What visual methods are employed by UK supermarkets to influence product choice??


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What visual methods are employed by UK supermarkets to influence product choice??

  1. 1. What visual methods are employed by UK supermarkets to influence product choice?? Ryan Oldfield VC601 Dissertation 2012
  2. 2. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 2 Contents Introduction…………………………………………………………………..1-2 Literature Review……………………………………………………………3-4 Methodology…………………………………………………………………5 Supermarket Definition……………………………………………………..6-7 History of the UK Supermarket……………………………………………7-11 An analysis of shop layout and product placement……………………..12-17 Psychology of Buying………………………………………………………18-26 Sensory Branding and Promotion…………………………………………27 Case Studies………………………………………………………………..28-29 Findings and Conclusion…………………………………………………..30-31 Bibliography……………………………………………………...32-33 References……………………………………………………….34 Figures……………………………………………………………35-42 Appendix………………………………………………………….43-48
  3. 3. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 3 Introduction It is the objective of this dissertation to find out in what ways, and how effectively, supermarkets use visual design/layout techniques to encouragecustomersto make purchases. Although supermarkets employ a variety of methods, personal investigations have found that not all of these relate purely to design. Design related methods will be examined to hopefully ascertain the most common (and the most innovative) ones used, and to also identify whichwork most effectively. Investigations into generic, similar and any variations in methods employed by supermarkets will also be undertaken. As a regular supermarket shopper (as well as graphic design student), it is of personal interest to gain more of an understanding of the visual „signs‟ which supermarkets use to guidecustomers around each area.It seems that supermarkets design their floor layouts in a specific way to encourage us to buy more than we need. Research to date has found that many stores use a number of techniques which subliminally and blatantly persuade us to buy from them. To what degree does this work? What role does in-store design, layout, visual merchandising and promotion play? How do they work together to create desired reactions from customers? It is hoped that readers (including supermarket workers!) will benefit from thissubmissionin different ways. Research findings may benefit supermarkets as efficient and effective methods of persuasion used by competitors may be applied to their own places of work. In the same way, consumers may find this work of interest as they are directly targeted and influenced by supermarkets in their spending habits, with many items being purchased as a result of clever and sometimes manipulative selling techniques. It would naïve to think that any research which is personally found during this investigationwill not already have been done by the major supermarkets, as they put millions of pounds into researching the most effective ways to make consumers spend their money. However
  4. 4. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 4 from a consumer‟s point of view,this document may uncover facts that they would not normally read about in the media which may inform them about the various subliminal and blatant methods and techniques adopted by supermarkets to make them buy. Some secondary data will be utilised from case study accountswhich have been done previously and which are relevant to this area of study. It is also hoped that primary research can be done by asking individuals to go into a supermarket and write down what catches their eye as they walk around. This will hopefully provide a clearer understanding of how shoppers navigate their way around a store and the choices they make when confronted by the various forms of promotion and layout of products. The biggest limitation of this study is that supermarkets may not provide requested information which alludes to how and why their stores look the way they do visually. Research would therefore have to rely heavily on secondary information which already exists. The main objective of this report is to find out what methods the supermarkets use to make shoppers buy and how effective are they when compared with each other.
  5. 5. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 5 Literature Review In order to gather as much information as possible on the chosen topic area research will be using books, websites, case studies and articles and even TV from which qualitative and quantitative data may be gleaned. Key texts examined include: Martin Lindstrom‟s „BUY-OLOGY‟ provides detailed information around the psychology of purchasing decisions. However, it relates more specifically to TV advertising than in store advertising. A number of internet and E-Library case studies have been examined and may also prove useful, most specifically: W.M.C.B. Wanninayake and PradeepRandiwela‟s „The impact of visual merchandising on consumer store choice decisions in Sri Lankan supermarkets‟, although this isn‟t a UK case study, it does provide a valuable insight into what people think and what influences them to buy from supermarkets. Statistical data will also be included to support thoughts and substantiate findings. Specific internet information which compares the prices on the shelves of four major supermarkets will be investigated and analysed. As well as books and case studies several relevant articles discovered on the internet and E-library will be included within this dissertation. These include: „Virtual Circles‟ by Charles Ilsley shows that supermarkets have new technology that can show if a product will sell better in a different or current position. Janet Groeber‟s article „The path to profit‟ asks a number of questions about supermarkets and in-store design, to some top professionals in the supermarket and marketing world.
  6. 6. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 6 „Graphic Impact‟ by Anita Watts, proved to be one of the most useful articles as she talks in detail about how photos, fonts & colours increase impulse buying. Two articles from the Design Week journal – „Store design‟, mentions in detail about the supermarket in-store environment and also provides statistical information. „On point‟ discusses point-of-sale and how to use it in the correct and most effective way. www.spacehijackers.org had a useful article which included an A-Z list of retail tricks to make consumers shop, although sadly, more than half of the content wasn‟t design related. A recent TV episode of BBC 1‟s Panorama showed an undercover team who investigated the „big four‟ supermarket chains (Sainsbury‟s, Tesco‟s, Morrison‟s and Asda). Their objective was to reveal how consumers are being duped through false advertising and promotion. Interviews were conducted throughout the programme when psychologists explained how and why supermarket offers and promotions work so effectively on consumer behaviour and buying decisions.
