Target Search in Product Displays: A Visual Crowding Perspective
53 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2020 Last revised: 7 Jul 2020
Date Written: March 24, 2020
Consumers often arrive at the point of purchase with a particular product to purchase in mind and must search for this target product in the product display. Drawing on visual crowding theory, we suggest that an individual’s ability to find a target product in a display varies according to the embeddedness of the target, which depends on the locations of the target and non-target products in the display. We refer to the visual impact of non-target products on target products that results in an inability to differentiate and recognize the target product as “target visual crowdedness (TVC).” Across five experimental studies, we manipulate TVC and show that as TVC increases the duration of the visual search increases. Eye-tracking data provide evidence of how TVC affects attention and information processing in target product search tasks. We develop a visual crowdedness metric that quantifies TVC and can be used by researchers and practitioners to estimate the visual search effort needed to find a product in a display.
Keywords: Visual Search, Visual Crowding, Product Display, Target Visual Crowdedness, Eye Tracking
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