Need a Login?
Forgot User Name
| Forgot Password
When shoppers gaze at your in-store merchandising displays, they may see a mishmash of shapes and colors, not individual products or signage. As a result, nothing in the display piques their interest and they just stroll on without buying.
The science of eye/brain coordination means customers have a limited field of perception for displays, said Hugh Phillips in his CAMEX 2012 Thought Leader session How We Shop—The Psychology of Shoppers. Phillips, formerly a professor at McGill University in Canada, is now with Pareto, a Toronto-based retail consultancy.
“The brain only sees a fraction of what strikes the eye,” Phillips explained. People tend to scan displays broadly, recognizing outlines and hues, but not picking up on details or any words on the product or sign. Through visual clues—something they’ve seen before that has meaning to them—the customer may note something interesting in the display and switch to narrow scanning, which allows them to discern more details in the display and possibly make a purchase.
As they go down an aisle, customers constantly shift back and forth from broad to narrow scanning. When there is visual overload, they have trouble focusing on individual products or promotional messages.
“Our challenge now is how to create that meaning for our communication, out of an array of communications,” Phillips said.
He offered five steps a store can take to help steer a customer from broad scanning to making a purchase decision.
Store traffic—The customer has to reach the display in order to see it. Design your store’s layout to encourage shoppers to visit more aisles on each trip. Put destination merchandise in the back, for instance. Make sure shoppers have room to move about. “People won’t go within 18 inches of another person, unless they’re cute,” Phillips said. “Look where your crowding is and uncrowd those areas.”
Stores may be tempted to position tall displays at the front to grab the attention of passersby. But all that does, according to Phillips, is block the sight lines to the back of the store. “You might gain 10% from the display but lose 90% behind it,” he said.
Displays should be no higher than eye level.
Compliance—Get the right material in the right place at the right time for the customer. Out-of-date displays touting a holiday or special that’s passed simply create visual clutter. Often, the cause is that no one in the store has been assigned to remove old displays. “As a former manager, I know if it’s everybody’s responsibility, no one’s responsible. Nobody checks,” Phillips said.
Noting—This is the critical point at which the display comes into the customer’s field of view. “You need to design the display for what you expect the shopper to do next. You have to draw on the visual process,” Phillips said. Keep the display simple and guide the customer’s eye to product and signage.
Engagement—“That’s when they switch to narrow scanning,” Phillips noted. The display must have some meaning to connect with the customer. “Is it too complex? Can the shopper understand it?” he asked.
Communication—Once the customer has noted the display and started to engage with it, the final step is to close the deal with effective signage. “Handwritten signs are great. They’re personal,” Phillips said. “If they’re done correctly, they will draw more attention than manufactured production signs.”
But, he added, don’t overdo the bold colors; red lettering is actually harder to read than other shades. Pictures can also convey information more quickly than words.
To view slides of Phillips’ presentation and handouts from other CAMEX sessions, go to www.camex.org/handouts.
Submit a comment
To leave your comment please login above.