The Power of Atlas: Why In-Store Shopping Behavior Matters

Jacob Suher

The Wharton School

Herb Sorenson

TNS Sorensen


Shopper Behavior

Shoppers have been speaking to retailers and manufacturers with an increasingly clear voice since the 1970s. This voice has been heard predominantly through the votes they make with their dollars at the checkout counters. These are the ultimate “votes” based on actual behavior, not opinion or speculation on anyone’s part.

The voting begins well before the checkout counter as the shopper selects first a particular retail establishment where purchases will be made and then their pathway through the store that will expose them to the varied wares and communication available. Each area the shopper visits, pauses for shopping or media intake, selects this or that items, and spends time in these activities constitute mini-votes leading to the placement of “coin-on-the-counter,” the final expression of their consumer voice. This earlier behavior leading up to the purchase is very much a part of the shopper’s voice. It is to this voice that we look for understanding of how and why they are speaking so clearly at the checkout.