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Retail Tips from ARA - A Subtle Trick of Consumer Psychology

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Russell Zimmerman, ARA Executive Director, discussed the changes and innovations that are shaping the scene of modern retail in the digital space, social media and the merge of technology into the shop floor.

"Although exciting, these aren’t the only elements that are shaping retail. It’s the subtle techniques that some retailers have been using lately that shape consumer behaviour – and in this case, I’m talking about round shapes themselves."

Studies in Psychology have shown that rounded corners are trusted more by humans, probably due to sharp edges hurting us, whereas a rounded object won't, and this seems to have had a dramatic effect on consumers and how they behave when they shop.

Francesca Nicasio, a retail expert, says rounded shapes are what customers like and easily warm to.  This includes round-edged online click buttons to round-edged shelves and clothing racks - a subtle trick of consumer psychology and a technique, while small, that can actually lead to big results.  Not everything in the store should be rounded but there are some areas encouraged in order to establish greater control over consumer behaviour.

Here are her three suggestions to increase consumer trust in Retail :

Websites – click buttons with round edges are preferable on websites rather than sharp edged click buttons, and they also have a greater click rate. The Marketing Donut conducted a study on online shopping and found that 92.6 percent of online shoppers placed visuals as the top influencer when purchasing a product. That’s the majority of online shoppers, so if your website has sharp edged click buttons, it’s time to file down the corners.

Shelves – we don’t always pay too much attention to the look of shelves but studies by Designmodo have shown that sharp corners disrupt consumer thoughts. The front tips of shelves are therefore usually seen curved in so as to subconsciously move the consumers attention to the product displayed.

Display walls – rounded or U-shaped designs can also influence the way you display your products in your store. Shop walls often connect quite sharply to one another, however, when you display your products, it can be a good idea to ensure each wall is curved through to the next in a soft, subtle manner. According to Carol Tice’s tips in ‘7 layout secrets of the big retail chains’, U-shaped store designs make customers want to enter into the space as though the walls were arms calling out for a hug.

"My advice to retailers is to look carefully at both your online and offline stores. Think of the atmosphere you want your customers to experience and design your store to influence and reflect this. Retail is an exciting space and there is so much room for creativity - even subtle creations such as strategic rounding of shelves and walls can lead to big results."

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