketball sneakers for Christmas (He’s not a reader, so don’t worry about the surprise).  She bought him a size 10.5 and an 11. In commercial photography this process is called bracketing; meaning getting two different exposures just to make sure you get the right one.  In retail this bracketing is, apparently, pretty common too.  After the actual gifting, the size (color?) that doesn’t fit is returned.

Doesn’t this reduce selection for the other shoppers, I wondered out loud.  She said everybody does it.  Were I in the retail business I’d frown upon this big time. It encourages returns, reduces the stock availability, and makes lines longer; especially during the holiday. To me this practice seems like a real revenue suck.

Wifus, who may be one of the world’s best, most thoughtful shoppers, disagrees.  “When I come back to return, I’m likely to buy something else.”  Upon prompt she said she probably bought something incremental half the time.  I’m not sold.  Were I a retailer, I’d still stop bracketing immediamente! And I bet it would bottom line positive. You thought? Peace!