More grocery store choice architecture

From the consultants at McKinsey:

Our research suggests, for instance, that ice cream shoppers in grocery stores look at the brand first, flavor second, and price last. Organizing supermarket aisles according to way consumers prefer to buy specific products makes customers both happier and less likely to base their purchase decisions on price—allowing retailers to sell higher-priced, higher-margin products. (This explains why aisles are rarely organized by price.) For thermostats, by contrast, people generally start with price, then function, and finally brand. The merchandise layout should therefore be quite different.

In some ways it’s strange (though not surprising) that ice cream manufacturers have been able to brand their products better than thermostat manufacturers. They’re both basically selling commodity goods. Or will Ben and Jerry’s fans vehemently disagree? Is high-end ice cream really that innovative a product?

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  • Benny2440

    High end ice cream is more of a fashion statement than a commodity. Ben and Jerry’s is heavily marketed as a socially conscious product. Additionally, thermostats are purchased so rarely that it would be difficult to rebrand them from a commodity product to a status symbol.

    • Anonymous

      Interesting, but H2O is now branded (bottled water).

      Thermostats are bought very infrequently, so brand loyalty might be hard to gain & keep?

  • sara

    High end ice cream isn’t necessarily innovative, but it is way yummier (and less likely to give me a stomach ache) than the bargain brands.

  • Jan-Paul Lüdtke

    Ice cream quality perception is not traceble to clear product characteristics such as thermostats. Thus consumers are more dependent on proxies to evaluate and store the ice creams perceived performance information. A brand is a strong proxie, when perceived quality can hardly be split into tangible attributors (that are extractable from the ice box, such as the taste).
    Based on their clear functional performance targets, Thermostats are a) hardly subject to varying quality perception between subjects (and brands), b) therefore less likely perceived as good based on a priori consumer characteristics, c) consequently not requiring subjects to create an experience based proxie like “Brand” to make the process of choosing more valid with regard to personal preferences. In short, I dont think that is strange.

    • Bangodonblizen

      I have no idea what you just wrote, but great stuff!