We all know what it’s like to be hungry in the grocery store while it’s packed before dinnertime. Our energy is low. The aisles are crowded. We might wind up in the deli or frozen section, ignoring our usual healthy or economical choices, and instead loading our baskets with items that are convenient.
Researchers like Kyle Murray, Director for the School of Retailing and professor at the University of Alberta, are looking for ways to help consumers make better choices.
Consumers are confronted with a huge variety of options when they shop. Sometimes we struggle to pick out the items we really want from amongst all the choices, especially when our energy levels are down. Murray is interested in knowing how energy levels are affected by environmental factors, and the best conditions for consumers to make sound decisions on their purchases. A few examples of factors that influence shopping experiences include scent, sound, and sunlight.
What is good for consumers is also good for businesses. The idea behind successful marketing is not to trick customers into making impulse purchases that they later regret, but to help them make the right decisions when they shop.
“The most successful businesses get us to buy things or help us buy things that we really do want; the more that we can help consumers make better decisions, the more we help retailers run better businesses,” says Murray. “They have fewer returns, they have happier customers, they are more profitable. Those two things really go hand in hand, even if it’s not maybe initially intuitive.”