Att lotsa runt kunderna i butiken en så lång sträcka som möjligt har varit ett populärt sätt att få kunderna att tillbringa mer tid i butiken. Därmed är tanken att de spontanhandlar mer. Men tjänar butiksinnehavaren på det i slutänden? Professor Magnus Söderlund från Handelshögskolan i Stockholm har en annan slutsats i denna artikel.
It is well-known that many retail purchases by consumers are unplanned, particularly when it comes to grocery shopping. The decision to purchase certain items is often born on the shop floor, not prior to entering the store.
But why is this? One reason is that few people plan their shop ahead using a shopping list so they are more easily influenced by products within the store. A consumer’s buying experience is also influenced by the environment within the store itself. The 360 degree nature of a store has the potential to influence each and every one of a consumer’s senses. This can prove to be much more persuasive than any marketing messages sent to them before they enter a store. Whatever the influencing factors are, increases in unplanned spending represent a very attractive source of revenue during what continue to be difficult times for retailers. So, what could be done by retailers to increase these unplanned purchases?
A classic assumption is that the longer the in- store travel distance becomes, the more likely it is that the consumer becomes exposed to additional items. Exposure is a prerequisite for a purchase – so what cannot be seen cannot be purchased.
Many retailers have therefore experimented with activities like deliberately allocating shelf space to a particular part of the store so that the in-store paths for customers become longer, like putting the milk at the back of the shop, exposing consumers to more products.
Department stores are also designed so that customers have to walk from one side of the store to the other in order to ascend or descend multiple floors on the escalator. IKEA’s “forced walk store design” where consumers have to cover the entire store from the entrance to the checkout is also a clever example of how their purchasing decisions are inadvertently influenced.
To date, few academic studies have actually demonstrated a link between in-store travel distance and unplanned purchases. The main reason for this is that it isn’t easy to measure these two variables. However, a recently published study appears to have accomplished exactly that.
In the study, comprising 275 shoppers in a US grocery store, researchers measured in-store travel distance by using radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags on the shoppers. This allowed almost exact measurements to be taken of the distance they covered. Next, the levels of unplanned purchases versus planned purchases were assessed using entry and exit interviews.
The study was able to confirm the assumption amongst many retailers that the longer the in-store travel distance, the greater the share of unplanned purchases. It even identified that unplanned spending rose by approximately $2.54 per shopper when their travel path increased by 10 per cent.
The researchers also made an attempt to assess the effectiveness of a novel strategy to make the in- store travel distance longer for consumers, using mobile telephone in-store promotions.
Whilst in the store customers were sent promotional messages for specific items. This was done both for items located close to their planned ??shopping path and for items further away. It transpired that the level of unplanned spending was higher for those who received messages about items situated further away from them.
?The main message for the retailer could seem quite straight-forward then – to deliberately increase
consumers’ in-store travel distance in order to augment unplanned spending, leading to greater revenues per customer.
Before retailers start drastically increasing their customers’ travel distance, caution should be exercised.
These days people barely have time to shop as it is, so making their travel distance significantly longer wouldn’t be advisable! There is a fine balance to be struck to avoid making your customers’ shopping experience unpleasant
by lengthening their in-store time too much.
After all, if consumers were to discover your retail secret, they may not be too impressed about the hidden persuasion!
Professor Magnus Söderlund,
Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden
Artikeln är hämtad ur:
EMC Academic Group Journal
Marketing research translated into practice
September 2014. Läs publikationen här.