Thursday, January 08, 2009

Are you a cart puller?

No, not in the pack mule sense of the phrase, but rather in the "move down the checkout aisle pulling your shopping cart behind you" sense.  If so, you may be missing a big chunk of marketing messages trying to get you to make a few last impulse purchases before you pay.

That's what boutique market research firm Relevation Research concluded (and AdAge reports) after studying shoppers moving down the checkout aisle.  While "pullers" as they're called (and you can count me among them) account for about 74% of shoppers, remarkably most marketing materials and POP around the checkout aisle are designed for pushers -- those folks who push their cart down the checkout aisle (why they do that I'll never know.  But then, I'm a puller). The critical takeaway ias that, "The front of the store is a department, accounting for 1% of sales or more." That's according to Nan Martin, a co-founder of Relevation, who continued, "It's designed for consumers to make impulse purchases as they push through. If you're pulling, your back is to the merchandise most of that time."

I can see this kind of information putting retailers in a bind.  It's definitely not intuitive or "pretty" to have POP and other promotional materials face backward.  And while many displays are designed to be shopped from 360 degrees, few visual aides are designed to be seen from 360 degrees.  And if you decide to simply double up the number of ads in hopes of attracting the attention of both pushers and pullers, it's going to start looking very noisy, very quickly.

On the other hand, one must imagine that retailers are happier knowing what's going on than not, right?


Tags: ,


Anonymous said...

I suspect this attribute is not necessarily related to the person, but rather the shopping trip/channel.

Bill Gerba said...

That's an interesting point. I do think the channel has something to do with it, but I'm not so sure about trip type.

Case in point: me. Regardless of whether I'm just doing a quick top-up or a larger buy at the grocery store, I always pull in. However, when I go to a discount club I often must push in because the checkout person needs access to my cart to scan larger items.