As Seen in the Wild

We humans are highly influenced by our environment consciously and in non-conscious ways. This is especially true in the store environment. After thousands upon thousands of hours doing consumer research in stores, REAL Insight understands the immense value of collecting data that accounts for the chaos and variance you can only capture in real life.  

In parts 1 and 2 of our As Seen in the Wild series, we discussed Breakthrough Barriers at the store level and Package Pitfalls at the product level. This time, we will dive into 3 Stealthy Forces on the human level that we frequently see out in the wild!  

Mental Overload 

The store environment is one of the most chaotic places for the human brain.  We are exposed to tens of thousands of products, navigating around other shoppers, and making decisions while taking in all kinds of scents and sounds. Dealing with all of that while on our own unique mission is something that you can’t recreate in an artificial environment or online.  

Overstimulation makes people shop faster and rely heavily on their system 1 brain, the part that makes non-conscious, automatic decisions. Packaging that is optimized for System 1 is a must for this reason. 


Time can influence shoppers in multiple ways, the most obvious being time constraints. Maybe you only have 30 minutes to shop before picking up your kids or returning to work. Time stress can radically change how we shop, and we seem to have less and less time for things like a leisurely stroll through the grocery store or browsing Target. This emphasizes the importance of your products standing out and winning at the speed of shopping.  

Time of day is another factor. Different times of day have different energy. For example, in grocery stores the morning is often low-traffic and slow-paced, then the lunch rush will come through and you will see people zipping through the store.  


People are also influenced by PEOPLE in-store. There is absolutely an interpersonal, social aspect to going to a store. Some people love being around others and will take their time to enjoy being in a public place. Others get stressed out by crowds and want to speed through their shopping experience. This makes people more or less likely to discover new products or be lured by impulse opportunities.  

Have you ever seen someone else grab a product and then found yourself instantly interested in what it was? Whether we do it consciously or not, we learn from and are influenced by the people shopping around us.  

Gain a competitive advantage by embracing these in-store realities and elevating your brands and products to overcome them. We hope this series has shown the importance of getting in-context to learn about your products. Let us help your brands thrive in-store. We’ve been studying in-store human behavior for over 30 years. We can help you build strong consumer intuition and help you make the best decisions for your brands.  

Check out the first two installments in this series:
ASITW: 3 Potential Package Pitfalls
ASITW: 4 Surprising Breakthrough Barriers

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