Several years ago, we described six ways that supermarkets boost what we buy.
Now, we can add two more.
Two More Facts About How Stores Boost Buying
1. Because we are used to squat cans, a skinny one stands out.
The next time you buy S.Pelligrino or Heinegan Beer, the reason could be a can that grabbed your attention. Unlike the squat kind, according to marketing gurus, skinny cans are more elegant. Also, they (reputedly) can make us feel visual delight and expect something new and healthier.
Then, on the supply side, manufacturers tell us that skinny cans cut costs. They are easier to transport because they take up less room, Correspondingly, when more fit on a shelf, stores can restock them less frequently.
2. After a cup of espresso, we buy more.
In a recent study, researchers compared buying behavior among consumers in Spain and France that were given a glass of water, a decaf drink, or an espresso. The people that drank the espresso bought more goods, especially stuff they did not need. Explaining their behavior, a University of South Florida marketing professor said it was the dopamine. Caffeine can stimulate our brain to release the dopamine that elevates energy, increases impulsivity, and reduces self control.
Our Bottom Line: Shopping Nudges
Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler and his co-author Cass Sunstein tell us that we go through life influenced by nudges that shape our behavior. A behavioral economist calls the phenomenon choice architecture. Indeed, through free coffee, music, transport, and product placement, the “architecture” of a store affects how much money we spend.
Oddly though, in the University Of South Florida study, European consumers bought more scented candles.
My sources and more: Today’s update on shopping nudges started with WSJ’s skinny can article. Then, I recalled their column on caffeine, found a description of the original study, and we had our synergy. However, you might just enjoy listening to this Freakonomics episode on Trader Joe’s.