Where is the eye of the consumer drawn to? A Concordia Université group of researchers have investigated how location influences choices for products as varied as vitamins, meal replacement bars and energy drinks, by using eye-tracking devices. “Consumers are more likely to purchase products placed in the middle of a display – without even being aware of it,” says Onur Bodur, associate professor. Although consumers might scan the entire display during their search and evaluation process, the researchers found that consumers would increase their visual focus on the central option in a product display area in the final five seconds of the decision-making process – and that was the point at which they determined which option to choose.
It turns out that the process is a subconscious one. When asked how they had come to decide on what product to buy, consumers did not accurately recall their choice process. What’s more, they were not aware of any conscious visual focus on one area of the display over another.o
How do sexual cues affect consumer behavior? New research from USC Marshall School of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Kyu Kim and Gal Zauberman, associate professor of marketing at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, reveals the reasons why sexual cues cause us to be impatient and can affect monetary decisions. Their paper, "Can Victoria's Secret Change the Future: A Subjective Time Perception Account of Sexual Cue Effects on Impatience," departs from earlier theories indicating that impatience in response to sexual cues is solely an outcome of escalated desire for immediate gratification. Kim and Zauberman hold that the cognitive processes put into play by sexual cues are more complicated; arousal, the researchers contend, actually affects our perception of time. For example, in one of five studies conducted, male subjects were presented with sexually charged imagery. Afterwards, the subjects were asked to judge whether three and six-month time frames were "very short" or "very long" distances away from the present time. Those who had been exposed to individuals to whom they were attracted, reported the three and six-month time frames to be further into the future than others in the control group, according to the study. In another study, the researchers presented 116 males with images from an online Victoria's Secret catalog and gauged their response to receiving one of two fictitious Amazon.com promotions: a gift certificate available that day or one available three months from now. They asked the subjects the dollar value that would compensate for having to wait. Those exposed to sexually charged imagery (versus those in a control group exposed to nature images) were found to be more impatient and expressed that future discounts would have to be steeper to compensate for the time delay.
Sex and Promotion:The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, has implications for marketers. For those exposed to sexually charged imagery, future rewards were even less appealing than those with more immediate promotions. Marketers, therefore, who invoke sexual imagery to sell products, must make sure promotions are offered in a more immediate time frame. Consumers with sex on the brain, might be more inclined to spend money more quickly. o
Consumers are more likely to select products located in the horizontal center of a display and may not make the best choices as a result, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. "A close investigation of visual attention reveals that consumers do not accurately recall their choice process. Our findings emphasize the relationship between horizontal location, attention, and choice," write authors A. Selin Atalay (HEC Paris), H. Onur Bodur (Concordia University), and Dina Rasolofoarison (Aston Business School). Many products are arranged horizontally. For example, rows of snack bars in a vending machine, bottles displaying the beer selection in a bar, or jars of peanut butter on a supermarket shelf. How does this influence which option a consumer will choose? Using eye-tracking devices, the authors investigated how location influences choices for products as varied as vitamins, meal replacement bars, and energy drinks. Consumers had a tendency to increase their visual focus on the central option in the final five seconds prior to a decision and this determined which option they would choose. Consumers did not accurately recall their choice process and were not aware of any conscious visual focus. Another study in a retail environment demonstrated that the centrally located item within a product category is chosen more often, even when it is not placed in the center of the shelf or visual field. Consumers would make better choices if they were aware that their attention usually focuses on the center. "In the context of low involvement choice between frequently purchased products, when choosing between unfamiliar yet equivalent brands, the visual search process and consumer choice are biased toward centrally located options. Being unaware that our attention is focused on the center can lead to poor choices," the authors conclude. o
Online advertising has become prevalent in the past five years, and social media sites, such as Facebook, have played a major role. Now, a study at the University of Missouri School of Journalism has developed a method that could help advertisers target online audiences easier by knowing their personality types.
Using a new personality scale, researchers determine how people with certain personality types use social media websites. Heather Shoenberger, a doctoral student in the MU School of Journalism, found that those individuals who liked high-risk activity tended to update their status, upload photos and interact with friends frequently. Simultaneously, those individuals who were more reserved tended to merely scroll through Facebook’s “news feed”, and did not upload photos or actively engage with their friends frequently.
“The scale that we used is called the Mini-Motivation Activation Measure, or Mini-MAM, scale,” Shoenberger said. “Using this scale, we were able to find a trend in the patterns of how people with certain personality types use social media. I believe this could really help advertisers and certain types of media groups target potential customers with particular ads on social media sites. For example, if a company wants to target a population for a high-risk activity, they should try to determine who is active on Facebook posting pictures and updating their status frequently.”
In her study, Shoenberger surveyed people about their use on Facebook and then asked them to take the Mini-MAM test to determine their personality type. Those who leaned toward high-risk activities were labeled as “appetitive,” while those who were more reserved in their activities were labeled as “aversive.” She found that both personality types used Facebook frequently, but she found significant differences inhow they use the social media site.
“If you’re highly “appetitive” or lean toward high-risk activities, you’re more likely to want engage with media that are more exciting, whereas those who are higher in the “aversive” trait tend to enjoy safer and more predictable media experiences,” Shoenberger said. “Identifying these individuals using the motivation activation measure can give advertisers an advantage over their competitors and bring some order to online advertising.”
Retail addict and marketing professional. I have dedicated most of my working life to the understanding of how to influence the consumer no matter if it´s inside or out of the store.
Owner of Magnus Ohlsson Retail Management.