Does flooring affect purchasing decisions?

Most people, when shopping for items, believe that they freely make buying decisions. Studies have suggested though that the type of flooring a business uses can affect how people make their purchasing decisions.

The two most common types of flooring in retail areas are soft carpet and hard solid floors. Researchers at the University of British Columbia theorised that soft carpets make people feel more comfortable and this could affect the way they judge products. To test this theory, they asked people to stand on either hard tiles of soft carpet tiles and look at products that were close by or at a moderate distance.

The people standing on the carpet tiles judged nearby products to feel less comforting than objects placed farther away. The people who stood on hard tiles were more neutral in their views.

A member of the Meyers-Levi team that carried out the research said:

“When we look at objects that are close by, the bodily sensations elicited by the flooring are more likely to be used as a comparison standard, not an interpretive frame."

People tend to walk more quickly on hard floors than carpeted ones. This is why some stores use hard floors at the entrance designed to guide shoppers quickly inside. These lead to carpet areas that encourage people to slow down while viewing products.

Other research found that dark floors encourage men to shop, while lighter floors encourage women.

Most retail businesses in North Wales, where an increase in footfall was reported last year, install commercial flooring for its looks and durability. These studies show that the type of flooring installed could influence customers' buying habits