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Why shoppers buy things like soda or soap based on their shape

Soda, soap, and more are bought for reasons aside from name recognition – turns out their shape is pretty important.



Yum, yum, soda!

Have you ever been standing in the drink aisle, trying to decide between grabbing some apple juice or a two-liter of soda? You know in your mind, your stomach, your bones, and your heart of hearts that you need roughly 5 servings of fruits and vegetables to stay afloat as a fully functional human being.

And in your soul, you know that the average recommended daily consumption of syrupy carbonated blackness is somewhere around 0 grams. After weighing the pros and cons in your head for all of four seconds, you opt out of the Juicy Juice and snag a couple of Cokes. They’re two for four, so why not?

None of this is by accident, friends

I was a psychology major, but I’ll try to keep this article as jargon-free as possible. A major reason why you might have picked soda over juice, aside from the obvious brand recognition, could be the shape of the actual bottle. Juicy Juice bottles are sort of lumpy, rectangular, and relatively unappealing. Coke bottles have such a classic and familiar shape.

Besides, they’re so easy to grab and to pour, Johnny! Well, my friend, this was no accident. It’s the result of some ingenious decision making by the Coke boys. About seven years ago, they upped the curviness of the two-liter bottle, doing away with the typical (and quite boring) cylindrical shape we had all grown accustomed to. Then, like clockwork, Coke experienced a spike in sales of that exact product. Coincidence? I think not, Watson.

It’s how our brains are wired

Whether you are cognizant of it or not, your brain makes decisions based on all sorts of stimuli. Something as simple as an accessible or familiar shape could mean the difference between a pass and a sale.

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Have any of you seen that huge two-gallon jug of 100 percent pure organic apple juice at the grocery store? It’s a giant bulbous glass sack with a dinky little handle the size of that of a teacup. As curious as I am to try it, I have never once purchased it. I’ve even heard it’s some of the best apple juice on the market. Upon writing this article, I’ve finally realized why: Its shape is awkward, cumbersome, and wholly odd.

When designing a physical product, keep in mind how much impact its shape can make. Craft something that’s easy to grab and hold, and you’ll be one step ahead of the game.


Written By

Staff Writer, Johnny Crowder, is a hard working creative with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a deep passion for writing. In his other life, he is the front man for signed metal band, Dark Sermon. He has a wicked sense of humor and might literally die if he goes a day without putting pen to paper.

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