Menu open image Menu close image
Sam Langley-Swain, Strategy Director

When it comes to store design, retailers spend a great deal of time carefully constructing and developing window and in-store merchandising campaigns. But one of the biggest factors that influence customer purchasing decisions goes overlooked – colour.

The psychology of colour and the way humans interact with surroundings based on the colour palette is something that has been studied under a microscope for generations. Scientists have looked at how we interact with different colours and the emotions they evoke; from creating a sense of calm, to a sense of urgency with a colour change.

In retail design, in particular, the colour choices brands make can have an impact on whether or not customers are enticed to make a purchase.

From window displays to in-store décor, retailers need to have a solid understanding of how their colour choices impact the consumer and their purchasing decision.

Why Colour Matters

Colour in retail design is about more than “looking beautiful”; here’s why:

  • Prospects make a subconscious judgement about a retailer within 90 seconds of entering a store
  • 62% – 90% of first impressions are based on colour
  • 52% of shoppers won’t return to a store if they don’t like the aesthetics
  • 93% of purchasing decisions are on visual appearance
  • 85% of customers say colour is the primary reason for purchasing a product
  • Adverts in colour are read 42% more often than the same ads in black and white

Colour matters because it has an influence on how consumers see a brand and products. Whether subconsciously or otherwise, colour effects purchasing decisions in ways that retailers can’t afford to ignore.

The real influence of colour in retail

It’s clear then that colour is a huge influence – both consciously and subconsciously – for customers.

But what is even more interesting, is the real-life examples of how certain colours are used in retail to entice specific actions from shoppers. For example; black is the signature colour of sophistication that may be why it dominates so many high-end cosmetics packaging.

Why are all sale signs red? A study by Professor Andrew Elliot found that people react faster to the colour red due to its connotations of danger and urgency. Retailers often use red to disrupt quickly the customer journey and divert their attention to a specific offer.

Blue is said to improve customer loyalty as it denotes trust and security. A survey by the Journal of Business Research found that patrons are 15% more likely to return to a store with a blue colour scheme.

And finally; white. White suggests purity and simplicity, hence why 75% of top skincare brands are packaged in white. Interestingly enough, though, this hue can also donate modernity and honesty, which may be why it’s a popular colour choice for Apple.

The customers’ relationship with colour

As well as considering the actions and emotions to trigger in-store, brands also need to understand how different genders and types of shoppers are said to react to colour in retail design. Here, are two great infographics to show the differences in shopper demographics:

psychology of colour infographic

psychology of colour infographic

Colour plays a huge part in the retail design of a store, and brands need to consider how the psychology behind their colour choices influences customers. Colour can totally transform the atmosphere in-store; retailers ought to be thinking about colour in a more informed way to maximise their commercial successes.