Design Element
Comment on "The Land of Empty Boxes"
by Ben — Dec 03
Shelf presence, and shelf space, in a standard retailer, is an incredibly valuable resource for the maker of a product. It's the final front in point-of-sale marketing, where a customer in there to compare, say, video game systems for Christmas presents is going to be impressed (in the old-fashioned sense) by the one that takes over their field of vision. Nintendo might even be paying a kickback in the form of a lower wholesale price to Toys R Us for the amount of shelf space they get. That kind of thing is not at all uncommon.

Whether the boxes are empty or not is a decision that is made much later in the pipeline, by the "loss prevention" people. Looks like everyone succeeded: you didn't steal a Wii, but you're here talking about it because its shelf presence made an impression on you.

Finally, Apple Store != Toys R Us. Apple is the manufacturer of most of the products it sells at retail, so they can take a holistic approach to the store layout and design. Toys R Us doesn't have that luxury, nor the motivation.

You might think that this whole system is a little silly, and you might be right, but that's the free market economy in action.
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