According to a recent edition of the Harvard Review, if you alert people to some behaviour undertaken by others in a similar situation, then they too will tend to conform to that behaviour. The classic example is saying ‘most people who stayed in this room reused their towels’. The example cited has to be true, of course.
Websites like Amazon encourage people to make online purchases in this way by collecting and publishing data about how many bought what from each page.
Today’s invention is a system which applies this to support bricks and mortar shops in a mall, for example. It would simply consist of an electronic display at the doorway stating “We are proud that X% of people who shopped here today are returning customers” (a figure derived from the credit and store card data from tills across the establishment).
This would predispose folk to being in buying mode and help promote sales under difficult conditions.