The verticality heuristic: Why top shelf is not always top notch in product placement
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
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.
influencing factors, out-of-store, in-store, shelf space, recognition heuristic, product familiarity, heuristics, packaging, visual attention, eye-tracking, decision-making, point-of-purchase
Research subject Business Administration
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-25944OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-25944DiVA: diva2:600536