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How to increase popcorn sales using customer profiling


Our client is a one of Europe's first multiplex cinemas, who approached us with one simple goal: they wanted to increase popcorn sales. As a response to this task, we were able to answer some of their burning questions:

  • Who is an ideal and who is a less ideal popcorn buyer?

  • What drives popcorn sales?

  • How to attract more customers that already buy popcorn and nudge those who don't?

  • How to engage and talk with different groups of visitors - and who to focus on?


KUBIK Intelligence made an initial plan of action that had 4 parts: descriptive analysis, classification, segmentation and finally - personalised recommendations based on nudging techniques.

First, we created a specifically designed psychographic survey that was sent out to cinema visitors. Based on this data we were able to start painting the picture about cinema visitors, their habits, cinema preferences and psychological traits. The results of a preliminary descriptive analysis revealed several insights, including that an average cinema visitors are usually female, come to the cinema with their partners and care most about the kindness and politeness of the staff.

The classification task was used as a machine learning approach to delineate between popcorn buyers and non-buyers and it was then extended with a novel approach to feature importance (MCR+) to identify statistically significant variables that determine different segments and - drive popcorn buying behaviours. The top 3 factors were:

  • The frequency of visit (popcorn buyers have an in-built habit of coming to the cinema);

  • Age (popcorn buyers were slightly younger);

  • and Extroversion (popcorn buyers associate their visit to the cinema with socializing, while non-buyers would rather like to avoid the queue or a crowd and hence - don't buy popcorn).

Segmentation task provided insights about the natural groupings that exists among cinema visitors. The clusters we had were: Socialisers, Traditionalists and Rebels.

Each segment was described in detail, a very brief summary of preliminary findings are presented in the slide below. The list of Schwartz (1992) values tested in the survey provided insights about each segments motivations and drivers, while the Big Five scale (Donnellan et al, 2006), served as a basis for psychological profiling.

Following the profiling task, each segments' financial ability was assessed, as well as their probability to obtain different behavioural pattern. This gave us indication as to how much of the focus (and budget spent) each segment should receive in the future, following their estimated current and future value to the company.

The most efficient nudges were identified for each segment, based on the consumer psychology research. For example, we established that Traditionals are conscientious: in a Traditionalist's life, everything has a point and a function, and they don't like uncertainty (because they have a predisposition to become neurotic). This is why communication should be short and clearly (and quickly) emphasise the benefit from the offer (ideally money saving). They also respect tradition, order and appreciate the opinion of someone popular or respected. We also created recommendations related to the aesthetics (minimalist), colours (pastel, light), time and place of messaging that would be the most effective. This analysis was finalised with several samples of completely designed campaigns that can be used as a template for future engagement with each of the segments.


Several campaigns were designed and carried out as a result of our recent work with the client. So far, the increase of popcorn sales was 23%. Using the Kubik insights, the client was able to re-connect with under-served customer groups and keeps delivering excellent customer service that ensures their dominant market share. Our collaboration with the client has now become an embedded part of their competitive strategy.

If you would like to read more about this case study please contact us.


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