The psychology behind product placement

You would be surprised by how much thought is put into retail product placement. You might think there is a sort of haphazard charm to the way even your local store is organised. However, there is a robust area of study in retail research that can have a significant impact on sales.

Exploration of the psychology of product placement is, in short, a prominent business itself. This is especially true for stores that sell fast-moving consumer goods. Those products that we need every day, but a store will need to stock in large numbers and move in quick time.

product placementThe secrets to successful product placement are an art more than science in reality. The shop is the canvas and your palette of lighting, shelving, use of colours, and music. With the pressure placed on the high street from those online shops, it has become more essential than ever to hone your product placement skills.

What is product placement?

Before getting to the nitty-gritty of product placement theory, it is vital to be clear what this involves. The focus is on the psychology of where your products should be placed so that your consumer is required to pass the items or browse on the items. This sounds a lot like common sense – and it is to a degree. However, there is an underlying complexity to this psychology that warrants some commitment to learning. You need to understand the essentials of a planogram.

A planogram is an official term for the intelligently designed shop space. Not every retail space you enter will have a planogram – some will have a random selection of shelves and blocks. You will recognise these stores because you will be left with the overwhelming sense that you cannot find anything you want or need. The better-designed planograms will cause you to buy items you didn’t even realise you needed until you entered the shop.

The tips and tricks of successful product placement

All this theory is fine – and the idea of guiding the consumer around a shop seems logical. You may have thought it was only a matter of signage and the occasional display area. However, those experts in product placement have one or two other tricks of the trade.

Essentials to the back

All major supermarkets know you will want milk, bread and eggs. They will purposefully place these items to the back of the store – forcing you to walk past all those luxury and highly desirable items twice. First, you will walk through the cakes on the way to the bread, and then back again when heading to the tills. The strongest person will be tempted after a second time glance at the creamy apple turnover at a bargain discount price.

Short shelf-life luxuries

Bakery items as treats placed right near the front of the store are genius – why? Well, if freshly baked the smell will make you hungry. A hungry shopper is an impulsive shopper. If you place a luxury item in an empty trolley, it doesn’t feel so bad. By the time your cart is full, retrieving that luxury item feels like far too much hard work. Most people are too embarrassed to discard an item at the tills, and pretty much everybody cannot be bothered to return to the doors of the store to re-shelve the item.

Eye-level is the prime real estate

Ask any company pitching to a supermarket where they want their products; they will say eye level. They want those shelves that are about two-thirds of the way up the rack. The exceptions? Sweet manufacturers who crave the eye-line of the toddler. A screaming toddler is far more persuasive than any advertising campaign you could undertake. The wait at the till is another prime opportunity to tempt that impulse instinct – and the patience of now tired parents.

Use colour psychology

Colours offer a shorthand language with your consumer that is far more powerful than we realise. If you can harness these colours, you can direct your customer to a specific brand. Colour can evoke a sense of trust, with blues suggesting openness. It is a safe colour that suggests calm – and is most often used by financial organisations.

Alternatively, if you want to evoke a sense of chic – use monochrome – use some black in your stores and accent this with soft greys. This is a particularly useful technique for technology companies – glance around the Apple store the next time you are considering a Mac purchase.

In short

The pressures on the retail space are such that they need to maximise the customer experience. Therefore, understanding the psychology of product placement could not be more critical. This is merely a starting point of the decision you should make. It might be time to learn more.