Caffeine is one of the most powerful psychostimulants available legally and widely today.
About 85 percent of Americans drink caffeine, predominantly in the form of coffee, every day. In Asia and Africa, caffeine is ingested through soda and tea.
Even I drink tea thrice daily. We are almost addicted to this.
Caffeine is found to release dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of the brain which excites the mind and body. It boosts energetic arousal by blocking the adenosine A2A receptors in the brain which are responsible for drowsiness and sleep. More so, even a small amount of caffeine (25-30 mg) can result in energetic arousal—compared to 60 mg of caffeine contained in a regular cup of coffee.
What’s more? It has been found that caffeine does not result in tense arousal (that is, negative emotions such as nervousness, and anxiety).
Keeping this in mind, a group of researchers did a study by setting up an espresso station near two retail stores in two major cities in France and a departmental store in Spain. Half of the 300 shoppers were given a cup of Joe whereas the other half were given decaf coffee or plain water.
“We found that the caffeine group spent significantly more money and bought a higher number of items than those who drank decaf or water,” say the researchers, with the exception that this effect was more evident for little to moderate coffee drinkers.
(If your customer gulps over 300 mg every day, forget about it.)
It is also found that it is more effective in the case of hedonic spending like buttery, salt popcorns, scented candles, and luxury vacations. Just the stuff that we buy when we are feeling on top of the world. However, this didn’t affect utilitarian purchases like utensils or storage baskets.
“Overall, retailers can benefit financially if shoppers consume caffeine before or during shopping and the effects are stronger for highly hedonic products. This is important for retailers to factor in to determine the proportion of hedonic products in their stores. Policymakers may also want to inform consumers about the potential effects of caffeine on spending,” conclude the researchers.
So, are you selling a “candy” product instead of a “painkiller” in a brick-and-mortar setting?
Maybe try this experiment yourself.