IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 15 Apr 2013

Cognitive Chrysanthemums: How Greenery Can Boost Retail Performance

use of plants in retailThere is an on-going debate in regards to the effects of greenery on our cognitive functions. Many aim to highlight the effects it has on the environment, its necessity in built-up urban areas where we increasingly live in a greyscale world of commercial anonymity and how it can help with the unending thermal increase by reducing overall temperature. Essentially though, one rather undisturbed area of concern is the effect that greenery can have in a retail environment, and more specifically, the direct effect it can have on consumer experience. Could it possibly have enough sway to positively or negatively influence our buying decisions?

Many such studies and reports have taken place in recent years and from these findings we can begin to deduct the further-reaching effects that planters and other such urban greenery installations can have on the overall experience of the average shopper.

Studies have also shown that the cognitive functions that take place as we shop effect all the decisions you’d expect us to make, stress will cause us to leave a shop, whilst other occurrences interpreted by our brain as negative afflictions will ensure we don’t enter a shop or retail environment in the first place. We’re less likely to spend, and less likely to become involved in a conversation with a sales man in an environment that displeases our inherent perception. Similarly, restorative influences such as the reduction of stress or reinstatement of attention encourage us to stay, talk, become excited about a product (although technically that is a form of stress) and generally be more likely to make a purchase and be open to suggestion.

Many reports have found an empirical correlation between the presence of greenery and ‘restorative experiences’. As in to say, they have found that retail environments that are adorned with plant pots, hedges and various degrees of urban greenery encourage positive reactions in the brain which lead to customers engaging with the shopping destinations for longer and with a larger, more consistent purchase rate. Reportedly the presence of vegetation in shopping centres led to higher exploration rates among visitors, thus creating more opportunity for sales from the businesses who otherwise, may not have even been perceived!

Plants throughout shopping centres are also said to increase interaction, inspiring an instinctive necessity to investigate that which is not immediately obvious, entering shops and moving throughout the entirety of the retail environment.

Venturing outside, in a survey conducted involving streetscapes that featured lots of trees, a few trees or no greenery at all, many claimed they would travel further to visit a retail park that incorporated trees into its aesthetic design, thus increasing the catchment area of all the shops in that park. Responses from participants in the lots of trees or few trees area seemed significantly more positive in comparison to those from the streets without trees.

In today’s modern environment, where the sales process is a deeply integrated, social and psychological affair, it certainly seems that greenery in  the vicinity, in correct, planned moderation, taking into account the visibility of marketing material and the potential for a sense of overcrowding, could benefit all businesses in that area. Plantlife makes us feel good and when we feel good, we buy!

This article was written by Rob Vicars on behalf of Perimeta. For living walls, planters and urban tree planting for any commercial or retail environment, Perimeta supply quality and consistency all year round!

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