  7. 7. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 7 Methodology This report aims to investigate and establish how four supermarkets use visual methods to influence product choice. A comparison of the four will also be undertaken to see if there are any tactical differences and why. From the research done to date it has been found that there are links between stores that promote themselves and their appealing product ranges than ones that don‟t. So far a variety of research tools have been used including the internet, books, case studies and articles. Primary research sources include email questionnaires which have been sent to the „big four‟ supermarkets. Unfortunately, only one reply has been received, but it does include some very detailed information about what affects customersinstore. Because of the lack of responses most of the research for this dissertation will consist of secondary sources. Having completed the literature review it has been found that there are many methods supermarkets use, but research findings have only identified a certain number used. These include pictures, colours, typography and own branded products. Product placement will also be discussed and will include information and strategies about product „special offers‟, use and positioning of shelves, the application of posters and promotional displays. Statistical data in news articles will also be used to support points discussed.
  8. 8. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 8 Supermarket definition Contemporary supermarkets are supermarkets which are self-service storesthat tend to offer a wide range of food and household products which are then arranged into aisled sections or departments. These shops have a much bigger varied selection of products compared to traditional stores. However on the other hand its range of products tends to be slightly limited compared to bigger stores such as hypermarkets or big box. Supermarkets normally sell dairy and baked goods, fresh produce and meat, they also have shelf space for packaged items and tinned foods, and also have shelfs for other products which are not food related such as pharmacy goods, pet supplies and also products for the home such as cleaning chemicals. A lot of supermarkets now tend to sell a variety of other household consumables like medicines, alcohol, and even clothes. A normal supermarket has a large amount of floor space, usually on a single level and they are normally placed near a residential area in order to be closer to their customers. Their appeal includes convenience, value for money, and wide selections of goods all available under one roof. Other advantages include easy, free parking and flexible shopping times with some supermarkets staying open twenty-four hours a day. They regularly spend huge budgets on advertising, normally using media such as TV and newspapers. They also include appealing in-store product displays. The stores are normally part of corporate chains that own or control (sometimes by franchise) other supermarkets located nearby or nationally, which can mean increasing opportunities for economies of scale.
  9. 9. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 9 Supermarkets more often than not offer products at low prices by reducing their cost margins. Certain products (normally main foods like bread, milk and sugar) are sometimes sold as loss leaders, that is, with negative profit margins. To maintain profits, supermarkets attempt to make up for lower margins by a higher overall number of sales, and with the sale of higher margin items. Customers normally shop by placing there chosen products into shopping baskets or trolleys then pay for the products at the check-out. At present, a lot of supermarket chains are trying to reduce further labour costs by changing to self service check-out machines, where a employee can watch a group consisting of 4 to 5machines at once, tending to multiple customers at any one time. A larger, full service supermarket combined with a department store is sometimes called a hypermarket. Other services offered at some supermarkets may include banking, cafés, childcare centres, photo processing, video rentals, pharmacies and petrol stations. History of the UK Supermarket In the United Kingdom, self-service shopping took longer to become a permanent feature. Even in 1947, there were only ten self service shops in the country. In 1951, ex-US Navy sailor Patrick Galvani, son-in-law of Express Dairies chairman, made a pitch to the board to open a number of supermarkets across the country. The UK's first supermarket (under the new Premier Supermarkets brand) opened in Streatham, South London, taking ten times as much money per week as the average British general store of the time. Other chains caught on, and after Galvani lost out to Tesco's Jack Cohen in 1960 to buy the 212 Irwin's chain, the sector underwent a large amount of consolidation, resulting in 'the big four' main UK retailers of today Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons. In the 1950s, supermarkets often issued trading stamps as incentives to customers. Today, most stores issue store specific membership cards, club cards or loyalty cards. These normally enable shoppers to receive special members‟ only discounts on certain items when the card is scanned at check out.
  10. 10. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 10 Traditional supermarkets in many countries face fierce competition from discount retailers such as Wal-Mart, Tesco in the UK, and Zellers in Canada, which normally operate with better buying power. Other competition comes from warehouse clubs such as Costco who offer savings to customers buying in bulk quantities. Superstores, such as those operated by Wal-Mart and Asda, often offer a large range of goods and services as well as food. The prominence of such warehouse and superstores has contributed to the continuing disappearance of smaller, local stores. Morrisons Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc is the fourth largest chain in the United Kingdom with their main headquarters situated in Bradford. The company is normally referred to, and is branded as, Morrisons (formerly Morrison's). Morrisons' market share as of December 2008 was 11.8%, making it the smallest of the „Big Four‟ supermarkets, behind Tesco (30.9%), Asda (16.8%) and Sainsbury's (16%), but ahead of the fifth place Co-operative Group, which had a share of 4.4%. Founded in 1899 by William Morrison, (shortened to Wm Morrison), the shop started as an egg and butter stall in Rawson Market, Bradford. Until 2004, Morrisons store locations were mainly based in the north of England, but with the takeover of Safeway in that year, the company now has 455 superstores all over the UK. The Morrison family currently owns around 15.5% of the company. Waitrose Waitrose Limited is a quality market chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom and is the food division of its joint owned British retailer which isJohn Lewis Partnership. Its head office is located in Bracknell, Berkshire, England. As of January 2011, Waitrose has over 243 branches all over
  11. 11. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 11 the United Kingdom and a 4.2% share of the market, making it the 6th largest grocery retailer in the UK. The first Waitrose store opened in Acton Hill, West London in 1904 by Wallace Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor. Within a century the company was one of the country‟s leading food retailers employing 37,000 people. The John Lewis Partnership acquired the business in 1937, opening the first Waitrose supermarket in 1955. Today there are 243 branches, dedicated to offering quality, value and customer service. There are Waitrose shops throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Locations range from high streets to edge of town sites and vary in size from only 7,000 square feet to around 56,000 feet. The John Lewis Partnership as a whole employs nearly 68,000 people and has a turnover in excess of £6 billion. As well as Waitrose, it runs 26 John Lewis department stores throughout the UK, several manufacturing concerns and a farm. The company has a Royal Warrant to supply groceries, wine and spirits to Queen Elizabeth II. As of 1 January 2011 Waitrose has a Royal Warrant to supply groceries, wine and spirits to Prince Charles. It also formerly held a Royal Warrant for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. The company has a long-term goal of opening 400 branches across the UK by 2017 and doubling its revenue to £8bn by 2016. Tesco Tesco plc is a worldwide organisation and general product retailer with headquarters in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second largest measured by profits (after Wal-Mart). It has stores in 14 countries across Asia, Europe and North America and is the grocery market leader in the UK (where it has a market share of around 30%), Malaysia, the Republic of Ireland and Thailand.
