The Gruen Transfer describes an effect that shopping malls are said to have on shoppers.
The Gruen Transfer (named after architect Victor Gruen) designates the moment when a "destination buyer," with a specific purchase in mind, is transformed into an impulse shopper, a crucial point immediately visible in the shift from a determined stride to an erratic meandering gait.
Is the Gruen Transfer a reasonable model of shopper behaviour? Have other, more prosaic, models been discounted?
I perceive a number of predictions from this model:
- That "destination buyer" and "impulse shopper" are different modes, distinguishable by actual shopping/spending patterns.
- That these modes are highly correlated with walking style.
- That the modes typically change, within the same individual, from destination to impulse buyer.
- That the speed or frequency of these changes are affected by mall design.
I expect that, to be taken seriously, this model should be more predictive than the simpler models:
- that people get tired while shopping, independent of the mall design.
- that people spend a fixed amount of effort looking for an item that they need, and then relax and look at other items, independent of the mall design.
Is there any research to demonstrate the Gruen Transfer is a real thing? Is it just pseudoscience from architects and mall-designers, claiming tired and frustrated customers as a success criteria?