Lots of folks are looking for a place to take advantage of their training these days.
Over time, I can recall a number of newly-graduated psych majors in that same boat… wondering what they would do with a psych degree, especially after figuring out that they didn’t want to become a psychologist.
Back when I graduated from college with a Computer Science degree, the economy was in a post-Carter-era, inflationary slump that gripped oil companies and airlines alike.
Why do I mention oil companies and airlines?
Because in the white-hot mainframe computer job market of the late 1970s and early 1980s, new graduates with computer degrees often got jobs in those industries.
Except for that slump. It left computer jockeys in the same situation as psych majors.
Decades later, the economy is a little harsher across the board (except for interest rates).
But the job thing is still a challenge for psychology majors (and some others).
Unless… they visit with businesses that really want to understand why their customers do what they do, spend what they spend and so on.
Now, the example. KOB TV in New Mexico documented a study by a New Mexico State University study done in conjunction with a supermarket.
The solution to the problems of bad nutrition, obesity and poor health may be right in front of you the next time you go to the supermarket.
Researchers at New Mexico State University say a simple change in the design of shopping carts may help people make better decisions about the food they buy.
The result? A 102% increase in purchases of certain types of products.
For the details, check out this video from KOB-TV.
If you don’t have time to watch the video right now, make note of this excerpt from the story:
Payneâ??s idea was to use some social psychology to provide some help for consumers facing a bombardment of food hype in the media and in the store.
â??Food manufacturers have tremendous amounts of money to research what influences people to buy their products,â? Payne said. â??Weâ??re looking for tools that will help consumers if they want to make healthier decisions. Right now there are more tools helping them make less healthy decisions.â?
Payne said earlier experiments involving simple food-rating systems had little impact on customers buying healthier groceries. He said his research found no drop in the amount of money customers were spending, so it appears the shopping cart modification wouldnâ??t hurt supermarket profits.
â??We want to be healthy, so weâ??re faced with going to the grocery store every week and trying to make those decisions that are best for us, â??Payne said.Â â??Iâ??m not saying we should get rid of candy barsâ?? I wouldnâ??t want to live in a world without candy barsâ?? but consumers need better tools.â?
Payne said he plans to continue the research next year in Las Cruces, testing the best placement for the yellow line and whether marking off more spaces for different categories of groceries would be effective.
Psychology has many applications in business ranging from analyzing buying patterns/habits (like in the supermarket study) to the psychology of a sales process or a marketing program.
PS: Note that important quoted word: “TESTING”.