No.7 The Bandwagon Effect & Shopping Sustainably

No.7 The Bandwagon Effect & Shopping Sustainably

Our tendency to follow the crowd has an impact on our sustainable shopping experience.

The bandwagon effect is the tendency for the brain to conclude that something must be desirable because other people desire it. The tendency to follow trends and fads occurs because people gain information from others and desire to conform. This really is a sustainability related bias that you can exploit.

The term bandwagon stems from “hop on the bandwagon,” in which people become interested in or follow an activity or cause that has recently gained popularity, often to gain acceptance by or recognition from others. Have a look at this article for more about the bandwagon effect and how it’s used in marketing.

In-store, there are many opportunities to promote your sustainable option as being the most preferred purchase option:

Appear popular

A key aim for your brand’s sustainability credentials is to encourage shoppers to view your brand as popular and that your brand is the sustainable choice many other people go for. Try to conjure up attention surrounding your brand that other people have created. 

Be everywhere

Otherwise known as the mere exposure effect. The more shoppers see your brand (closely associated with your sustainability credentials) the easier it will be for them to recognise it and therefore, the more popular they will perceive it.

Be talked about

Give shoppers and consumers reasons to involve your brand sustainability in their wider conversation such as on social media.

The bandwagon effect is a powerful cognitive bias. One that offers your sustainability activities to help grow your brand through a perceived popularity. But you also need to understand how in-store activity can undermine it. For example, a ‘No More Single Use Plastic Bags’ message, directly next to plastic bags of fresh apples.

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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

Phillips Signature

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