Have you ever experienced the “Target effect”?

It doesn’t have to be Target  – any store that carries an assortment of items that you both need and don’t need – can compel you to purchase items you would otherwise never even look twice at.

What is that all about? Why do you walk down the toothpaste aisle because you just ran out and end up with a brand new towel warmer (and far less money than you walked in with)?

Because marketers know what entices you and draws your eye. They’ve mastered the art of impulse selling.

In part one of this blog series, we investigate this reasoning behind consumer decisions and what it is about visual cues like color that draws the eye and drives an impulse purchase. In part two, we’ll discuss specific colors that draw consumers in and explain why they have everything to do with signage.

The Magic Behind the Effect

It’s the reason why you see colorfully wrapped vans driving around or parked outside of your favorite stores – they entice you before you even walk in. Their visibility and colorfulness draw you in before you even make a decision to purchase.

Visibility and color are two important aspects of the impulse buy. That towel warmer is packaged in that bright orange color, and it’s right there near the toothpaste. Isn’t it convenient that the towel warmer is right there while you’re clearly stocking your bathroom. While you’re brushing your teeth, wouldn’t it be nice to be warming that towel before you hop in the shower?


This infographic by Kissmetrics shows what colors impact consumer behavior.

According to this article,  “Visibility is the most important factor.” In the case of a mall, a kiosk is a very good example of the benefits of visibility. The article continues: “You see the products as you walk through the mall, and you will see a lot more of the merchandise than what’s in the windows of traditional stores. Those stores have to compete for attention both with the kiosks and the store windows on the other side of the mall. But it’s much more difficult to overlook a kiosk.”

What about the incredible combining visibility and the psychology of color? Was it just the fact that the towel warmer was in the toothpaste aisle, or did the color of the packaging matter? According the aforementioned articles, “It’s not just the numbers or words on your sign that can draw customers. Color can draw them in and keep them focused on the product.”

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