May 27, 2022
Today I am very excited to
introduce you to Sarah Wilson, Director of Human Experience
Research at Walmart. This is a fun episode because we are sharing a
live podcast that was recorded while I was a speaker on the live
podcast stage at Greenbook’s IIEX North America Conference in
Austin, TX a couple of weeks ago.
At IIEX North America I had the
honor of interviewing Walmart’s Sarah Wilson about some of the work
they are doing in behavioral science including a project we have
been working on together around sustainability. Listen in to learn
about Walmart’s important sustainability goals, how asking the
wrong question can make things worse, and how they are nudging for
- [00:44] Today I am very excited
to introduce you to Sarah Wilson, Director of Human Experience
Research at Walmart.
- [02:02] At IIEX North America I
had the honor of interviewing Sarah Wilson from Walmart about some
of the work they are doing in behavioral science.
- [04:46] Sarah shares about
herself and the work that she does at Walmart.
- [05:44] Walmart has made a
commitment to becoming a regenerative company. They believe in
making a healthy planet that has prosperity for
- [06:21] Small changes can make
a really big impact when you have a large footprint like
- [07:10] It takes a thousand
years for a plastic bag to degrade. 14 plastic shopping bags is
equivalent to a gallon of gas.
- [08:35] Research has shown that
95% of the decisions that people make are done on a subconscious
level and that includes buying decisions.
- [10:05] Being able to send the
right message at the right time to get someone to change their
behavior can actually be a difficult thing if you are working on
the wrong problem.
- [12:42] Sometimes the easy
answer is not always the right answer.
- [15:21] They started with the
problem of reducing plastic but also didn’t want to impact the
- [17:34] We like to think that
we are logical and rational people making logical choices in
everything we do, but humans aren’t really that
- [18:18] Often we know that
do something but we don’t always
change the habit.
- [20:09] With bag usage we have
to find those nugdable spots to help shift the
- [21:27] They started by making
sure everyone was on the same page with the problem to
- [23:30] It is really easy to
find the right answer to the wrong question.
- [25:40] Walmart brought in
Melina for a workshop to help with their plastic reduction project.
They started with the idea of just letting people explore. They
focused on the experience journey of the customer and associate
separately because their experience journeys with the bags are very
- [28:29] Sarah shares her
favorite insights that came up from the workshop.
- [31:18] Really small problems
can add up, so they looked at how they could solve the small
problems to turn those into big gains.
- [32:58] It is really hard to
test and experiment in certain environments.
- [35:46] When you are trying to
do too much, it ends up being too much and you don’t get good
- [36:41] Look at doing small
ongoing experiments instead of too much at one
- [38:20] Having thoughtfulness
about the problem upfront is important. One benefit is being able
to be shape the project around what you can test.
- [40:37] Customer experience
matters. We can add in small nudges that still maintain a good
- [42:40] Melina shares her
closing thoughts. Do you want to hire Melina to do work with your
company like at Walmart? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- [43:35] Finding new
opportunities to incorporate behavioral science nudges into the
habits of the associates and customers while maintaining great
customer service in the process of reducing plastic is a long-term
- [44:52] If you enjoy the
experience I’ve provided here for you, will you share about it?
That could mean leaving a rating/review or sharing the episode with
a friend (or 10!)
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