Old-fashioned metrics in shop windows: the Sherlock Holmes’s method

The Sherlock Holmes character, famous for combining smarts /acumen/ cunning, scientific methods and deductive logics, unraveled crimes practically unsolvable for the Metropolitan Police of London, the Scotland Yard in the novels by physician and writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

But which is the relation between a detective and a shop window?



"The small details are always the most important." 

Sherlock Holmes Quote
- A Case of Identity


"You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear."

Sherlock Holmes Quote
- A Scandal in Bohemia


In the mid 1980’s, an Argentinian shoe vendor known as Mr. Miguel, got inspired by the Sherlock Holmes’s tales to create a way to identify which products displayed in the shop windows were most desired by his customers.

Photo of the main shop window of the shoe store Oreck’s,  in the 1980’s

The technique consisted in counting the number of fingerprints left on the shop’s windows daily. After the count, the products that were closer to the regions where there were more prints had their prices increased and the other products had their prices reduced.

This simple but intelligent technique allowed the price adjustment as a function of the customer’s desires, leading the salesman to obtain margins up to 30% bigger than his competitors.

Genius, isn’t it?

Posted on 05/15/2013

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