Display Graphics At Retail Stores: Effectiveness

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Display Graphics At Retail Stores: Effectiveness

Neuroscience is important in determining consumers' behavior when they view displays and ultimately how they make buying decisions. Color is known to evoke emotion from consumers and many grocery and food stores use the color yellow in displays since the color is known to increase appetite. The order of price and product is important in a display as it determines a consumer's buying behavior. The decision on whether to have an artistic display over a sales display is dependent on the retail store's target audience.


We started our research by sourcing for information from reliable sources such as Research Gate, Deloitte, and several neuromarketing blogs and research studies. These sites provided useful information, however, we found very limited information pertaining to grocery/and food stores in particular.

We then sourced for information directly from websites and industry reports and journals of well-known grocery and food stores to understand their strategies and how the leveraged neuroscience in their retail display, however, this search did not bear any fruit.

Still trying to determine information specific to grocery and/or food stores, we sourced for information from various marketing blogs and reports such as TheBalanceSMB. This did not yield any results. Continued searches on psychology and science websites, reports and blogs did not give any insight into design and display decisions specifically made by grocery and/or food stores.

Due to the limited information from these specific retail stores, we decided to broaden our scope of research. This search was successful and through reports from Deloitte, and other marketing and display blogs we were able to determine the psychology and neuroscience behind certain display choices made by retail stores and which decisions are favorable in attracting customers to the stores.


Displays are geared towards attracting customers into stores and turning them into regular paying clients. A report from Ireland found that the medial prefrontal cortex of a person's brain shows increased activity when it sees a face they consider attractive. Therefore, this means that people are attracted to faces they deem attractive.

The rostromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain then considers if this person who is considered attractive is a good match for them and this generates curiosity. A good retail design would utilize the psychology of attractiveness to create an instant attraction which would bring about curiosity from a shopper and this would begin the psychological relationship the shopper would have with the store.

Using attractive faces emboldens a retail design strategy and this tactic can be used on storefront displays and in marketing displays.


Several retail studies have shown that many retail decisions are made out of emotion. It is important for retailers to understand how humans interact with the environment based on various color palettes. Colors evoke various emotions from calming to panic, it is important to use the right color to convey the right message.

Window displays are known to have colorful signs to attract customers to stores, however, Think Marketing Lab advocates for the incorporation of the color blue in window displays as this color is known to increase trust in the brand and the brand's quality. A study by the Journal of Business Research determined that customers are 15% more likely to return to a store that was blue.

Food-related retails stores use the color yellow in their displays since this color is known to increase appetite and that feeling will be associated with the retail store. Sales signs are often red due to the fact that people react with urgency to the color red. Red is associated with danger and is meant to draw customers to a specific offer. Black is often associated with sophistication and it is used by many high-end stores and luxury products.


Behavioral studies have shown that consumers have two main needs when they meet a new retailer; wanting to understand and wanting to explore a new environment. Different visual displays affect how customers behave. It is important that a store window display is easy to understand in order to attract people into the more complex environment inside of the store.

Displays that focus on sales pass specific messages to customers helps them understand the environment in which they are entering, while artistic displays often draw out curiosity from shoppers. Researchers noted that there was a difference in shoppers' responses when they placed a storefront display which was artistic next to one that only showcased the products. The display that was artistic was attractive to shoppers who were more relaxed, while the display only showcasing the products was attractive to more purposeful shoppers.

The study concluded that different displays are attractive to different people depending on their mood and the purpose of their shopping trip. It is important that a storefront display is made in a way that will attract its target audience.

Research in neuroscience has determined that the average number of words that we read when we are in a grocery store is ten.


Price communication is one of the most important factors that contribute to the buying behavior of consumers. Buying behavior is often determined by the customer's perception of the price rather than the price itself. For a customer to buy a product, they must consider the price to be justifiable and this makes them willing to pay for it. Retailers must be able to determine consumers' unconscious reactions to price displays to determine an effective strategy to communicate price to the customer.

Studies on the neural level and behavioral level were conducted to determine how consumers reacted to how product-price and descriptive information about the product was placed. The study investigated differences at the neural level and at the behavioral level towards the order of price and descriptive information in a display. A study by Harvard Business School determines that the order matters. By observing activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex, they noted that when the price of the product came first the shopper wondered whether the product was worth it and when the product and product information came first, the shopper wondered whether they liked the product.

When the price comes first in a display, the consumer wonders whether the product is value for their money and they will concentrate on this more than on the product. This is meant to get the consumer to think about the product in terms of the value it provides. Luxury brands take the approach of showcasing their products first. This makes the product desirable and the consumer wonders whether they like the product and if it is a good fit for them. It is important for a store to determine if they are selling value or desirability of their products to determine which order is the best fit for their store.