  12. 12. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 12 Tesco was founded in 1919 by Sir Jack Cohen as a group of market stalls. The Tesco name first appeared in 1924, after Cohen purchased a shipment of tea from T. E. Stockwell and combined those initials with the first two letters of his surname, and the first Tesco store opened in 1929 in Burnt Oak, Middlesex. The business grew quickly, and by 1939 there were over 100 Tesco stores across the country. Originally a UK focused grocery retailer, since the early 1990s Tesco has increasingly diversified geographically and has started to sell a much wider variety of products like books, clothing, electronics, furniture, petrol and software, financial services, telecoms, internet services, DVD rental, and even music downloads. Sainsbury‟s J. Sainsbury plc is the parent company of Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd, commonly known as Sainsbury's, it is third largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom with a share of the UK sector of 16.5%. The group's head office is in the Sainsbury's Store Support Centre in Holborn Circus, City of London. J.Sainsbury plc also has interests in property and banking. Sainsbury's was founded by John James Sainsbury and his wife Mary Ann Sainsbury in 1869, in London, England, and grew quickly during the Victorian era. It grew to become the largest grocery retailer in 1922, pioneered self-service retailing in the UK, and had its best days during the 1980s.Sainbury‟sis now the third largest supermarket behind Asda in second who overtook them in 2003 and Tesco who overtook them for first place on 1995. The founding Sainsbury family still retain approximately 15% of J Sainsbury plc shares (as of May 2008), through various trusts. The family reduced their stake from 35% in 2005. The largest Sainsbury family shareholders are Lord Sainsbury of Turville with 5.83% and Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, who controls just under 3% of the company, and benefits from 1.6% of the equity included in the above. The largest overall shareholder is the investment vehicle of the Qatari royal family who now hold 26.145% of the company.
  13. 13. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 13 M&S Marks and Spencer also known as M&S and Marks and Sparks is a British retailer with headquarters in the City of Westminster, London, with over 700 stores in the UK and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It mainly specialises in selling clothing and luxury food products. M&S was founded in 1884 by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in Leeds. In 1998, it became the first British retailer to make a pre-tax profit of over £1 billion, though a few years later it went down into a crisis which lasted for a number of years. In November 2009, it was announced that Marc Bolland, formerly an employee of Morrisons, would take over as chief executive from Executive Chairman Stuart Rose in early 2010, Rose stayed in the role of non-executive Chairman until he was replaced in January 2011 by Robert Swannell. Asda Asda Stores Ltd is a British supermarket chain which sellsfinancial services, general merchandise, food, toys and clothing. It also known for its mobile telephone network, (via the Vodafone Network) called Asda Mobile. Its head office is at Asda House in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In 1999 Asda became a subsidiary of the American retail giant Walmart, the world‟s largest retailer, and is the UK's second largest chain by market share after Tesco. In December 2010, Asda's share of the UK grocery market stood at 16.5%. Asda's marketing promotions have normally been based solely on price, promoting itself under the slogan „Britain's Lowest Priced Supermarket‟ for fourteen consecutive years. As a wholly owned division of Wal-Mart, Asda is not required to declare quarterly or half-yearly earnings. It submits full accounts to Companies House each October.
  14. 14. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 14 An analysis of shop layout and product placement Attracting customers Before supermarkets can get customers to buy from them, they have to first engage the customer and attract them into their store rather than one of their competitors. The „big four‟ supermarkets (Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury‟s and Morrisons; Marks & Spencer‟s and Waitrose aren‟t classed within the big four) all have to fiercely compete with one another to get us into their shops. This used to focus around weekly or monthly offers to get the customers in, but the past couple of years have seen the advertising strategies change with the big supermarkets. Advertising techniques they use are based on comparing the prices and/or quantity of their products with single or multiple rivals to show that they are cheaper. There are a number of ways the supermarkets have been doing this, and one way is to show just one product that is a lot cheaper, another is to show an average cost of goods in a shopping basket which are cheaper than the competition. Customers Inside Once a supermarket has persuaded customers to shop with them, the real mind games begin. As soon as they enter they are hit with colourful offers and price beating deals. They have several ways to make shoppers look at their product offers and deals, some are obvious but others are very clever and use psychological techniques. Some supermarkets having revolving doors (Fig. 3) which slow customers down. And because they all look in the same direction this is the perfect area to place advertisements. Fig.3 shows a poster for „Special Offers‟ and there is also an offer for cereals promoting „Any 2 for £4‟.
