Marketing From the Grocery Aisle: What People are Telling Me

Does the Hypothesis Hold Water?

For the past few weeks, I’ve questioned various people about their grocery shopping habits, and then asked how they purchase other items, such as clothing, household goods, hardware, etc. My first test subject, to determine if there’s a correlation between grocery and non-grocery shopping, was my husband. He claims to shop with purpose, focusing on what’s on his list and not getting distracted by sales items. Although, the lists he brings is usually written by me, and inevitably, sales and impulse items end up in the basket.

He demonstrates the same behavior at Home Depot. He’ll walk into the store wShopping listith a list in his head, but leave with unplanned items, and often one or two things missing to complete a project because it fell off his mental list or wasn’t considered in the first place.

A recent acquaintance, who works in downtown Seattle, says she makes food purchases based on how she’s feeling and what she wants to eat for the day. I asked how she purchases clothes. She explains she buys what “catches her eye” when she walks into the store. Sometimes, she’ll buy an outfit after seeing someone wearing it at work or on the street.

Another acquaintance expressed frustration at her husband for only buying what’s on the list she gives him. If he’s sent to the store to get cereal, it doesn’t occur to him to also purchase milk. She felt grocery stores should publish a diagram of what’s in each aisle, making it easier to create a shopping list for people who don’t “walk up-and-down” the aisles.

She also noted her husband shops in the same manner at home improvement stores. Purchasing exactly what he needs at the moment.

Does your grocery shopping behavior match how you purchase clothing and other items? Let me know!

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