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In-store Signs – What Draws the Eye?

Thu, Mar 2nd, 2023, created by Alicia L. Rihn

Customers are bombarded with a lot of information while shopping for goods. The same is true in the ornamental horticulture industry. The next time you visit a retail garden center, pay attention to the signage and whether you would have noticed the signs if you were not specifically looking for them. The ornamental horticulture industry is at an advantage in having a product that sells itself (i.e., plants/flowers are visually appealing); however, customers need more information to be successful with their purchases because plants do not flourish without basic care (e.g., correct watering and light). Beyond care, signage can be used to draw customers’ attention to important, but not visible, benefits such as local production or sustainable production methods. This information allows customers to select products that align with their values which is important given that many customers (especially Millennials) are increasingly interested in using their money to show support for initiatives related to sustainability.

Several studies have addressed retail garden center signage and what draws captures visual attention in the retail setting. Three key takeaway messages from these studies are:

1.     Logos are more impactful than text. In-store signage with logos draw the eye faster than text. Logos lead to quicker decision making, increases probability of choice, and generates more value than text. This effect is amplified if the customer is familiar with the logo from other industries.

2.     Attention to price signage negatively impacts purchase likelihood. Price information should be readily available, but not the main feature on signage. As a result, customers make their purchase decisions based on other information and then check the price, instead of looking at the price first and eliminating options that do not align with their expectations.

3.     Customers seek information that aligns with their values. If customers find a product that aligns, their purchase likelihood increases. There is an opportunity to provide information related to current cultural trends to aid customers as they make their selections. For instance, the pandemic brought mental health and wellness to the forefront of consumers’ minds. Plants have a proven positive impact on mental health. Providing this information in the retail center can aid customers and educate them about the benefits of plants while shopping.

Of course, nothing compares to having an amazing, knowledgeable staff. But these key findings can help retailers as they consider their signage moving forward!

About the Author:

Alicia L. Rihn

Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee

Alicia has been at the University of Tennessee since July 2020. Her area of expertise is in marketing and consumer behavior with an emphasis on ornamental horticulture products. She also addresses niche markets, value-added ag, willingness-to-pay, and promotional strategies to encourage plant purchasing behavior. 

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