Technology 3 min read

Using Your Smartphone at the Store Could Make You Buy More

Wondering why you bought that tub of vegan butter for the third time this week? Well, it might be because of your smartphone.

Pixabay

Pixabay

Want to curb unplanned purchases at the store? Consider setting your smartphone to “Do Not Disturb”. Even better, leave it at home.

According to a recent publication in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, shoppers who use their mobile device for tasks that are unrelated to retail tend to make unplanned purchases. They could also forget the reasons for visiting the store in the first place.

While surveying 2,520 shoppers at a mass merchandise store, an international team of researchers noted something interesting. They discovered that those who used their phones for tasks that are unrelated to shopping while in the store purchased 9 percent more unplanned items.

Corresponding researcher, Micheal Sciandra said:

“Our finding that phone use that is unrelated to shopping negatively affects shopping behaviour was in stark contrast to beliefs held by consumers. The vast majority of shoppers we asked thought that mobile phones did not have any negative effect.”

So, they decided that an experiment was necessary to confirm their suspicion.

How Shopping While Distracted Could Make You Buy More

For the shopping study, 231 participants were asked to watch a recording from a grocery shopper’s point of view. In the video, the shopper placed nine items in the cart, but picked and dropped several others.

Then the researchers provided the participants with various forms of distraction while watching the video.

A group of participants listened to a phone conversation that’s unrelated to shopping, while another received push notifications at the mobile device screen’s corner. However, the third group was utterly free of any distractions.

Result of the study shows that the undistracted participants were able to identify which items made it into the shopping cart from a list of 15.

In comparison, those who listened to phone conservation or received push notifications performed woefully. Participants who claim to be dependent on their smartphones also had a poor performance.

According to Micheal Sciandra, mobile phones have not only become a primary source of distraction for many consumers, but they also offer a unique form of interruptions.

In a press release, Sciandra said:

“Our findings may influence consumers’ attitudes towards mobile phone use while shopping and persuade them to reflect on how these devices impact our lives, both positively and negatively.”

The study is a shocking example of how our ever-present mobile devices affect our decision making.

Read More: Startup Develops AI-Powered Cameras to Spot Potential Shoplifters

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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