Thursday, August 27, 2015

Forget About Letting Shoppers Forget to Buy

One of the more puzzling findings in the history of consumer behavior research came from Duke University, UCLA, and University of Florida: People who carry around the store shopping lists they created in advance—the consumer trying to remember what they need and what the store carries—end up more likely to make purchases they will later regret than do people who don’t make a shopping list in advance.
     Probably for as long as retailing has existed, shoppers have been advised to compose a list before entering the store. The shopping list protects against unwise impulsive purchases, it’s said. With list in hand, the shopper can relax enough to have fun, knowing they’ll get what they need, but not much more.
     How could it be that making a shopping list wouldn’t be a good idea? The most common explanation has been that creating a shopping list from memory uses mental energy. Every shopper has a limited pool of mental energy, and when a great deal of it is consumed in making the list, there is less mental energy remaining to resist the foolish, unhealthy, even sinful items.
     But a good shopping list has an important function beyond protecting against impulsive purchases. It also checks that the consumer won’t forget to buy the items they came for. Recent studies at Cornell University, University of Sydney, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, and Erasmus University took this perspective with studies that culminated in recommendations for retailers how to help ensure shoppers remember to buy what is needed and wanted while the shopper is still in the retailer’s store.
     The studies found that the items most likely to be forgotten are the ones purchased infrequently. The retailer can help by placing reminders of these items in store areas generally visited by shoppers. Because good business advice is to stock best sellers in higher traffic areas, the reminders to be used for the less popular items probably shouldn’t be the items themselves. Instead, remind via a picture along with a note of the item’s location in the store. Signage for these relatively infrequently bought items should take priority over signage for frequently bought items, since the shopper is more likely to remember they’ve forgotten with habitual purchases.
     All this decreases dependence on the shopping list. That’s fine, for surveys conclude most people, and especially the increasingly common time-stressed consumers, don’t prepare a shopping list in advance anyway.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Influence Shopping List Behavior
Encourage Stimulus-Based Shopping Lists
Tempt the Right Shoppers in the Right Ways

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