Everything in a retail environment affects how we perceive things and how we shop–from the decor and lighting of a store to… the flooring? A study published this month in the Journal of Consumer Research provides scientific proof that the relative hardness of the floor customers stand on can affect their purchasing decisions. And no, comfier feet do not mean that customers will spend more money.
The study combined carefully constructed rooms, consumer goods, and college students. Researchers discovered that subjects who were able to stand relatively close to a vase (as one might in a store) found it more comforting while standing on a hard tile floor than on a soft carpeted one–that is, the more uncomfortable a shopper, the more comforting they might find the objects on a shelf in front of them.
In most cases, when people’s distance from a product is moderately far, their visual access to the product’s features and, thus, the representation that they form of the good will be relatively poorly defined. This encourages the assimilation of their bodily sensations with their product assessments.
Alternatively, when this distance is close, such that the visual acuity of the product and its representation is clear, people’s bodily sensations are apt to be used as a comparison standard and prompt a contrast effect on their product assessments.
Take notes, Bed, Bath & Beyond.