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More than milk

When UK supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, asked Twitter followers this simple statement, it summed up one of the key assets of retail stores – serendipity.

The happy, ‘accidental’ purchase. It is a truism to say that stores want you to buy more than what you just came in for, as anyone who’s faced a battle of wills over toys or confectionery at the checkout can testify.

Online retailers have aimed to replicate this phenomenon with the ‘other customers also liked’ feature and by personalising our browsing experience, relying on excellent data mining to impress the casual shopper.