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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

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 good. 

Show Notes:

  • [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 everyone. 
  • [06:21] Small changes can make a really big impact when you have a large footprint like Walmart. 
  • [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 customer experience. 
  • [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 way. 
  • [18:18] Often we know that we should 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 behavior. 
  • [21:27] They started by making sure everyone was on the same page with the problem to solve. 
  • [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 different. 
  • [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 results. 
  • [36:41] Look at doing small ongoing experiments instead of too much at one time. 
  • [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 customer experience. 
  • [42:40] Melina shares her closing thoughts. Do you want to hire Melina to do work with your company like at Walmart? Email
  • [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 endeavor.
  • [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!)

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

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