Shame At Checkout

December 13, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Joshua Gans wrote about why people are afraid to order what they truly want:

  • In the 1980s laws changed in Sweden so that liquor stores moved from a “clerk retrieval” system to a “self-service” format. Sales spiked – especially of difficult to pronounce drinks.
  • It seems that people were unwilling to order drinks that were difficult to pronounce before because they were afraid they would be judged if they got it wrong.
  • When a regional pizza chain in the United States launched an online ordering system it found that customers ordered more complex pizzas.
  • They may not have been ordering such pizzas on the phone because they didn’t want to put the person taking the order through the ordeal of a complex order.
  • They also ordered pizzas that had more calories – perhaps they were afraid of being judged for ordering unhealthy food over the phone.
  • Overall the pizza chain found that profits per customer increased 21.4%.
  • This doesn’t mean that the humans need to be taken out of retail. Self-checkout lanes at supermarkets show that when used in the right way a human presence is preferable.
  • However stores should consider options such as allowing customers to order things on tablets while waiting in line.

Gans calls this the “Double Bacon Extra Cheese Problem “. You can read more about it and details about the case studies over here.

Source: Slate