Product Placement & Human Psychology

In 1936, psychologist Kurt Lewin wrote a simple equation that makes a powerful statement: Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment, or B = ƒ(P,E). It didn’t take long for Lewin’s Equation to be tested in business. In 1952, the economist Hawkins Stern described a phenomenon he called suggestion Impulse Buying, which “is triggered when a shopper sees a product for the first time and visualizes a need for it.”

Customers will occasionally buy products not because they want them, but because of how they are presented to them.

For example, items at eye level tend to be purchased more than those down near the floor. For this reason, you’ll find expensive brand names featured in easy-to-reach locations on store shelves because they drive the most profit, while cheaper alternatives are tucked away in harder-to-reach spots. The same goes for end caps, which are the units at the end of aisles. End caps are moneymaking machines for retailers because they are obvious locations that encounter a lot of foot traffic. For example, 45 percent of Coca-Cola sales come specifically from end-of-the-aisle racks.

The more obviously available a product or service is, the more likely you are to try it.

People drink Bud Light because it is in every bar and visit Starbucks because it is on every corner. We like to think that we are in control. If we choose water over soda, we assume it is because we wanted to do so. The truth, however, is that many of the actions we take each day are shaped not by purposeful drive and choice, but by the most obvious option.

The above is an excerpt from the book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

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