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Retail: here’s how you can make it easy for people to buy more

How do you make sure your products are visible among a larger assortment and immediately attract shoppers’ attention ? By using visual salience.


Supermarkets make it impossible for shoppers to understand the assortment

Supermarkets organize products by departments and by categories. Within any given category products are placed next to each other without taking aesthetic into account. As a consequence a shopper’s brain don’t see any visual coherence and don’t see products that don’t fit within his expectations for this shopping trip.

Look at those two examples : one is from a regular supermarket, the other one from Whole Foods (acquired in 2017 by Amazon). Which one do you prefer ?

 Retail: make it easy for people to buy more, example of Merchandise displayed in a regular supermarket

Merchandise displayed in a regular supermarket (image : shutterstock)


 Retail: make it easy for people to buy more, example of A fruits and vegetables shelf at Whole Foods

A fruits and vegetables shelf at Whole Foods



Your brain will find it more pleasurable to look at the Whole Food assortment and in turn you’ll be more likely to explore the assortment, find new products and buy them. Beauty leverages sales.

Help the shopper’s brain understand the assortment

If you don’t follow best practices that help reduce the cognitive load, shoppers will not be motivated to explore the assortment. And this is actually what happens in the vast majority of the cases. Retailers make no efforts arranging products in an attracting way, make it too difficult for the brain to process the assortment, hence reducing the likelihood of new product exploration and fostering current purchasing habits. Do you really want your customers to always buy the same?


Arrange to increase in-store purchases

The pictures below illustrate how product’s variety can be used to increase visual salience and lead to increased purchases.
This type of arrangement makes it easy for the brain to process the information. The whole product variety is immediately visible and the brain sees all the different nuances. The comparison exercise is easy and the purchase decision facilitated.

Coach had displayed a series of similar products each in a different color.

Tea by thé, a tea shop in Paris, displays tea varieties by color and creates a visual experience that complements the traditional olfactory one.


Superlove, a concept store in Copenhagen, has arranged little wooden objects by family, making it easy for customers to grasp the coherence and make a choice.

Flying Tiger organises its table decorations by colour to make it easier for the consumer to buy and encourage them to buy the whole range.

The Atelier Alchemist associates a fragrance with an image to simplify the olfactory representation.


Retailers who want to create a differentiated customer experience and increase in-store purchases should aim at arranging their products in a visually coherent way to reduce shoppers’ cognitive load and lead to easier purchase decisions.

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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