AISLE SURFING, YES; BASKET WEAVING, NO

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Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed data from tracking devices attached to shopping carts at a West Coast supermarket, finding that:

· We zigzag, we don't weave. Traditional thought was that shoppers systematically weave up and down each aisle as they shop. Instead, we tend to randomly zigzag around to particular aisles, avoiding whole areas of the store.

· We zip in, zip out. Once we enter an aisle, we rarely make it to the other end. We like short excursions. As a result, products in the center of the aisle often are ignored.

· We like it right. Maybe it's because we drive on the right side of the road, but we like to enter on the right, or turn right after entering a store. We then prefer shopping in a counter-clockwise direction. Shoppers entering on the left spend less time (and money) shopping.

· We're racetrack drivers. We don't spend most of our time in the aisles. We stick to the perimeter of the store, often called the racetrack, using it as our main road with quick side trips to the aisles we need. This means products displayed at the ends of the aisles near the perimeter are important for luring us in.


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