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Need batteries at the checkout line? If a stranger is standing nearby, shoppers are more likely to pick the expensive brand, Dr. Argo’s research has shown. Another study from the University of Vienna followed parents shopping with their kids, and found that mom and dad underestimated – by about half – the number of items tossed in the cart because their offspring asked for it. (The study’s authors recommended putting your child in the grocery cart, facing you, so their view of low-level snacks was restricted.)
Dr. Argo has also found that when an attractive salesperson touches a product, shoppers are more likely to buy it. And, another study to be published next year in the Journal of Marketing Research has shown that men who shop with their friends spend more money on products; women tend to spend the same amount as their friends or even less. Shoppers who are more individual, self-focused, says Dr. Argo, “like to bolster themselves in front of the group – it’s a tendency to show off.”