How Colorful Custom Clothing Makes Shoppers Spend-Happy

Jackson Pollock Painting Image source: Jackson-pollock.org

Have you been into an Abercrombie & Fitch store recently? It's almost comical how over-the-top everything is. The music is turned up so loud that you can barely hear the person next to you, and splattered all over the walls are pictures of barely-clothed super models -- ironic, considering that it's a clothing store. Throughout it all there's a steady of fog of flowery smells from perfume with names like "Ambition" and "Chic." From the second you step foot in the store, you're bombarded with a constant stream of sensory input that's impossible to ignore.  

Based on new research, this might be part of the reason why A&F is so popular.   Studies suggest that the more overstimulated shoppers are, the more likely they are to spend money. Researchers from Penn State and the National University of Singapore found that overstimulation can lead to “a momentary loss of self-control, thus enhancing the likelihood of impulse purchase.”   Impulse Purchases Image source: Nytimes.com

Kathleen Vohs, an associate professor of marketing from the University of Minnesota, explained, "Overload makes people move into a less deliberate mode of decision making. People might be more likely to be lured by brand names, fooled by discounts on items that they might not really want, and susceptible to other influences." Essentially, overstimulation turns off thinking. The more time shoppers spend trying to process sights and sounds, the less time they have to internally debate with themselves whether they really want to spend $100 on a new pair of jeans.  

That's also why commercials, billboards, and holiday email advertisements always have so many exciting colors and graphics. The marketers hope that the bright colors and imagery will translate into consumer excitement over deals and products.   Obviously, this research isn't going to be useful for every business. If you own a massage parlor or spa, you can't design your building to make customers feel overstimulated and stressed out. Retail stores and fun environments like restaurants, however, might benefit from some strategic chaos. Jazzing up your business with heart-pumping music, dazzling graphics, and intoxicating aromas could boost sales as consumers spend less time worrying about impulse buys and more time absorbing the constant stream of sensory data.  

Black Friday Shopper Image source: Artmarketblog.com

Giving your employees new custom clothing is one of the easiest ways to reach this goal. Flashy shirts, colorful graphics, or stylish hats can add to the chaos and encourage spending. For example, if you own one of those all-American restaurants that has a hundred little knick-knacks nailed to the wall, then you could give your waiters and waitress colorful custom t-shirts that promote a fun, friendly atmosphere. The outfits will encourage a stronger sense of brand identity, all while encouraging shoppers to order that extra appetizer, buy another round of drinks, or spring for desert.   So, depending on the type of business that you own, you might want to spring for uniforms with bright colors and complicated graphics. They might seem a little overwhelming, but that's kind of the point, isn't it?

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