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Shoppers' Visual Focus Drives Purchases

MONTREAL (UPI) — The position of products on store shelves can influence consumers’ ultimate choice because a shopper’s eye has a very central focus, Canadian researchers say.

“Consumers are more likely to purchase products placed in the middle of a display — without even being aware of it,” Onur Bodur, a business professor at Concordia University in Montreal said.

Because of that, long lines of horizontally arranged products at eye level are the norm when it comes to the shopping experience, researchers said.

Bodur and his colleagues used eye-tracking devices to record how location influences choices for products as varied as vitamins, meal replacement bars and energy drinks, a Concordia release said Tuesday.

Their findings suggest consumers narrow their visual focus to the central option in a product display area in the final five seconds of the decision-making process, the point at which they determined which option to choose.

The process is a subconscious one, the researchers said, with participants in the study saying they were not aware of any conscious visual focus on one area of the display over another.

A fuller awareness of buying behaviors could lead to more informed choices, Bodur said.

“By using this newfound knowledge that visual attention is naturally drawn to the center of a display, consumers can consciously train themselves to make a more thorough visual scan of what’s on offer.”

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