Palmer Retail Solutions Blog

Retail Psychology: The Science Behind Customer Decisions

Posted by Kathy Heil on Aug 3, 2017 2:46:50 PM

retail psychologyAny veteran retailer can tell you success is not about sales, it’s about psychology. Choosing the right merchandise, presenting it in irresistibly appealing ways, and securing lasting customer loyalty all require an in-depth understanding of your customers. Not mere demographics, but who they are as people. Their lifestyles, challenges, desires. In other words, what makes them tick.

Psychology drives the purchasing bus whether your customers are shopping for toothpaste, a new doormat, a hot new dress, or the latest electronic device. The fixtures you choose for your perimeter and center spaces, how you arrange them, how you display merchandise, even the configuration and location of your cash wrap all directly affect the desire to shop and desire to buy.

Your store has to feel fresh and intriguing. It has to be easy and convenient to navigate. Ultimately, it must deliver a customer experience that is enjoyable and rewarding. So much so, that customers can’t wait to return.

Customers are drawn to multi-sensory experiences

One of the biggest mistakes a retailer can make is assuming sight and touch are the only senses that matter. Of course, customers visit brick-and-mortar stores because they can see the merchandise up close and literally get a “feel” for it. But their other senses also heavily influence customer buying decisions:

  • Color affects a customer's emotions. It is the primary factor in determining a shopper’s first impression of your store. It can be inviting or “noisy.” It can evoke calm and comfort, or it can confuse your customers instead of catching their eye.
  • Sound affects our attitude. Chirping birds or a waterfall can transport us. Loud or jazzy music makes us feel energetic. That’s great for a toy store or teen boutique, but you don’t want shoppers to be so buzzed they zip through your store in record time, missing opportunities to spot and explore your products. Softer, slower-paced music can instill a homey ambiance. But too slow, and you’ll put customers to sleep, at least mentally, so they don’t bother to engage with your products.
  • Smells evoke the strongest memories, and they can draw customers sight unseen. And tastes engage customers in a way nothing else can.

Want to know more?

To become a successful retailer you have to become a savvy psychologist. You have to create an environment that strategically combines the physical, the aesthetic, and the emotional.

Our Guide to Retail Psychology is the how-to resource you need to pull all these elements together seamlessly. It’s so useful, you’ll want to download a copy so you’ll always have it at your fingertips. It offers detailed tips on everything you need to create a psychologically appealing store:

  • Creating an ideal floor plan for your store and products
  • Designing and placing fixtures, from wall units to display cases
  • Creating displays and signage that sell
  • Transforming your checkout counter into a sales center

Most importantly, it explains the “why” behind the tips. When you understand the science behind your customers’ decisions, you can create an atmosphere that encourages them to say “yes.”

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