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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Product Search in Crowded Displays: Location Based Effects

Published: May 28, 2019


Ana Scekic, HEC Paris; Selin Atalay, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management; Cathy Yang, HEC Paris; Peter Ebbes, HEC Paris


Search; Crowding; Location


We explore the factors influencing consumers’ product search in crowded displays (i.e., in large assortments). Specifically, we investigate how the location of a target product in a crowded display influences consumers’ ability to find that product. We suggest that, in a crowded product display, there exist different levels of crowdedness for the target product, depending on its location relative to all the other products (i.e., “distractors”) in the display. We develop and test a location crowdedness metric (LCM) that allows us to quantify the crowdedness level at any location of any product display. We provide evidence for location effects on search performance: the higher the LCM score (and thus the crowdedness of a product location) the more difficult and time consuming will be the visual search for the product in that location.