Thursday, June 24, 2010

Carpet Steps Up Retail Sales, Study Says

Flooring The Consumer: Flooring Affects Retail Buying ExperienceA 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.

~Bethany

Check out the original article here: Study: Store flooring can affect purchasing decisions. Consumers' subconscious attitudes influence buying behavior.

2 comments:

C. B. Whittemore said...

Bethany,

I thought you might find this study as fascinating as I did! If the goal of retail is to find a way to keep customers in-store longer, what better way than by having a comfortable flooring like carpet to do so with, right?

Thanks very much for referring to my post in yours.

Best,
CB

Jacob Martin said...

Carpet just makes an area look and feel cozy. There is nothing like a nice plush carpet to accent a home furnishings display. It helps me to visualize my home and creates an impulse buy.

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