Engadget published a great article on the psychology around putting eyes on a tip jar. Fascinating that we instinctively respond more favorable to things that we perceive has having a “face”.
Interestingly, the study found that had a noticeable but smaller effect on people when the supermarket was busy. During those hours, people contributed to the eye-equipped charity bins at a 30 percent higher rate than the standard buckets. But when the grocery store was quiet, people tossed 60 percent more cash into the jars with eyes on them.
The study took place over the course of 11 weeks in a busy supermarket in Northern England. The experiment placed white, plastic buckets containing the store’s logo and the name of a charitable cause at the end of six checkouts. The only change made to the buckets over the course of the study was the addition of “subtle eye images,” and that was all it took to see donations increase by nearly 50 percent. During the weeks the plain buckets were in place, they tallied £5.48 per 1,000 customers. With the addition of eyes, the giving jumped to £6.69 per thousand customers.