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Colours in Retail: How Do Colours Impact Purchasing Decisions?

Posted on - August 01, 2017

Colour scheme is an extremely important factor that brands tirelessly contemplate when designing products and packaging. However, this influence is not limited to just merchandise. Colour also plays a role in the overall layout of the retail store, and (whether they realise it or not) can affect customers’ purchasing decisions. According to Shopify[1], customers make a decision about a store within 90 seconds of viewing. Believe it or not, roughly 62% to 90% of those decisions are based solely on colour. Furthermore, the same study found that 85% of consumers listed colour as the main reason they bought a particular product.

WW_DDATA_211016_3385.jpgWhile colour schemes are not often top-of-mind in today’s fast-paced retail news cycle, failure to acknowledge their impact can present stores with major consequences. It is essential that retailers stop living in black and white and take advantage of the opportunities that certain colour schemes offer.

The psychology behind colours and the emotional reaction we obtain from them has been thoroughly researched over the years. For example, red is seen as a “dangerous” and “exciting,” and black tends to have a connotation of a higher-value product. We also know that blues have a calming connotation and yellows and oranges scream, “Look at me!”; but what colours should retailers use to their advantage?

A recent study by VeryWell [2], found that people react faster and more forcefully when they see the colour red, the main reason being that red is psychologically programmed into our brains as a sign of danger. Red successfully grabs customers’ attention and encourages them to make a purchase simply by stopping to view the product or label, like when we stop at a traffic light or for an emergency vehicle.Contrastingly, the colour yellow exudes happiness and optimism. Yellows are a fantastic attention grabber when used sparingly. According to design consultant Linda Cahan, yellow is the colour first perceived in your retina [3].

The colour black is most often used to market luxury products, often known as the go-to choice for products in the high-end makeup and fashion industries. This powerful, sleek colour can make any product look more upscale, especially when it contrasts with other hues.

To more effectively attract customers and move products from the shelves, stores must utilize these colours and their effects. Shoppers today expect to see sleek and eye-catching designs. Traditional black and white paper labels simply don’t cut it anymore and stores are doing themselves a great disservice by sticking with the old ways of product displays and labels.

Displaydata’s 3-colour Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) make it easy for stores to offer a more striking alternative to paper labels. By introducing these digital labels on the shelf, retailers can harness the power of colour to influence customer decisions. In some cases, brands that introduced a promotional colour increased their sales by more than 30%, according to Philip Adcock of SBXL [4].

When choosing a store’s overall colour scheme, retailers should understand the psychological impact on customers, especially at the shelf edge. Afterall, the right colour choice could entice customers to open their wallets and encourage repeat visits.

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[1] https://www.shopify.com/retail/119923395-why-all-sale-signs-are-red-the-science-of-color-in-retail

[2] https://www.verywell.com/color-psychology-2795824 

[3] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223799 

[4] https://www.sbxl.com/blog/