The Psyche of the Modern Shopper

The Psyche of the Modern Shopper

Shopfitting is fundamental to the success of any store and a vital component if you are to secure sales in an increasingly competitive marketplace. It has the power to tempt a passer-by in from the street and convert them into a valued customer or even entice people offline and into your bricks and mortar store, yet it is something which often goes un-noticed.

The days of endless credit are over and, on the whole, consumers are now unable to afford extravagant shopping excursions. Research from Ipsos Retail Performance indicates that, as a result, the average British shopper’s psyche has fundamentally shifted from materialistic consumerism to a less risky mind-set. Instead, they now favour quality and reliability, and only allow themselves a treat occasionally. They’ve also become savvier with purchasing decisions including the use of voucher codes and conducting online research before heading to the high street.

However, although the modern shopper prides themselves on rational decision making and are putting more emphasis on restraint, they are still only human and can still be encouraged to indulge themselves with the odd impulse buy or increased spend through the influence and inspiration of environmental cues as well as products, brands and price. They continue to look for a ‘retail experience’ through value, effortless transactions and creatively designed stores.

As a result, it is the role of the store – with the support of their shopfitter – to persuade purchase by satisfying a shopper’s essential needs or compulsive wants through their environment. Shopping is now a sensory experience and consumers’ sight, hearing and sense of smell are highly perceptive. Senses connect directly with the emotional centres of our brains, so the correct blend of display and atmosphere has the potential to capture the attention of any customer.

Studies prove sales increase if customers can touch and feel products. It inspires confidence and assures them that you have nothing to hide. Thriving stores incorporate this principle into their shopfitting design and product display considering height and positioning in order to emphasise a ‘try before you buy’ culture. They also utilise layout techniques including ‘merchandise roadblocks’ which give consumers pause, and offer tactile displays that they can ‘interact’ with.

In addition, certain sounds – music in particular – generate a particular ambience and can successfully evoke favourable emotions in customers whilst smells can also conjure up specific memories and moods which influence the perception of a product including quality. As a result, both can significantly increase the time consumers spend in store and the amount they spend while they are with you.

However, from a shopfitter’s point of view, it is the sense of sight that is the most powerful. People decipher visual and symbolic material much more efficiently than the written word and the layout of the store can have a direct effect on sales. Owners should ensure it is not cramped or cluttered, that stock will stand out and consumers do not become overwhelmed or you may see them walk straight back out the door. Dressing techniques can also be utilised to display products to their best advantage so they are easily found and the eye is drawn to high-profit items.

In addition, colours trigger powerful psychological cues, so choice during the design of a store is essential. Customers take just 90 seconds to make intuitive judgements about an environment or brand, and up to 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone. In fact, 52% of consumers will not return to a store due to negative overall aesthetics (Institute for Colour Research).

Utilising the power of sensory perception to increase sales is simple and should be supported by the shopfitting of the store. With your shopfitter’s flair and experience, you can incorporate sensory and other shopfitting tactics with the right ‘fit’ for your particular target market in order to support increased footfall, spend and profits and helping ensure the store’s success for years to come.

Our team of highly skilled craftsmen at R.S. Sets can offer you extensive experience and an inspired approach in all aspects of shopfitting and refurbishment. Talk to us today about how we can create you an exceptional space of remarkable quality and design on tel: 01420 590 611, email: or visit us at:

Author Bio

Annette Harley

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