Why Colour Coding is Important in Retail Design

Why Colour Coding is Important in Retail Design
For the consumer, retail spaces are where sensory stimulation and quick evaluating of needs, wants and finances meet. So shopping can be stressful, rather than pleasurable.  Intelligent retail design uses research insights to implement innovative solutions that enhance the customer’s shopping experience − and give retailers better results.Researchers in a range of fields help us understand more about customer perceptions, decision-making and purchasing behaviour. Neuromarketing, in particular, measures the brain’s responses when shopping, using hi-tech tools such as in-store EEG testing (scanning the brainwaves of study shoppers as they stroll the aisles), and eye-tracking devices that match the shopper’s visual focus to what’s happening on their EEG, to the millisecond.This kind of research is changing how we design retail spaces. For instance, as Dr AK Pradeep, a neuromarket researcher explains in his book The Buying Brain, we know it’s wise to choose curves, and soften the edges of display details.Why? In evolutionary terms, our brains are wired to associate sharp edges with danger, so we subconsciously (instinctually) avoid their implied threat. Studies also suggest we’re neurologically wired to respond well to things that feel natural, not synthetic. This has implications for interior design elements.Then there are the clues for packaging and displays. Have you stood in front of rows of merchandise, feeling too flummoxed to make a choice? This is because choosing tires the brain, especially if it’s hard to differentiate one item from the next. Our brains crave novelty. This is where pops of colour come in.COLOUR CODESColour plays a huge role in the purchasing of products, the perception of brands and the in-store experience.When picking the right palette, there are some key guidelines:
  • Choose a visual structure of base colours that tell a story around your brand concept.
  • Consider shade associations:
    • Blue suggests trust and calm.
    • Green is evocative of nature, abundance and wealth.
    • Yellow stimulates the appetite.
    • Warmer hues, such as orange, are inviting and reassuring.
    • Brown is either rugged (hiking stores) or decadent (chocolate).
    • Black suggests sophistication.
  • Keep accent colours as such, making up no more than around 20% of the palette: If it stands out like a sore thumb, it will get noticed.
  • Ensure your colours are appropriate to your brand, as they cue brand recognition by 80 percent, say researchers at the University of Loyola, Maryland.
SEEING REDNot surprisingly, the boldest of the bunch, red, yields the strongest response. In small doses, it adds energy, urgency, a drive to action. Too much, though, can be agitating.While research from the University of Rochester shows both genders find the colour alluring, women associate it more with power, while men associate it more with seduction. In a study published in The Journal of Retailing, psychology professor Nancy Puccinelli found that when men saw an advert with prices written in red, they were positive about buying the product, thinking it offered a saving. Not so for women, who viewed it with scepticism. The suggestion was that men are less practised shoppers, so see red as a shortcut.SHADE VARIATIONSGeneralisations based on colour don’t account for personal or cultural differences. You also need to keep target market factors in mind, such as age and gender. Children respond more to bold colours, as do men, while women prefer softer shades that have tints (white added) rather than shades (black added).Timing is also key: While most retailers bombard their customers with bright colours and visuals come festive season, shoppers are stressed then, and so respond negatively.