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A closer look at the consuming gaze

Date:
July 30, 2012
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
But how does where a product is placed on the storeroom shelf influence which option a consumer will ultimately choose? It turns out that the shopper's eye has a very central focus.

Rows of chip bags in a vending machine, endless bottles of shampoo on pharmacy shelves, long lines of books arranged in the bestsellers section at the bookstore. From supermarket shelves to barroom beer selection, long lines of horizontally arranged products are the norm when it comes to the shopping experience.

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But how does where a product is placed on the storeroom shelf influence which option a consumer will ultimately choose? It turns out that the shopper's eye has a very central focus.

"Consumers are more likely to purchase products placed in the middle of a display -- without even being aware of it," says Onur Bodur. The associate professor from Concordia's John Molson School of Business co-authored a study forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research with marketing researchers at HEC in France and the Aston Business School in England.

Using eye-tracking devices, Bodur and his colleagues investigated how location influences choices for products as varied as vitamins, meal replacement bars and energy drinks.

They found that consumers would increase their visual focus on the central option in a product display area in the final five seconds of the decision-making process -- and that was the point at which they determined which option to choose.

It turns out that the process is a subconscious one. When asked how they had come to decide on what product to buy, consumers did not accurately recall their choice process. What's more, they were not aware of any conscious visual focus on one area of the display over another.

What does uncovering these unconscious habits mean this mean for the average shopper? Greater awareness of buying behaviours should lead to more informed choices. Says Bodur, "by using this newfound knowledge that visual attention is naturally drawn to the center of a display, consumers can consciously train themselves to make a more thorough visual scan of what's on offer."

When it comes to shopping, the visual equivalent to thinking outside of the box just might lead to savvier selections.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "A closer look at the consuming gaze." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730204609.htm>.
Concordia University. (2012, July 30). A closer look at the consuming gaze. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730204609.htm
Concordia University. "A closer look at the consuming gaze." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730204609.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

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