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CHICAGO – Although many people assume that offering shoppers options is a great way to encourage them to buy more and increase basket size, new consumer research suggests the assumption that the longer shoppers have to browse a category, the more products they will buy, is actually false.
According to a study by virtual research firm InContext Solutions, the quicker shoppers are able to find their first product, the more likely they are to linger in the category and purchase more. The study also revealed the opposite as well: every two additional minutes a shopper takes to make their first purchase in a category reduces the final basket size by one product.
"Today's time-strapped, distracted shoppers don't want to get lost in the store. They want to find what they're looking for and move on," said Chiara Piccinotti, director of insights at InContext Solutions. "If retailers help shoppers save a couple of minutes finding the one thing they want, they'll end up purchasing an extra product on average. Extrapolate that over millions of shoppers and the sales impact really adds up."
The median time a shopper devotes to a single shopping mission is just over four minutes, Piccinotti said, with less than 15 percent of shopping missions lasting over 10 minutes.
"Instead of setting up stores for 'browsing' behavior, retailers should optimize their layouts for 'search.' Make top-performing products easy to find, rationalize SKUs and keep shelves clearly organized," Piccinotti continued. "Shoppers will be able to zero in on what they really need, and retailers will enjoy better sales."
InContext Solutions studies shopping behavior in 3-D virtual store simulations with results that correlate almost exactly to real-world behavior, the company stated. It also maintains an archive of virtual shopper data that encompasses 150,000 respondents shopping across dozens of categories and more than 300 store layouts.