When I came across this sign in an accessories store in LA I had to give the store owner a nod of approval. The store’s gimmick was that everything was $10- but then you could get an extra 30% off. There were banners plastering the windows declaring the $10 price point, guys standing on the street wearing sandwich signs that proclaimed 30% off those $10, etc. But once my friend and I entered the actual store, we saw that you had to use a basket to get the 30% discount. No basket and you’d pay the full $10 for your goods.
I turned to my friend and said something along the lines of “wow, this store’s owner is pretty clever.” As I started to explain why, the store owner himself overhead and came to join in our conversation. I have to say, he was pretty proud of himself. But he was also excited to talk to someone who figured out his trick. You see, giving shoppers baskets while they shop has been proven to increase the basket size of their purchase. Basket size refers to the average amount that a shopper spends in a specific store, and it goes up when shoppers start to buy more items or if they start to buy more expensive items. In this case, the store owner was going for “more items.” He knew that if you free up a shopper’s hands, the shopper is more likely to buy more than what was originally planned. Think about it: if you are just wandering a grocery store without a basket, you eventually have to stop shopping because your hands are full. As your hands run out of space, you are less likely to try to grab more merchandise. But if you have a cart, you can do a lot more wandering and grabbing before you “have” to stop. My coworkers and I always use basket size as a metric when we help retailers figure out how to increase their overall revenue. Similarly, this accessories store owner had figured out that if he offered a discount contingent upon using a basket, he still came out ahead. Even though he was now giving people a 30% discount , they were buying so much more than planned that he was still the winner.
The owner and I had a nice little chat about tricks in merchandising and store organization. Then my friend and I browsed his shelves. The basket effect didn’t quite work on the two of us because we picked out what we wanted before grabbing a basket. But we did technically use a basket to carry our picks to the register- we wanted our 30% off!