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Monday, June 21, 2010

Flooring Affects Retail Buying Experience

Flooring and the retail buying experienceIntuitively, it makes sense to me that flooring would affect the retail buying experience.

However, it's just been proven by new research from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management in a recently published Study:  Store flooring can affect purchasing decisions. Consumers' subconscious attitudes influence buying behavior.

More specifically, "the feeling customers get from a store's flooring can affect how a product makes them feel, which in turn determines whether they buy it..."

I'm biased in favor of plush carpet with intensely delicious padding. It's gentler on my body and allows me to focus better on what I'm considering.

I'm certainly aware that in a retail environment many elements come into play - including flooring - with the ultimate goal of positively affecting customers so they spend more time in-store - which in turn increases the likelihood that they will buy.

However, I had never considered, as the study suggests, that "flooring acts as a frame of reference" for consumers.

I need to talk a walk through an Urban Outfitters or an Anthropologie and consider.

At the same time, I'll examine the ceiling height, which according to the same research professor Joan Meyers-Levy influences thought process.

Meanwhile, would you let me know how you decided on your store's flooring? How has it affected your retail buying experience?

11 comments:

Shelly said...

I can't tell you how many times I've been in a store or (in particular) a restaurant and noticed how shabby or nice the flooring is. It's kind of my gauge as to how the company takes care of everything else. If, for instance, a restaurant has horribly stained carpet or grubby flooring that hasn't been kept up out where customers can see, it makes me wonder what it looks like where they're preparing my food!

C. B. Whittemore said...

Shelly, great observation! The state of the floor communicates a lot.

I think women in particular pay attention to details and to what those details communicate about the overall retail experience.

Thanks for sharing your comment.

Best,
CB

Pablo Edwards said...

I can echo @Sally, flooring plays a huge role in my experience with a company or in a store. There are some places that have great deals, that I simply will not enter because of the damaged and disgusting floor. Huge impact!

Daniella Santos said...

This is nice, since we also experience such thing. When we enter a shop the products that they sell is not the first thing that we see, and that's the whole environment even the floor. It really affects the attitude of the costumer. What the shop looks like may somehow reflect the kind of products that they sell.

C. B. Whittemore said...

Daniella, you are so right about the floor being part of the whole environment. I've been paying more attention to that since reading the original article and research.

Thanks for stopping by!

Best,
CB

C. B. Whittemore said...

Pablo, what a great real life example of what we're discussing! thanks for visiting.

Best,
CB

C. B. Whittemore said...

Daniella, I completely agree! All of these details add up in the consumer's mind and form a perception of what to expect that's hard to change.

Thanks for your comment.

Best,
CB

SusanA said...

This post suggests that you could change the tone in a store by changing teh flooring. You could have "runways" that are solid for people who are moving quickly, with carpeted areas where you want people to slow down and relax and browse. You could identify luxury boutique products inside a store with more luxurious flooring. Colors would of course play a role too.

Some of this would really need to be thoughtfully addressed though. i was in a high end restaurant last night with a fully concrete floor.it was in a converted industrial building, so it totally fit. and certainly the servers were moving quickly. but it didn't makea me feel rushed.

C. B. Whittemore said...

Susan, fabulous ideas! What you describe would bring rhythm and movement to the retail environment. I prefer your notion of runways to that of race track which is often used to describe the major thoroughfare in many large stores [discount and department].

About your restaurant example, it works despite the hard concrete floor because the restaurant most probably includes seating to better savor the culinary experience. It also offers that marvelous combination of food + social interaction + environment that generates conversation [i.e., converted industrial building] that automatically stops people in their tracks and engages them.

Thanks so much for sharing your perspective.

Best,
CB

Jacob Martin said...

I agree with Pablo. When I walk into a store I want to feel good about my buying experience. Concrete and cheap vinyl totally ruins the experience. You should send this post to Wal-Mart.

C. B. Whittemore said...

Jacob, memo is on its way :-)

Thanks for adding to this discussion.

Best,
CB

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