Visual focus leads to buying decisions

Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:37 PM
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MONTREAL, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Shoppers facing shelves of horizontally arranged products have a particular but unconscious visual focus for selecting products, a Canadian researcher says.

In a study of how a product's placement on the store shelf influences which one a consumer ultimately chooses, it was found a shopper's eye has a very central focus, researcher Onur Bodur of Concordia University in Montreal reported Thursday.

"Consumers are more likely to purchase products placed in the middle of a display -- without even being aware of it," said Bodur, a professor in the university's John Molson School of Business.

Bodur and colleagues in Britain and France used eye-tracking devices to analyze how location influences shoppers' choices for a variety of products including cosmetics and food items.

In the final five seconds of the decision-making process shoppers increased their visual focus on the central area of the product display, they found.

However, when queried why they selected which product to buy, consumers said they were not aware of any conscious visual focus on one area of the display over another.

An awareness of such shopping behaviors should lead to more informed choices, Badur said.

"By using this newfound knowledge that visual attention is naturally drawn to the center of a display, consumers can consciously train themselves to make a more thorough visual scan of what's on offer."

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