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How do Mindsets Change During a Shopping Trip?

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Where along a shopper’s path should a kiosk like this one go?

Observational research shows that shoppers change their behaviors during a single shopping trip in some interesting ways:

1. As people spend more time in the store, they become more purposeful, less likely to explore, and more likely to grab their familiar products.

2. After getting “virtue” categories (essentials), shoppers are more likely to head over to locations that carry “vice” categories (indulgences).

So even in a single trip type or purchase occasion, shoppers can go through several mindsets. (These results are from analysis of PathTracker data of 1,200 completed shopping
trips in supermarkets in the Eastern US.)

How might these behaviors impact your in-store strategies? Maybe a new product launch should be placed near the front of the shopper’s path. Maybe candy and small cosmetics would do better near checkout than razors and dental floss. Maybe retailers should reconfigure stores to funnel shoppers towards virtues first and vices later.

And a kiosk like the one above? Well, would you want to start surfing natural products when the frozen foods are melting in your cart?

If you’re into hierarchical Bayesian models, read the full paper: Hui, Bradlow andamp; Fader (2009) Journal of Consumer Research 36:479-493.

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