Larger Partitions Lead to Larger Sales: Divided Grocery Carts Alter Purchase Norms and Increase Sales

Posted: 9 Feb 2017

See all articles by Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink

Retired

Dilip Soman

University of Toronto - Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR)

Kenneth Herbst

Wake Forest University

Date Written: February 8, 2017

Abstract

Before food portions are determined at home, they are determined at the supermarket. Building on the notion of implied social norms, this research proposes that allocating or partitioning a section of a shopping cart for fruits and vegetables (produce) may increase their sales. First, a concept test for on-line shopping (Study 1) shows that a large produce partition led people to believe that purchasing larger amounts of produce was normal. Next, an in-store study in a supermarket (Study 2) shows that the amount of produce a shopper purchased was in proportion to the size of this partition – the larger the partition, the larger the purchases (especially in a nutrition-reinforced environment). Using partitioned or divided shopping carts (such as half-carts) could be useful to retailers who want to sell more high-margin produce, but they could also be useful to consumers who can simply divide their own shopping cart in half with their jacket, purse, or briefcase. Divided shopping carts may lead to healthier shoppers and to healthier profits.

Keywords: Fruits and Vegetables, Half-Cart, Healthy Shopping, Produce, Grocery Retailers, Shopping Carts, Social Norms, Partitioning, Part-Carts, Sectioned Shopping Trolley

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Soman, Dilip and Herbst, Kenneth, Larger Partitions Lead to Larger Sales: Divided Grocery Carts Alter Purchase Norms and Increase Sales (February 8, 2017). Journal of Business Research, DOI/10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.06.023, Forthcoming, Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 2913825, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2913825

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Retired ( email )

607-319-0123 (Phone)

Dilip Soman

University of Toronto - Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR) ( email )

Kenneth Herbst

Wake Forest University ( email )

2601 Wake Forest Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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