  15. 15. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 15 As customers leave the revolving doors the supermarket may place a second advertisement including those that are used to cover security beepers (Fig.6), so it has more then one purpose. But even though the advert was placed to the side it would still be noticable as there is usually one placed opposite. This offer is for „Buy 1 Get 1 Free‟. Others are displayed as customers get into the supermarket which includes large format advertisements. They are placed where every customer coming into the shop will see them. The one in Fig.4 is for „Better than half price‟. As customers go to get a basket they have to stop or walk slowly up to the motion sensor barrier, and this is yet another technique used to slow people down. As they wait for the barrier to open they can see on either side and dotted around, stands with products on, and in the middle of each stand is a little poster that says either „New‟ or „Half Price‟ or „Only‟. When walking down some of the aisles there are product stickers placed on the floor or big metal baskets holding more special offers (Fig.5). By sticking things in the aisle they get noticed more and people look at them because it is an obstacle and in their path. For example, large bags of potatoes may be put on the floor, which can be labelled „Bigger pack better value‟ and these may be placed near to other kinds of potatoes. Once customers have finished shopping they have to pay at the tills where numerous products are strategically displayed on offer. Products usually include chocolates, sweets, magazines, promotional store leaflets and DVD‟s. Research revealed an interesting survey from 2002 which interviewed 1058 customers about what they thought about supermarkets in store: „What consumers would like to see introduced or improved in supermarkets‟ 45% said more service counters/checkouts, 31% said clearer signposting in
  16. 16. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 16 store, 25% said better layout of store, 20% said clearer product/price information on shelving/displays. And also in another survey which asked the same amount of people „summary of statements agreed with about shopping in general‟ 26% said I am often tempted by a window display to enter a shop and make a purchase while again 26% said I have been tempted to buy new products by promotional displays, sampling or demonstrations in store‟. (See Appendix 7) Supermarket shelves Through doing my research I found a very good case study which had investigated the theory that supermarkets would put the most expensive products or the products that were on offer on shelves that were level with shoppers‟ eye lines. Therefore we are more liked to see these products and purchase them. They tested the theory on four supermarkets which included Tesco, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer‟s and Sainsbury‟s.(see appendix 2,3,4,5) From the results it could be seen that Tesco and Sainsbury‟s do exactly as above with Tesco placing the cheapest products at the bottom, (where people don‟t usually look) then the most expensive on the middle and top (where people are most likely to look). Sainsbury‟s did a similar tactic; they had the cheapest brands at the top and bottom and the most expensive ones at eye level. As Waitrose is more upmarket, their prices are higher than most others as their target market are usually higher earners, but there is still some cases where the cheapest products are placed at the top and bottom and the more expensive on the middle shelves. On the other hand Marks & Spencer‟s stocks mainly its own products so the shelves are varied and there is no obvious pattern or theme that can be noted. An interesting article on the internet suggested that supermarkets such as Asda and Sainsbury‟s purposely design and make bland packaging so that
  17. 17. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 17 customers either don‟t look at it because it looks cheap and don‟t want to be seen buying such products. Figure 10 shows Asda‟s own brand products in plain and boring packaging designs, they don‟t look particularly aesthetically pleasing and many shoppers may be put off buying it. It seems that in the last couple of years, that some supermarkets have noticed this and have started to change their thinking on this by producing more aesthetically pleasing „own brand‟ products to give them more of a quality feel and worth buying. Some supermarkets have even introduced ranges, like Sainsbury‟s „Taste the Difference‟ and Tesco‟s „Finest‟. Figure 9 and 11 both show examples which look a lot better and reflect more of a „quality‟ feel. This is why Tesco and Sainsbury‟s have started to put their „own brand‟ products onto middle shelves and even in some cases they have sections just for these own branded products because they are so popular now. Alternatively, Asda‟s home brand products are still on the bottom shelf in their supermarkets where they are difficult to spot. Virtual Shop One of the great inventions (from a supermarkets perspective) of the past few years has been the virtual shop. This is where supermarkets and product manufacturers can change the place or interior layout of the shop‟ and this includes product placement experimentation, to see if it will sells better in a new layout as opposed to a current one.. Using data that supermarkets have collected (mainly through loyalty card holders) they can see the usual shopping habits of their customers. Some are asked to do their shopping through the virtual store as they would in their local one. The virtual stores collect three types of data, which includes the products they are looking at on the shelf, those they are selecting and finally those that they are purchasing. After 500 people shopped through the virtual store the data was collected and showed that 6% more people browsed the product, 4% more people selected it and
  18. 18. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 18 most importantly 3% bought the product in its new layout (see appendix 6). The virtual store would appear to be essential to supermarkets and manufacturers to gain valuable information about how to get the most out of their products and their interior retail environments. As well as virtual mapping, supermarkets and manufacturers use something called „gaze detection‟ to see when people go into a store exactly where they look so they and can see if people are looking or not looking at their products. If not, they can change the place of the product to an area that gets a lot more attention from customers. Sections of products Every supermarket uses sections which link to other sections which then lead to sub sections. In the food section customers can find items such as cakes and bread, which then leads to meat and sandwich fillers, which then goes into tea time food items, then ready meals, continental and world food, desserts etc. This doesn‟t happen because they want to look organised, this is because they want shoppers to follow the line and keep purchasing products. If everything wasn‟t displayed within customers would most probably only shop for specific items and then leave without anything else. Some supermarkets have even been accused of their layout being changed to confuses the customer so they don‟t know where everything is, so they spend more time trying to find the products they want and more time going down aisles they don‟t need to which then entices them into buying products they never went in for and don‟t need. In an article „Summary of statements agreed with about shopping in genera (date?)‟ 42% of people said they get annoyed by too frequent changes in layout at stores they regularly visited.
