Does Your Shop Fitting Get Inside The Psyche Of The Shopper ?

Shop fitting and layout is so much more than meets the eye. Every aspect of a successful shop is painstakingly thought out to turn an innocent passer-by into a spending machine without them ever knowing it. We all consider ourselves to be rational, evolved animals: we take our time considering our purchases, we analyse the costs and benefits, we weigh the pros and cons and we make informed decisions, don’t we?


Yes, we do, but not as often as we might think. It isn’t just that handful of times we’ve fallen victim to the dreaded ‘impulse buy’, we’ve all got a pair of jeans two sizes too small that we’re waiting to squeeze into or a bread maker in the loft we bought when we planned to go all ‘Nigella’, almost every single shopper is influenced and inspired by environmental cues to buy the product, from the brand, at the price of the shop owners choosing. If you’ve got stock you want to shift then delve into the mind and emotions of your shopper with a few simple techniques.

Sensory Perception

Touch, sound, sight and taste. Utilising your potential customer’s senses to entice them to buy is not only simple but is in practice in all successful high end chains. Our senses bypass our rational mind and head straight for the emotional centres of our brains; the right combination of music, scents and displays will turn even the toughest customer into a shopaholic.


Studies show shoppers are significantly more likely to buy something if they can touch and feel it first. The ability to reach out and touch a product increases your confidence in the brand and your confidence in the seller, it shows the shop has nothing to hide, it’s ‘try before you buy’. Successful shops incorporate this into their shop fitting with ‘merchandise road blocks’; these are tactile displays throughout the shop floor that customers can interact with, increasing their likelihood of buying.


Music creates the mood and ambience of an environment, many shops, especially trendy clothing boutiques; use it to evoke feelings in the shopper of coolness and fun. Music is especially important if your ideal client fits in to the younger demographic; play the wrong music and your whole stock will seem drab, play the right music and your items are a ‘must have’.


There’s nothing worse than a tight, cluttered messy shop. If your shop is cramped none of your stock will stand out and overheated, overwhelmed customers will head for the door as soon as possible! No one wants to manoeuvre through aisles and aisles of merchandise to find the one item they are looking for, they’re waiting for you to hand it to them.

What’s your colour scheme? Colours evoke associations in individuals and influence their behaviour so if you want to entice people into buying make your shop your canvas. Take red, red is stimulating, just like our animal cousins when we see red we are energised, excited and significantly more willing to part with our money for that perfect item, studies have even shown that waiters and waitresses who wear red receive tips up to 26% higher than those in other colours!

For some effective visual trickery try your hand at ‘Triangular balance’, it’s an innovation in shopping that everyone should be using to encourage the customer, and it’s so simple to achieve. It is a principle based on the fact that our eyes are always drawn to the centre of a picture so when dressing your shelves always place your biggest, tallest, most expensive products at the centre and surround them with smaller, less eye catching items so the eyes are drawn firmly to the prize. People will notice the product you want them to see and you’ll find them flying off the shelves in no time.


Something special happens when our senses are flooded with the right smells: moods and memories swim back into the forefront of our brains and we clamour to hold on the the emotion. Why do you think high end shopping chains use scents in their stores? Because it increases our perceptions of product quality and encourages us to spend longer lingering in that environment, which in turn encourages us to purchase more stock.

When you’re designing the look of your shop think about your target market, think about your ideal clientèle, and plan your sensory tactics around that group. It’s simpler than it seems and the results really do speak for themselves.

This post was written by Emma Smith on behalf of John Worth Shop Fitters, a second to none shop fitting service who understand what appeals to customers.

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