Creating attention in the store
It’s not easy to create attention for your products. Shoppers are constantly bombarded with all kinds of (visual) stimuli. To make your products stick out, you need to know what attracts the shoppers’ attention. In this this video I’ll show you how to create “visual magnets” — and you’ll get a closer look at my heart 😉 .
What attracts a shopper’s attention is very much influenced by the characteristics of the stimuli. If you want to draw attention to particular products in the store, you can consciously employ these visual magnets. The three characteristics that you can use to draw shoppers’ attention to a product or display are: novelty, position, and contrast.
Surprising, new or unusual stimuli will attract people’s attention. Stimuli like products, signs or decorations that appear in unexpected ways or places increase people’s attention because they cause a change in the sensory system. For example, building a huge pyramid showing apparel merchandise will get the attention of customers, as it is an unusual presentation method in a fashion store. Likewise, a rearrangement of merchandise attracts interest because of its novelty. But be careful! Too much novelty in a store will result in consumer confusion and overwhelm shoppers. Always keep a balance between new and traditional stimuli. For example, when merchandise in the entrance area is replaced by new arrivals, the rest of the merchandise should keep their prior placement. Don’t change everything at the same time.
Position is another way to catch shopper attention. Position refers to a product or display’s placement and size. Simply put, if you place a product in a spot where most shoppers look, it will get noticed. For example, this effect can be achieved by presenting products that should get noticed at the appropriate height on a shelf. “Eye level is buy level”. Products that are placed in shelves at the shopper’s eye level receive considerably more attention than other products. Displaying products in areas of the store that receive the most store traffic also works. Finally, size is yet another way to attract shoppers’ fickle attention. Larger stimuli are more likely to be noticed than smaller ones. In visual merchandising, bigger is indeed often better.
Contrast is another way to attract the consumer’s attention. It works because changes in the environment activate the sensory receptors and thereby stimulate attention. Varying the intensity of a stimulus represents one way of creating attention using contrast. All stimuli addressing the human senses can be varied according to the intensity desired. For example, brighter areas of a store will get more attention than darker areas. Louder music will attract more attention than softer music.
Contrast can also be achieved through vivid colors. Intense colors, for example bright red or yellow, will highlight products more than less intense colors like pastel shades. But even a product in a black and white package will attract attention if all the surrounding products are brightly colored.
Another way to attract attention through contrast is movement. Examples of using movement in visual merchandising are moving message signs, rotating product displays and flashing lights.
One more way to use contrast to attract attention is isolation. Recently, in the large window of an Apple store, I saw a display of the new IPhone. It was only the IPhone and nothing else. It certainly created attention.
Now you know how to create attention for what you want shoppers to see in the store. But be careful: Attracting attention is to a large extent driven by the stimulus characteristics but maintaining the attention on a product or display depends on the consumer’s motivation and interests. If the shoppers isn’t interested in what she sees in the store, she will quickly lose interest and focus her attention on something else, regardless of the novelty, position or contrast of that stimulus. Even flashing lights won’t help with that. Creating attention is simply not enough. What visual merchandising can do, however, is to create a short window of opportunity and captivate the shopper’s attention for a moment or two.