  19. 19. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 19 Impulse buys Impulse buys happen most often at the end of the shop and at the tills and mostly when there is a queue (see Figures 7 and 8). Products usually consist of mainly chocolate and indulgence food when the urge to buy can be overwhelming. Special offer products are also displayed in front of the tills where they can be easily seen and accessed.
  20. 20. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 20 Psychology of Buying Christopher Zinn, from Choice, a consumer magazine, explains that to try and convince consumers to stay in their stores and buy items they don‟t really need supermarkets will use basic psychology and marketing: “All supermarkets employ these tricks, some more overtly than others. Everything from lighting, music and product placement is controlled by the supermarket in order to have you spend more.” There are many visual factors that can affect a consumer‟s thought processes whilst shopping, but three of the most important ones are graphics, typeface style and colour. These qualities together can encourage and impress the consumer to spend in ways and timeframes that best suit the supermarkets. Colour When it comes to psychology, colour has a very strong impact on us. And from the very first picture taken in Morrison‟s for this dissertation, until the last, it was realised that all of the large format posters and signs which promoted special offers were all printed in red, and all the smaller ones were yellow. After research was undertaken it was found that red stands out more than other colours and also yellow is bright and eye catching. Figure 13 shows a „special offer‟ sign and a „great buy‟ sign in the foreground, both of which are red. Nearly all of the price tags have the prices in bright yellow (see figure 12) and if not, they have a red „half price‟ label on them. Looking at „own brand‟ products such as for Tesco‟s „Finest‟ and Sainsbury‟s „Taste the difference‟ ranges (see fig 9 and 11) their products use the signature colour black which suggests a luxurious and quality feel, which attracts the attention of the customer.
  21. 21. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 21 Colours really can have psychological effects on people as the following quote from Pantone shows: “An executive for a paint company received complaints from workers in a blue office that the office was too cold. When the offices were painted a warm peach, the sweaters came off even though the temperature had not changed” Different colours evoke different reactions and emotions, for example, people trust the colour blue more than any other and are drawn to red. “Supermarkets have taken this research and used it to their advantage by changing the colour in different parts of the store” says Christopher Zinn from Choice, July 17, 2008 Colour can also be used in other ways to communicate with consumers. The pairing of red and orange in fast food restaurants for example, has shown to make customers want to eat quickly and leave. This is why these are two of the most dominant colours used in the fast food industry, when they are used on menu boards and throughout shop interiors. Impulse shoppers respond best to red, orange, black and royal blue. Apparently light purple is most likely to get customers to spend their money. Lighting It was also found through research that lighting in a supermarket is very important. Some stores install soft lighting and slow music, with the intention being to make customers feel relaxed as walk around stores in the hope that they will stay longer, and therefore the chances of buying more products is higher: “The majority of customers respond to the lighting more positively. They specially mentioned that lighting helps to select correct products, reduce the time wasted and feel relaxation during shopping tours.
  22. 22. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 22 Therefore managers can select appropriate lighting system that creates satisfaction of psychological needs of customers” Taken from a report called the impact of visual merchandising on consumer store choice decisions in Sri Lankan supermarkets, October 13-14 2007 Font Different fonts can have and mean totally different things and can affect us psychologically. Some fonts convey stability and can make consumers feel reassured and secure in buying a known or loved brand. Other fonts however, may be viewed as emotional,exciting,innovative or interesting, and are much better suited to new items advertisements or promotions. „Own brand‟ products from Tesco‟s „Finest‟ and Sainsbury‟s „Taste the Difference‟ range use similar serif fonts and the handwritten style adds a personal and premium feel (see figures 14 and 29). Morrisons‟ „home brand‟ products use simple language and easy-to-read fonts as customers normally only look at items for a matter of seconds, therefore they need to be able to instantly decipher what is being said and whether it is good value or not. Images Product images play a big part in advertising in supermarkets especially in the area of food. With food products, quality can be highly important, when photography plays a significant role. How a product is pictured, either in its raw state to signify how its been sourced, its cooked state as a serving suggestion, or to show a product‟s ingredients, it is crucial to promote qualities such as tastiness or freshness. Figures15,16 and 17 shows some examples of food photography, one of
  23. 23. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 23 which is in its raw state (the potatoes), the other is cooked (the pie) and the final one is in its serving state (the ham). Including pictures of the products is highly important as this helps to win the customer over into buying the products. Most manufacturers now place a picture on this kind of packaging of the product in its cooked state. Attractive Store Dust and damaged items on the shelves can communicate a bad image of a store. Other features including interior colour specifications, lighting and even the design of the floor tiles can have significant influence on shoppers. In the article „Summary of statements agreed with about shopping in general‟, 43% of people (1058 were asked) said that they tended to spend more time in shops that have an attractive store environment. 35% said they have been put off certain shops due to an unattractive store environment. Visual Prompting Using the physical lines separating carpet patterns and laminate flooring, shops often try to guide shoppers around following these lines. The retailer, WHSmiths on Oxford Street in London has cut into the carpet a giant arrow which guides customers directly to the centre of the store. Niketown also uses similar idea by using lines across the floor subliminally ushering people around the store. The Landing Zone The „landing zone‟ is the area just inside the shop. Many supermarkets don‟t like to place things here because this is where customers make first sensory contact with the shop, which includes its sights, smells, sounds and temperature. So anything placed here won‟t be noticed or get much attention. Slowing Down As discussed previously, one of the best ways to get people to look at goods and products is to slow them down. Various types of flooring are often used to direct customers as a retailer wants around the store. Supermarkets make great use of
