Case study: Retailer practices to increase the green premium

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Researchers from Linköping University in Sweden used SMI Eye Tracking Glasses to show that by attracting consumers’ visual attention towards eco-friendly products, retailers can increase the “green premium” consumers pay.

Challenge

Retailers play a key role in sustainability initiatives because of their proximity to the consumers. A team of researchers from Linköping University in Sweden set out to explore how retailers can influence consumers' green shopping behavior through point-of-purchase (PoP) information displays, specific product labelling, and similar in-store practices.

Solution

The participants were equipped with SMI Eye Tracking Glasses and asked to buy coffee and fabric softener for someone else. They were divided into two groups: A primed group, which was told “The person you shop for is sustainable-oriented and prefers to eat organic food”, and a control group, which received no instructions.

Both coffee and fabric softener shelves contained classic and eco-friendly products with various price tag and display options to attract consumers’ attention.

Green price tags were used for the eco-friendly coffee, and small PoP information displays were provided. Finally, non-eco-friendly fabric softener was offered in different colours, including green – which could be misleading for consumers who perceived it as an eco-friendly product – the so-called greenwashing phenomenon.

SMI Eye Tracking

The eye tracking data was recorded with SMI Eye Tracking Glasses at a sampling rate of 60 Hz, and analyzed with SMI BeGaze software. The researchers measured the dwell time on the eco-friendly products, green price tags and information displays about the eco-friendly products, as well as on the greenwashing packaging.

Benefit

The study revealed that consumers who looked longer at the eco-friendly products paid a higher green premium. The PoP information displays and green price tags successfully oriented consumers towards the eco-friendly choices, while the so-called “green-washing” practices, e.g using the color green to lure consumers into buying a classic product, considerably reduced visual attention towards the eco-friendly products.

The eye tracking research shows that the cognitive effort required in the evaluation and verification stages of the decision-making process involves the consumer's visual attention. Consumers have a higher probability of choosing an eco-friendly product or brand that they look at for a longer period of time.

Background

Today, a growing share of consumers are conscious of the consequences of their consumption and wish to reward businesses offering eco-friendly products. Such products may be organic, manufactured from fewer natural resources and with respect towards the labour force, or may be recycled.

As a result, they are often more expensive. The “green premium”, the price difference between classic and eco-friendly products, represents potential revenue for retailers, and 77 % of consumers state they are willing to pay such a premium.

Benefit

The study revealed that consumers who looked longer at the eco-friendly products paid a higher green premium. The PoP information displays and green price tags successfully oriented consumers towards the eco-friendly choices, while the so-called “green-washing” practices, e.g using the color green to lure consumers into buying a classic product, considerably reduced visual attention towards the eco-friendly products.

The eye tracking research shows that the cognitive effort required in the evaluation and verification stages of the decision-making process involves the consumer's visual attention. Consumers have a higher probability of choosing an eco-friendly product or brand that they look at for a longer period of time.

Customer institution Linköping University
Customer website www.liu.se
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