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Larger partitions lead to larger sales: Divided grocery carts alter purchase norms and increase sales


  • Wansink, Brian
  • Soman, Dilip
  • Herbst, Kenneth C.


Before food portions are determined at home, they are determined at the supermarket. Building on the notion of implied social norms, this research proposes that allocating or partitioning a section of a shopping cart for fruits and vegetables (produce) may increase their sales. First, a concept test for on-line shopping (Study 1) shows that a large produce partition led people to believe that purchasing larger amounts of produce was normal. Next, an in-store study in a supermarket (Study 2) shows that the amount of produce a shopper purchased was in proportion to the size of this partition – the larger the partition, the larger the purchases (especially in a nutrition-reinforced environment). Using partitioned or divided shopping carts (such as half-carts) could be useful to retailers who want to sell more high-margin produce, but they could also be useful to consumers who can simply divide their own shopping cart in half with their jacket, purse, or briefcase. Divided shopping carts may lead to healthier shoppers and to healthier profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Wansink, Brian & Soman, Dilip & Herbst, Kenneth C., 2017. "Larger partitions lead to larger sales: Divided grocery carts alter purchase norms and increase sales," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 202-209.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:75:y:2017:i:c:p:202-209
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.06.023

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kuenzel, Johanna & Musters, Pieter, 2007. "Social interaction and low involvement products," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 876-883, August.
    2. Stephen S. Holden & Natalina Zlatevska & Chris Dubelaar, 2016. "Whether Smaller Plates Reduce Consumption Depends on Who's Serving and Who's Looking: A Meta-Analysis," Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 134-146.
    3. Noah J. Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini & Vladas Griskevicius, 2008. "A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels," Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Research Inc., vol. 35(3), pages 472-482, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Szu‐Tung Lin & Han‐Jen Niu, 2018. "Green consumption: Environmental knowledge, environmental consciousness, social norms, and purchasing behavior," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(8), pages 1679-1688, December.
    2. Jessica Müller & Ángel Acevedo-Duque & Sheyla Müller & Prateek Kalia & Khalid Mehmood, 2021. "Predictive Sustainability Model Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior Incorporating Ecological Conscience and Moral Obligation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(8), pages 1-16, April.
    3. Wansink, Brian, 2017. "Healthy Profits: An Interdisciplinary Retail Framework that Increases the Sales of Healthy Foods," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 65-78.
    4. Morone, Andrea & Nemore, Francesco & Schirone, Dario Antonio, 2018. "Sales impact of servicescape's rational stimuli: A natural experiment," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 256-262.

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