  24. 24. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 24 textural differences between carpet and linoleum to steer customers around and hold them in certain places. Occasionally random rugs and mats are laid out in supermarket aisles to slow „traffic‟. They have also been known to place smaller tiles on the floor in expensive aisles in the store. When a customer enters the aisles their trolleys would click faster bringing them to think they‟re going too fast and therefore they would subconsciously slow down leading them to spend more time in that aisle. Displays Displays are regularly placed at the end of aisles so that your eyes are always on the products. When they would like to promote particular items this is most likely where they will be placed so that a customer walking down an aisle will approach the display head on as opposed to at right angles like the rest of the aisle. I found a case of this in Morrisons, where they had put a lot of tins of chocolates that were on offer (see figure 18). Offers Supermarkets will often entice shoppers with „specials‟ however, most often the items on „special‟ are not at cheaper price. Also, some shops advertise that there closing down which isn‟t always true; they use the fear of missing out on a deal to make their customers return. They add a sense of urgency to what is in effect, a selling off of cheap stock. For example, a recent visit to Morrisons showed a variety of offers and different ways of advertising them. They used the colours red and yellow to advertise them and included posters with the following promotional wording: „Special offers‟, „Only‟, „Now‟, „Buy 1 get 1 free‟ ,‟Any two for £4‟, „Half price‟, „Better then half price‟, „special purchase‟, „great buy‟, „Save‟. Price Drops In a recent Panorama programme it was discovered that not all the products „on offer‟ were actually on offer, as some were the same price as they had
  25. 25. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 25 been previously and some had even increased in price. „Scams‟ were also found with the advertising as well. Some of the supermarkets are currently using tactics that experts say, range from “cheeky” to others that could lead to prosecutions for breach of consumer protection regulations. This included advertising on shelves which announced „Two for £2‟, but failed to highlight that there was actually no savings made as each item was being sold previously for £1 each (see figure 19) But does it make us buy more? Psychologist Gorkan Ahmetoglu, the writer of a report for The Office of Fair Trading(5/12/11) on the influence that promotional offers and savings have on shopping habits, says this type of advertising acts as a subconscious trigger: "They are triggering the same reaction as when you eat chocolate. The offer will still attract your attention and a lot of people will not look at the single unit price." There is something known as „price establishing‟ in the marketing world. A retailer will sell a product at a particular price over a certain amount of time, but then would raise the price suddenly. Later, the price is reduced down to its original price and the supermarket tells consumers they‟ve "slashed the price". Tesco's „Big Price Drop‟ seemed to do this with its medium whole fresh chickens, which wentfrom £4 to £5 for just over two months before the „Big Price Drop‟ saw their price decrease to the original price of £4. In another case, a label with a price saying „Now £2‟ failed to mention the older "was" price. Morrisons‟ fabric conditioner was labelled as „Now £2 - Offer Ends Sunday‟ but failed to mention that just two weeks before it cost only £1.65. Finally, to translate: „bigger pack, better
  26. 26. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 26 value‟ in fact means, „bigger pack, costs more‟. At Asda, a 1kg tub of Clover spread for £3.20 was 20p more than two 500g tubs. Own Brand As previously mentioned there has in recent years, been a change in some of the supermarkets‟ „home branded‟ products. Supermarkets such as Tesco‟s and Sainsbury‟s have „home branded‟ products in which they put money and effort into their own brand, to make it look more appealing and price competitive so more customers look at it and want to buy it (Sainsbury‟s „Taste the Difference‟ and Tesco‟s „finest‟). Alternatively there are other supermarkets such as Asda who put no effort into their home branding and make the packaging look cheap and uninspiring and off putting to customers. These products are usually place on the bottom shelves. Strap Lines All the main supermarkets have their own strap lines and these following examples are probably amongst the most recognised:
  27. 27. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 27 Asda‟s strap line is „Saving You Money Every day‟ and they also use a brand jingle which a lot of people recognise, which is played at the end of their TV and radio adverts and includes the sound of money being slapping in a pocket. Tesco‟s – „Every Little Helps‟ Sainsbury‟s – „Live Well For Less‟ Morrisons – „More Reasons To Shop At Morrisons‟ They also have their own strap lines for saving consumers money but these aren‟t as well known. Asda – „Asda‟s price guarantee‟ Tesco – „The big price drop‟ Morrisons – „Price crunch‟ Morrisons also have one for Christmas which is „Come to us for Christmas‟. Impulse Buying The main place for impulse buying is at the tills (see page 17), where customers have to queue. In many shops they place children friendly products at the tills such as chocolates, sweets and magazines so they can pester their parents to buy from this selection. Recent surveys found that 40% of what consumers actually buy is „impulse‟ items - products that we did not intentionally mean to buy.
  28. 28. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 28 Points System The points system adopted by most supermarkets is a very good idea because not only does it reward loyal customers, it also gives them a reason to return. As well as benefiting customers, it also provides the supermarkets with vital information about their customers, including how much they spend, how often then shop, and what kinds of goods they buy etc.
  29. 29. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 29 Sensory Branding and Promotion A number of supermarkets advertise big brands and promotions on the TV, as this is the most effective medium to use to communicate the latest discounts offered by leading brands. With the current economic downturn this is a major marketing priority of every supermarket as they need to attract as many customers as possible. As shoppers walk into a supermarket (or even before they step inside), they are welcomed with pictures of big brands and their weekly promotions (see figs 3,4 and 6). As previously mentioned, supermarkets place the most expensive products on the middle shelves because this is where shoppers‟ eye levels are and where they look the most frequently. So this means this is where all of the big brands are, therefore people will have seen and picked a big brand without even looking elsewhere for a cheaper, alternative product. Many supermarkets use iconic brands to act as signposts for whole categories, for example, HeinzBaked Beans iconic blue tin is so iconic and recognisable that customers navigate directly to the „baked beans‟ category when they see it, therefore to assist customer choice, supermarkets use colour blocking of certain products to act as visual „signposts‟. Customers tend to look at the most attractive packaging, and usually it‟s the big brands that excel at this because they have the biggest design budgets. Customers think that if the packaging looks eye-catching and professional, then this must reflect the product or contents as well.
  30. 30. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 30 Case Studies After researching about the main supermarkets it was found that some used different techniques and some used the same. This section will focus on specific supermarkets (Morrison‟s, Asda and M&S) and the techniques they use and which are the most effective. The first, Morrison‟s use colour, text, posters, images, offers, displays, lighting and obstacles effectively in order to get the shopper to spend more. Morrison‟s three best visual techniques that they use include colour, obstacles and posters. There are two main colours (red and yellow) they use to communicate their offers and price reductions to catch consumers‟ attention. Both of these colours are used because they stand out, but red is used because it is one of the most prominent colours, and yellow because it stands out against the others. Obstacles (placed in a certain place to slow you down or make you change direction) are also used very effectively by Morrisons. They apply this technique as soon as shoppers walk in through their revolving doors, then again at the security barrier where there are baskets of selected products on offer in the middle of aisles. Posters are well utilised and applied by Morrisons. They are used selectively and strategically around the store providing information about special offers and deals. Asda and Marks & Spencer use the same technique but in a different way and is based around home-store branding. Asda has its home-store branding version of most products in the store, but at a cheaper price and in some cases there is a dramatic difference. However, as the price is cheaper they place the products on the bottom shelf and out of sight and all the more expensive brands and products are placed on the middle shelves. Also to make sure shoppers spends more money; they put the product in the least appealing and eye catching packaging. So customers are more likely to put it down because they may feel embarrassed to be seen walking out the store with these products or they may think that the bland packaging reflects the contents as well.
  31. 31. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 31 On the other hand, M&S create quality design packaging, so that more people buy their home branded goods. This also means that they can put a higher price on their products. In some of their stores that have aisles just for their home brand products.
  32. 32. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 32 Findings and Conclusion The previous case studies have shown how much time, effort and money goes into researching and getting information on the latest techniques adopted by supermarkets to attract and keep customers in-store, and to get them to spend as much money as possible. As this dissertation has identified, some techniques are more effective than others and some used a lot more than others. For obvious reasons it seems that the most effective techniques used by the supermarkets are the ones that make people buy and these are: 1. The use of colour: The two most commonly used are red and yellow because they stand out and attract attention. Also, in the cases of using dark colours such as for Sainsbury‟s „Taste the Difference‟ they make products look and feel more like luxury items. 2. Lighting: Many customers said they respond positively to good lighting because it highlights and picks out product aisles clearly as well as helping to provide a more relaxed atmosphere. 3. Fonts: Different styles of fonts can mean and communicate different types of messages to people. A bold font on a „special offer‟ sign will stand out and a handwritten style font such as the one used on the Tesco‟s „Finest‟ range makes products look a lot more like a quality item. 4. Images: Those used on food products for sale either in their raw, cooked or serving state have applied photography well as a selling technique. Products depicted as juicy or mouth-watering are much more likely to buy them than other product that doesn‟t. Showing images can also portray freshness and healthy living. 5. A lot of people in the surveys which were undertaken said they were much more likely to stay in a store that was attractive and well laid out.
  33. 33. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 33 6. Displays and Impulse buys: These work effectively together as all that needs to be done is to place displays of products that are on offer around the store and at each checkout, so the customer can‟t miss them and as a result, achieve an „impulse‟ buy. Most shoppers that enter stores come out with more things then they intended to buy. 7. Advertising: Shoppers cannot fail to notice printed offers, as they are everywhere and produced in bright colours and bold fonts. 8. One of the most popular techniques employed by Asda is the use of product placement when it comes to its own branded goods. As their own branding isn‟t very appealing and is cheap they put it on the bottom shelf so shoppers because it doesn‟t look appealing, so they end up buying a more expensive product. Whereas Tesco and Sainsbury‟s like to promote their own brand products because they look appealing and worth buying which they place in their own sections. If a supermarket not yet employing the techniques mentioned within this dissertation, it would benefit them to adopt them. In conclusion and in answer to the question “What visual methods are employed by UK supermarkets to influence product choice?”, it was found that there are specific and strategic techniques that are continually applied by UK supermarkets. Much information was mainly sourced from the internet as well as from books, the library‟s EBSCO host, case studies and print articles. Images were also taken personally of Morrisons as primary research and to also gain a better understanding of visual merchandising first hand as a shopper. This proved to be highly affective as much knowledge and information was gained on the shop floor. However, it would have been more beneficial to produce a questionnaire in order to ascertain from a number of people what and which areas stand out. It would also have helped to add more in-depth research by examining other supermarkets other than the „Big Four‟ which were included as part of this investigation.
  34. 34. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 34 Bibliography Internet http://www.shopfitdirect.co.uk/blog/2011/01/supermarket-psychology-%E2%80%93- think-like-the-retail-giants/. ShopfitDIRECT.co.uk, 31/10/11 http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1690713/How-to-beat-supermarket- tricks.html. Thisismoney.co.uk, 31/10/11 http://today.ninemsn.com.au/moneyandconsumer/598695/supermarket-tricks. ninemsn.com, Christopher Zinn from CHOICE, 18/09/11 http://www.digitalskratch.com/color-psychology.php. Digitalskratch.com, pantone, 31/10/11 http://www.infoplease.com/spot/colors1.html. David Johnson, 31/10/11 http://www.spacehijackers.org/html/ideas/archipsy/tricks.html. Spacehijackers.org, 18/09/11 http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_9652000/9652944.stm. Panaroma, BBC, 5/12/11 Books Lindstrom, Martin, BUY-OLOGY, Random House Business Books, 2009 Interview Ward, Joe, Head of in-store Marketing, Morrison‟s, 31/10/11 Articles Ilsley, Charles, Research Director at Fifth Dimension, and was published in Research Magazine page 46 in June 2005 Groeber, Janet, Display & Design Ideas, June 2011, Vol. 23, Issue 4, p40-44, 5p Watts, Anita, Film Journal International, Aug 2008, Vol. 111, Issue 8, p48-48, 3/4p Caines, Richard, Design Week, The Big Picture Retail, Store Design, July 2003, p31- 33 Dowdy, Clare, Design Week, The Big Picture Retail, Point-Of-Sale, July 2003, p35- 37 TV The Truth About Supermarket Price Wars, BBC One, Mon 5 Dec 2011, 20:30
  35. 35. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 35 Case Study W.M.C.B. Wanninayake, PradeepRandiwela, The impact of visual merchandising on consumer store choice decisions in Sri Lankan supermarkets, October 13-14, 2007
  36. 36. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 36 References “All supermarkets employ these tricks, some more overtly than others. Everything from lighting, music and product placement is controlled by the supermarket in order to have you spend more.” p20 http://today.ninemsn.com.au/moneyandconsumer/598695/supermarket-tricks. ninemsn.com, Christopher Zinn from CHOICE, 18/09/11 “An executive for a paint company received complaints from workers in a blue office that the office was too cold. When the offices were painted a warm peach, the sweaters came off even though the temperature had not changed” p21 http://www.digitalskratch.com/color-psychology.php. Digitalskratch.com, pantone, 31/10/11 “Supermarkets have taken this research and used it to their advantage by changing the colour in different parts of the store” p21 http://today.ninemsn.com.au/moneyandconsumer/598695/supermarket-tricks. ninemsn.com, Christopher Zinn from CHOICE, 18/09/11 “The majority of customers respond to the lighting more positively. They specially mentioned that lighting helps to select correct products, reduce the time wasted and feel relaxation during shopping tours. Therefore managers can select appropriate lighting system that creates satisfaction of psychological needs of customers” p21-22 W.M.C.B. Wanninayake, PradeepRandiwela, The impact of visual merchandising on consumer store choice decisions in Sri Lankan supermarkets, October 13-14, 2007 "They are triggering the same reaction as when you eat chocolate. The offer will still attract your attention and a lot of people will not look at the single unit price." p25 The Truth About Supermarket Price Wars, BBC One, Mon 5 Dec 2011, 20:30
  37. 37. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 37 Figures 1.A supermarket in Sweden in 1941 2. Packaged food aisles in a Fred Meyer store in Portland, Oregon 3. Picture I took of the revolving door and the posters in the window, when I went to my local Morrisons
  38. 38. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 38 4. Another picture of a big display, advertising an offer in Morrisons 5. A basket of products on offer in Morrisons in the middle of the aisle, used as an obstacle 6. Another display showing offers as you walk into Morrisons
  39. 39. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 39 7. Picture showing the display stands at the end of aisles 8. This is where impulse buys happen most, at the checkout with cheap sweats 9. A picture of a product of the Tesco‟s Finest range
  40. 40. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 40 10. A picture of a range of Asda‟s own brand products 11. A product off the Sainsbury‟s Taste the Difference section 12. A picture showing the Morrison‟s Price Crunched logo in action and the amount of things on offer, in the colours red and yellow
  41. 41. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 41 13. A picture showing the big signs advertising Great Buys 14. Sainsbury‟s Taste the Difference logo 15. Showing how Morrison‟s used pictures of their products in a cooked state to advertise. 16. Showing how Morrison‟s used pictures of their products in its raw state to advertise
  42. 42. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 42 17. Showing how Morrison‟s used pictures of their products in its serving state to advertise 18. Big piles of Special Offer products all over Morrison‟s shop floor 19. Showing how the multi buy option isn‟t always cheaper 20. Showing how the offer doesn‟t actually start or end
  43. 43. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 43 21. Showing how the big pack don‟t always save us money 22. Tesco‟s Big Price Drop Logo 23. Morrison‟s Price Crunch Logo 24. Asda‟s Strap Line Logo 25. Tesco‟s Strap Line Logo 26. Sainsbury‟s Strap Line Logo 27. Asda‟s Price Guarantee Logo 28. Morrison‟s Come To Us for Christmas Logo 29. Tesco‟s Finest Logo
  44. 44. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 44 30. Morrison‟s Logo 31. Waitrose‟s Logo 32. Tesco‟s Logo 33. Sainsbury‟s Logo 34. M&S Logo 35. Asda Logo
  45. 45. BA (Hons) Graphic Design VC601: Dissertation 45 Appendix 1. 2.
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