Research Shows How Flooring Affects Shoppers

Minneapolis, MN, June 16, 2010--The feeling customers get from a store’s flooring can affect how a product makes them feel, which can in turn determine whether they buy it, according to new research from University of Minnesota.

The real-life implications of the research in retail shops depend largely on whether customers are looking at a product from just inches away or from a distance, researchers told

A plush carpet, for example, would make a distant product seem more comfortable, while hard tile would leave the customer less content with the same product, the findings show.

The research has clear implications for retailers, professor Joan Meyers-Levy said told the newspaper.

“It says something about how you want to set up your store,” she said.

At a distance, when fine details are less apparent, customers “fill in” the gaps in their perception of a product with their physical sensations at that moment. Customers take their physical comfort into consideration on a subconscious level, Meyers-Levy said.

In the study, researchers had participants stand on both vinyl tile and soft carpet in an otherwise bare room to judge items like a gift basket, a vase and a clothes hamper.

When the customers are near a product, they have a full understanding of its detail. In this case, Meyers-Levy said, the flooring acts as a frame of reference.