October 20, 2017

Nudging in store

Nudging: influencing choice and perception through the power of the unconscious


Are you convinced you’re in command of your own actions? Well… Chances are you might want to rethink this one. About 95% of human behaviour is purely driven by our unconscious, as a result of nudging – a concept in behavioural science, which uses indirect suggestions to try to influence someone’s motives, perception and decision making.

The nudge: small change, big impact. But how exactly does it work?

When simply put, ‘nudging’ is nothing more than installing certain small changes in our environment that have an enormous impact on what we (don’t) do. Even better: the right nudge will subtly lead you to make certain decisions and will make you choose one product over another.

And this is why the nudge is so important for sales & marketing!

Because, as said before: our behaviour is mostly driven by small, subtle and seemingly insignificant changes. And these have a big impact on the way we (don’t) buy certain products. So, by placing certain products in a specific environment, we can make consumers choose something or the other – all in your favour, of course.

In practice: how does Haystack use nudging?

Haystack installs the nudge(s) you need to dissolve certain barriers you’re struggling with. We look into colour, aroma, surroundings, images, … Basically, we research all the different kinds of sensory input that leads to a desired change in behaviour. When we’ve learned about all the different aspects, we tweak them so you can use them to your advantage.

Example #1: the plate

This might be the most famous example of nudging. Research has proven that when food is served on a smaller plate, you’ll automatically eat less – but you won’t notice it. So, this nudge could, seemingly effortless, effectuate a change in behaviour that could have a positive effect on our overall health.

Example #2: the oranges

A food store noticed that the sale of fruits and veggies was dramatically plummeting – and they wanted to do something about it. By installing an aromatic nudge, researchers learned that this specific aroma had quite the effect on the behaviour of consumers. A fragrance dispenser that diffused a subtle fruity fragrance was set up in the produce section of the store. Within days, the sale of all (!) fruits was soaring again.

Example #3: the open door

The last example is the one of the open door at Antwerp stores. Shopkeepers weren’t so keen on closing their doors because they feared this would create a barrier to enter the shop. So, they went looking for ways to manipulate all the possible barriers they could think of, to convince people to come in anyways. They played with different lighting, with welcoming images of happy people, and so on. Through all of these tiny stimulating and psychological nudges, they tried to create a noncommittal feeling of permissiveness.

In short: the essence of the nudge

So, basically, the essence of a nudge is the following: it uses all the environmental things that subconsciously influence you. This mostly has to do with choice architecture: which role do the senses play when you’re making up your mind about whether to buy something or not? We at Haystack are aware of how to play with those surroundings and making them work for you (and your product).

Want to know how nudging can help you?

Then you have come to the right place. After all, Haystack is doing some extensive research into the effects of nudging in Next Lab. We’re finding out everything we can about this phenomenon, just so we can help you in upping those sales results. Want to know more? Make sure to contact Jan!