FEATURE7 November 2016

Taking Hold

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FMCG Features Impact Retail Technology

Product and packaging design is about more than shelf-standout, according to research on how touching a product affects purchase behaviour. By Jane Bainbridge


Shoppers often pause while perusing the supermarket shelves, product in hand, mulling their next purchase. Touch has long been considered an important aspect of product evaluation – for instance, in increasing choice of the product – and the reason people touch products is usually down to one of two factors. 

“Either it’s an autotelic issue – so it’s touch as a fun factor – or it’s an instrumental factor, so it provides information for the buyer, ” says Mathias Streicher, from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

But new research conducted by Streicher and Zachary Estes, from Bocconi University, Milan, Italy, shows that grasping a product also affects a person’s choice of other products on display – not just the one being held. Their study found that holding a source product increases the visual fluency of a haptically similar product – so a shopper is more likely to buy a product that is the same shape as ...