Washington, Oct 16 : A set of trendy new coffee mugs displayed on a wooden table would have a greater impact on consumers' perception of the product than those displayed on a shelf, according to a new study.
The new study led by John Meyers-Levy, a marketing professor at the Carlson School of Management, and Rui (Juliet) Zhu of the University of British Columbia suggests that the display surface a product rests on can affect consumer perceptions of products.
"Retailers cannot directly control shoppers' perceptions of their goods, but they can anticipate or manipulate the kind of cognition self-view their target consumer uses," said Meyers-Levy.
"To some degree, this could be accomplished by considering customers' demographic profiles, but marketers could also try to actively shape shoppers' mindsets," he added.
In her research, Meyers-Levy demonstrated that simply putting up posters that encouraged shoppers to adopt an independent or an inter-dependent self-view had this effect, thereby influencing their perceptions of products displayed on different tabletop surfaces.
He says that such display fixtures offer an opportunity to customers to be confident about their choices.
"If a shopper is aware of the tools used to enhance brand reputation or sales, they will be much more likely to make an informed decision, rather than going home with the wrong product," said Meyers-Levy.
"If a product is part of the display, then the perceptions the consumer has of the fixture become part of their perception of the product.
"For example, if the consumer thinks that wood is "earthy," then a product -- a mug, a shoe, a watch -- displayed on a wood table will seem more natural or traditional.
"Or if the product is on a glass table, an inter-dependent minded consumer would think of the very same product as more hip and modern, assuming they think of glass as hip and modern," he added.
The research appears in the Journal of Marketing Research.