Attractive displays can stimulate sales in the retail setting. With most plants still sold in physical retail outlets, the influence of display layout on visual behavior and purchasing is of interest to academicians and practitioners. Using a within-subjects in-lab experiment and eye tracking technology, we explored how the cognitive load imposed by horticultural retail displays affects visual attention and choice. Display layouts were varied for six choice tasks in which participants indicated their most preferred alternative and their likelihood-to-purchase that alternative. Our study suggests that as the number of plant genera increases, perceived display complexity increases, and participants ignore a larger percentage of the products in the display while spending a lower percentage of their gaze sequence fixated on their choice product. Implications for retailers include increasing horizontal merchandising, reducing vertical merchandising, and diversifying the product mix in the display.
Behe, B. K., Staples, A., Huddleston, P., & Malone, T. (2022). Display Complexity Affects Visual Processing of Horticultural Plant Retail Displays. Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 40(1), 1-9. link.