Our Brains Keep It Simple In The Shopping Aisle

By: Franco Caballero, Creative Strategist

There is no shortage of models attempting to explain the complexity of decision making in the aisle, but a new study from MIT titled “Learning from Experience, Simply” may present a new perspective on how brands win at the shelf.

The study proposes that consumers, over time, develop a simple index strategy; meaning, they create a ranking in their mind. This ranking is the result of a trial and error period where there’s more propensity for brand switching. After a certain amount of purchase occasions, the brain essentially solidifies the ranking, making it much faster and easier to make decisions in the aisle, and much harder to disrupt the ranking itself.

This raises a provocative question, is your brand doing enough to disrupt the decision making process at the shelf?