A recent post titled Flooring Affects Retail Buying Experience on Christine Whittemore’s Flooring the Consumer blog for flooring retailers talks about how an interesting study out of the University of Minnesota examines how flooring and carpet can affect consumer behavior and step up retail sales.
Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, says her research shows that the feeling customers get from a store’s flooring can affect how a product makes them feel, which can in turn determine whether or not they buy it.
The study even looked at the difference the flooring made when someone was looking at a product close-up versus from far away. From far away, carpet makes a product look more comfortable, “While hard tile would leave the customer less content with the same product, the findings show.
At a distance, when fine details are less apparent, customers “fill in” the gaps in their perception of a product with their physical sensations at that moment. Customers take their physical comfort into consideration on a subconscious level, Meyers-Levy said.
In the study, researchers had participants stand on both vinyl tile and soft carpet in an otherwise bare room to judge items like a gift basket, a vase and a clothes hamper.
When the customers are near a product, they have a full understanding of its detail. In this case, Meyers-Levy said, the flooring acts as a frame of reference.
When looking at a couch, for example, it would seem very comfortable and suitable in comparison to cold, hard vinyl tile.
Even larger stores that use vinyl tile simply for utility can learn from the research.
In stores like Wal-Mart, carpet may be used in a small “feature area” of the store, such as for home furnishings.”
It’s interesting to think that carpet can help retailers sell product, but carpet adds a lot more to indoor environments than just comfort – subconscious or otherwise. There’s increased safety, better acoustics, and energy conservation, among other things.
Check out the original article here: Study: Store flooring can affect purchasing decisions. Consumers' subconscious attitudes influence buying behavior.