Increase Sales with Consumer Behaviour: Colour is King
The mind is a fickle thing. One minute you can be wallowing in self-pity and the next moment can be experiencing sheer excitement and adrenaline. Yet, not many know why we act the way we do. And while your average joe might be ignorant of what influences our moods, consumer behaviourists and marketing psychologists have been working behind the scenes to subtly persuade your decision making.
From your sight to taste, businesses have been prodding our senses to find the perfect combination of stimuli to make consumers purchase more, stay longer (or shorter), and have fewer post-purchase regrets.
What is so wonderful about these subliminal techniques, is that they can be used by both small and large businesses. So what changes to your store can you make to increase sales, customer satisfaction, and inventory turnover?
Well, there is a lot!
We are going to be breaking down these discussions into subjects, as there is a lot to be covered. Here, we will be discovering everything marketers, merchandisers, and psychologists know about colour and how it influences consumer’s decision making!
Visual Merchandising and Colours
Visual merchandising is a heavily-tested form of retail “feng shui”. Instead of focusing on a clear mind, visual merchandisers look to increase or reach various business goals through neuro-connections that already exist in the majority’s mind.
Through visual stimuli, your brain can alert you of dangers, tasty treats, comfort, and pain. It is simply incredible how much information we process through our eyes. However, these visual queues aren’t secluded to quantitative details. Our emotions are heavily tied to objects and colours that we see every day.
It is these semi-conscious characteristics that can influence our purchasing behaviours. Examples of this can be seen across industries. Think of the last time you bought a vehicle. Or even a phone case. Colours represent your style, attitudes, and sometimes even beliefs. So why wouldn’t businesses use this to their advantage?
Not everyone responds to colour in the same fashion. However, marketers have a standard basis used for the “majority”. Outliers will always exist, but this is offset by companies focusing on select demographics and markets to target.
So what are the right colours to use for your brand and store? Well, it all depends on what you sell. Candles and bath bombs don’t need the same excitement required for children’s toys. And an ATV needs more strength behind it compared to engagement rings.
If we take a page from artists and colour theory, colours can be split into two broad categories. Cool and warm. Both with their evoked set of feelings and motivations.
Overall, cool colours provide a sense of relaxation. In nature, they are often spotted in serene areas, such as gardens, lakes, the sky, and fields. When used appropriately, cool colours can have consumers spend more, stay for longer, and enter a “flow state” with less influence. Utilizing a cool palate is best for banks, department stores, and cafés.
Blue is regal, secure, modern, and sincere. Blue is an incredible colour for business’. Blue is rated as America’s favourite colour and represents an entire gender in the majority of Western cultures.
Yet, light and dark blue evoke two differing perspectives. Navy and dark navy blues are frequently used by institutions, such as banks, universities, and hospitals. In fact, any business that wants to represent dependence. Brands such as OnStar, PayPal, and Ford Motors are popular navy blue logos.
Light blues, on the other hand, appear to consumers to be modern and extroverted. Brands such as Dell, Intel, Windows, and Twitter all operate in the technology industry, where modernistic dependable attitudes are the expectation.
The colour green has always been used to represent nature and environmental friendliness. With the numerous environmental issues being discussed in mainstream media, it is to no surprise that companies would adopt green into their stores and logos. If you recall the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, you might remember British Petroleum updating their image to include lighter greens and white in the shape of a flower. This decision was to provide a more “natural” feeling to their logo.
Green doesn’t just provide an environmental evocation, it can also induce relaxation, instil inner peace, and represent wealth or growth. On the more detrimental side, green can represent jealousy, nausea and envy.
Famous green businesses include industry giants Tropicana, John Deere, Whole Foods and Animal Planet.
Purple can feel either warm or cool, depending on the hue. However, in terms of representation, purple more closely aligns with what cool colours achieve. Industries have concluded that purple can inspire, is a sign of wisdom or wealth, and can be associated with magic or creativity.
As well, across many cultures, purple is associated with royalty. This connection is probably most widely known through the alcoholic beverage, Crown Royal.
Other purple businesses include Cadbury, Hallmark, AVID technologies, and Yahoo.
Exciting and alluring, warm colours often make a statement. Used as cautionary symbolism in both nature and human creations, there is a certain awareness that warm colours demand. Using warm colours in business can influence call-to-actions, impulse shopping, and urgency. Particularly useful for fast food stores, outlet malls, and clearance/liquidation sales.
Another one of the primary colours oh-so-familiar with youth. Red is a powerful colour that can be used for advisory information, such as stop signs and traffic lights. However, think of the last FOR SALE sign you witnessed. More often than not, these signs include red to catch out eyes!
Red has also been shown to increase heart rate (just by looking at it) and can leave you feeling warmer than it actually is. For these reasons, red is acclaimed as the colour of seduction.
Red most often embodies passion, love, anger, excitement, arousal, caution, attention, and warning.
Getting to the softer side of warm colours, orange shows warmth and glow. Generally useful to evoke feelings of optimism and fun, orange is an active colour without the stress of red.
Orange can signify creativity, optimism, cheeriness, entertainment, and cleanliness.
Brands that make effective use of the colour orange are Fanta, Home Depot, Nickelodeon, and Tangerine.
Happy and spontaneous, yellow is an active colour that motivates and energizes. Too much yellow can be detrimental, as the colour is quite reflective, but nevertheless, yellow accents can be comforting when used sparingly.
Yellows are, not surprisingly, great for cleaning products. Through cultural connections, our brains relate citrus with yellow, and clean with citrus. This leads consumers to believe that citrus-scented cleaning products are better than their non-scented counterparts.
Yellow also increases call-to-action conversions, impulse purchases, and storefront display attractiveness.
Brands that make great use of yellow include IKEA, Best Buy, McDonald’s and Lay’s Chips.
Colour Design for Businesses
Not only do individual colours influence our moods, palates and colour combinations can also provide a clearer picture for consumers. Do your best to test out different collections of colours and different hues. There are plenty more neural connections to colours, such as texture, quality, saturation, and complementary mingling.
If you don’t have the time to explore all the variety and fun that comes with colour psychology, luckily there is another option.