Shoppers more attracted to centrally placed products
A product's placement on the storeroom shelf influences which one a consumer ultimately chooses, according to a new study.
The study found that the shopper's eye has a very central focus.
"Consumers are more likely to purchase products placed in the middle of a display - without even being aware of it," said Onur Bodur, an associate professor from Concordia's John Molson School of Business.
Using eye-tracking devices, Bodur and his colleagues investigated how location influences choices for a variety of products, including cosmetics and food items.
They found that consumers would increase their visual focus on the central option in a product display area in the final five seconds of the decision-making process - and that was the point at which they determined which option to choose.
It turns out that the process is a subconscious one. When asked how they had come to choose which product to buy, consumers did not accurately recall their reasons for their decision. What's more, they were not aware of any conscious visual focus on one area of the display over another.
What does uncovering these unconscious habits mean for the average shopper? Greater awareness of buying behaviours should lead to more informed choices.
Bodur said that "by using this newfound knowledge that visual attention is naturally drawn to the center of a display, consumers can consciously train themselves to make a more thorough visual scan of what's on offer."
When it comes to holiday shopping, the visual equivalent to thinking outside of the box just might lead to savvier selections.
Bodur co-authored the study, which appeared recently in the Journal of Consumer Research, along with marketing researchers at HEC in France and the Aston Business School in England.