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“Don't Sell Things, Sell Effectsâ€: Overseas Influences in New Zealand Department Stores, 1909–1956

Evan Roberts

Business History Review, 2003, vol. 77, issue 2, 265-289

Abstract: In the years before World War II, New Zealand department stores became increasingly influenced by American ideas about salesmanship. This involved a shift away from British precepts about retailing, which discouraged initiative by sales-people and emphasized service. Stores that adopted American ideas were trying to become more competitive and began to appeal to working- and middle-class consumers. They imported the concept of “suggestion selling†and the idea of pushing complementary goods. New Zealand merchants modified American methods by relying on the use of manuals and bulletins to train salespeople and, unlike American stores, did not introduce commission payment schemes.

Date: 2003
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