No.12 Congruence Bias & Shopping Sustainably

No.12 Congruence Bias & Shopping Sustainably

How congruence bias provides opportunities in sustainable shopping.

Congruence bias refers to the fact that as a species, we prefer to only research against specific, direct outcomes.

For example, a subject is presented with two buttons and told that pressing one of those buttons, but not the other, will open a door. The subject makes the assumption that the button on the left opens the door in question. A direct test would be pressing the button on the left; an indirect test would be pressing the button on the right.

The latter is still a valid test because once the result of the door's remaining closed is found, the left button is proven to be the desired button.

In retail, most data that brands and retailers use is sales-based. The data analysed is mostly based on what was sold. In other words, historic data relating to sales activity.

There is a massive opportunity to be had by looking at what didn’t sell, understanding why, and the sustainability related opportunities this may present.

  • Attention – How many shoppers that go into a store will even see your sustainable brand (vs. non-sustainable alternatives)?
  • Appeal – Of those that see your marque, what percentage does it appeal to (vs. non-sustainable alternatives)?
  • Engage – Of those in store, how many of those that see your sustainability initiatives and find them appealing engage with the brand on shelf?
  • Sales – And finally sales, how many of those that engage go on to buy. This is the piece of the puzzle that there is plenty of data on.

Once you look at sales data in context of attention, appeal and engagement, you not only realise where your biggest opportunities lie, but you are also able to optimise every step of the process. If you use sustainability initiatives to increase any of Attention, Appeal or Engagement, you are more than likely to improve Sales as a direct result.

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About Phillip Adcock

My name is Phillip Adcock: I have more than 30 years of human behavioural research and analysis, and have developed a unique ability to identify what it is that makes people psychologically and physiologically 'tick'.

Would you like to know more about how shoppers and consumers think? Download my FREE guide now. Alternatively, check out, where there are more FREE downloads available there. Or why not simply email me with what's on your mind?

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Phillip Adcock

Phillip Adcock CMRS
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

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