The hard sell - what's under your feet changes the way you buy

24 June 2010

Bitterwallet - slippers It's no secret that billions are spent studying how best to screw with the heads of consumers, in order to better screw their wallets. Like a Las Vegas casino, every twist and turn of a supermarket layout is staged, the signage, the lighting, the colour schemes - it all conspires to see you spend as much as possible during your visit.

Our bodies are there to be manipulated and toyed with, because our heads are psychologically complex and work in curious and extraordinary ways. Even stupid people. So when new research suggests ways our brains can be adversely stimulated, you can be sure the retail industry is listening. A recent study published the Journal of Consumer Research provides scientific proof that the sensation of the shop floor can affect a customer's purchasing decision. And it's not the way you might think. From The Consumerist:

Researchers discovered that subjects who were able to stand relatively close to a vase (as one might in a store) found it more comforting while standing on a hard tile floor than on a soft carpeted one--that is, the more uncomfortable a shopper, the more comforting they might find the objects on a shelf in front of them.

"In most cases, when people’s distance from a product is moderately far, their visual access to the product’s features and, thus, the representation that they form of the good will be relatively poorly defined. This encourages the assimilation of their bodily sensations with their product assessments.

"Alternatively, when this distance is close, such that the visual acuity of the product and its representation is clear, people’s bodily sensations are apt to be used as a comparison standard and prompt a contrast effect on their product assessments."

Supermarkets obviously don't bother with carpeted floors anyway because it'd be entirely impractical. But for smaller high street retailers, it's time to buy linoleum and start screwing with our heads.

[The Consumerist]

1 comment

  • Nobby
    I usually find that "Do you need any help at all" is enough to help decide whether or not to purchase an item from a specific store. The answer is no.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment