Research published this month by Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and author of the famed ceiling height study, suggests that the way people judge products may be influenced by the ground beneath them.
In the study, published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, authors Meyers-Levy and Juliet Zhu and Lan Jiang (University of British Columbia) explored the feelings evoked by the two most common flooring types in retail environments: hard vinyl tile and carpet. “When a person stands on carpeted flooring, it feels comforting,” says Meyers-Levy. “But the irony is that when people stand on carpet, they will judge products that are close to them as less comforting.”
The authors first conducted a study to show that carpeting truly does evoke a greater sense of physical comfort than tiled flooring. "Given this finding, we then tackled a more practical and intriguing question,” says Meyers-Levy. “Would these bodily sensations elicited by the flooring transfer to people's assessments of products that they observe while shopping?"
The researchers had participants stand on either soft pile carpet or hard tile and view products that were either close to them or moderately far away. When the products were a moderate distance away, people’s judgments of them were unconsciously guided by their bodily sensations. That is, if they were standing on soft carpet and viewed a product that was moderately far away, they judged that item’s appearance to be comforting. However, people who examined products while standing on this same plush carpet judged items that were close by as being less comforting than they did if the products were moderately far away. "When we look at objects that are close by, the bodily sensations elicited by the flooring are more likely to be used as a comparison standard, not an interpretive frame," states Meyers-Levy.
These findings have important implications for all brick and mortar retailers and service providers. Elements of interior décor such as flooring are more than matters of function or style. They may be directly tied to how a consumer perceives products, and that can determine whether or not the consumer purchases the good. Standing on solid ground with your consumers has always been important, but this research suggests that it may be the difference between a sale and failure to close the deal.
"Context Effects from Bodily Sensations: Examining Bodily Sensations Induced by Flooring and the Moderating Role of Product Viewing Distance." is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research in June 2010. Joan Meyers-Levy is the Holden-Werlich School-Wide Professor of Marketing at the Carlson School. Her research examines a variety of consumer behavior issues related to visual and verbal communication, memory, information processing, and gender, as well as individual differences.
The Institute for Research in Marketing is part of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Established in 2005, the Institute fosters innovative, rigorous research that improves the science and practice of marketing.
Preston Smith | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy