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The verticality heuristic: Why top shelf is not always top notch in product placement
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Business Administration. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Service Research Center.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Psychology. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Centre for HumanIT. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Service Research Center.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Service Research Center. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Business Administration.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8278-1442
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many factors influence the consumer’s attention at point-of-purchase (POP), and suppliers invest heavily in these factors to influence behaviour and to increase the likelihood their products’ will ultimately be chosen. This paper contributes to the research on decision-making at POP by exploring shelf verticality (vertical space position) and product packaging as factors influencing consumer attention, consideration, and choice. We explored the inferences consumers drew from shelf verticality and product packaging by measuring visual perception in the decision-making process. In two eye-tracking experiments with value specific tasks (premium or budget), we found that consumers made inferences based on shelf verticality, which in turn influenced the initial visual attention towards products on the shelf. Nevertheless, consumers ultimately made value inferences from product packaging in consideration and choice of products. The implication is that consumers anticipate premium products to be placed on the top shelf level and budget products on the bottom. Any deviation from this expectation leads to longer search time. The main contribution of this research is that consumers use shelf verticality to reduce the search effort, similar to a heuristic, when product search is initiated. Consequently, the optimal placement of a product should be based on consumers’ expectations.

Keyword [en]
influencing factors, out-of-store, in-store, shelf space, recognition heuristic, product familiarity, heuristics, packaging, visual attention, eye-tracking, decision-making, point-of-purchase
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-25944OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-25944DiVA: diva2:600536
Available from: 2013-01-24 Created: 2013-01-24 Last updated: 2014-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. What Does it Take to Get your Attention?: The influence of In-Store and Out-of-Store Factors on Visual Attention and Decision Making for Fast-moving Consumer Goods
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What Does it Take to Get your Attention?: The influence of In-Store and Out-of-Store Factors on Visual Attention and Decision Making for Fast-moving Consumer Goods
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Decision making for fast-moving consumer goods involves a choice between numerous similar alternatives. Under such demanding circumstances, a decision is made for one product. The decision is dependent on the interaction between the environment and the mind of the consumer, both of which are filled with information that can influence the outcome. The aim of this dissertation is to explore how the mind and the environment guides attention towards considered and chosen products in consumer decision making at the point-of-purchase.

Consumers are equipped with several effort reduction strategies to simplify complex decision making. The selection of strategies can be conscious or automatic and driven by information in the environment or the mind of the decision maker. The selected decision strategy reduces the set of options to one alternative in an iterative process of comparisons that are fast and rely on perceptual cues to quickly exclude irrelevant products. This thesis uses eye-tracking to explore this rapid processing that lacks conscious access or control. The purpose is to explore how product packaging and placement (as in-store factors), and recognition, preferences, and choice task (as out-of-store factors) influence the decision-making process through visual attention.

The results of the 10 experiments in the five papers that comprise this thesis shed new light on the role of visual attention in the interaction between the environment and the mind, and its influence on the consumer. It is said that consumers choose with their eyes, which means that unseen is unsold. The results of this thesis show that it is just as important to be comprehended as it is to be seen. In split-second decision making, the ability to recognize and comprehend a product can significantly impact preferences. Comprehension stretches beyond perception as consumers infer value from memory structures that influence attention. Hence, the eye truly sees what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2013. 89 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2013:5
Keyword
point-of-purchase marketing, influencing factors, out-of-store, in-store, shelf space, product packaging, package design, visual attention, visual search, eye-tracking, process-tracing, gaze cascade model, recognition heuristic, familiarity, decision-making, decision-making process, decision-making strategies, heuristic decision-making, preference formation, information processing
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-25947 (URN)978-91-7063-479-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-22, 11D 257, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-03-01 Created: 2013-01-24 Last updated: 2014-12-11Bibliographically approved

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