Decision-making in the aisles: Informing, overwhelming or nudging supermarket shoppers?
Recent findings suggest that while shopping people apply 'fast and frugal' heuristics: short-cut strategies where they ignore most product information and instead focus on a few key cues. But rather than supporting this practice, mobile phone shopping apps and recommender systems overwhelm shoppers with information. This paper examines the amount and structure of product information that is most appropriate for supermarket shoppers, finding that in supermarkets, people rapidly make decisions based on one or two product factors for routine purchases, often trading-off between price and health. For one-off purchases, shoppers can be influenced by reading customer star ratings and reviews on a mobile phone app. In order to inform decision-making or nudge shoppers in supermarkets, we propose using embedded technologies that provide appropriate feedback and make key information salient. We conclude that rather than overwhelming shoppers, future shopping technology design needs to focus on information frugality and simplicity. © 2012 Springer-Verlag London Limited.