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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Attracting Attention or Selling?! The Thematic Congruence of the Promotional Display with the Shelf Setting Influences Shoppers’ Attention and Buying Decisions

Published: May 25, 2021


Sascha Steinmann, Aarhus University, Department of Management; Masoumeh Hosseinpour, Assistant Professor / Aarhus University; Gunnar Mau, DHGS German University of Health and Sports; Markus Schweizer, Holistic Consulting Group


In-store displays are a frequently used tool in shopper marketing. Empirical studies show the effects of promotional displays on sales; however, they seldom attend to the determinants of the effects of displays from the shoppers’ perspective. Thus, there are hardly any findings about the role of the display’s location in the shop. Based on the scheme discrepancy model and on the congruency model, we assume that the congruence of the product presented on the display with its setting has an influence on the effect of the display. We propose that although a display in an incongruent setting attracts more attention, it can turn this attention into purchases only to a lesser extent than a display in a congruent setting. The results of two field experiments in a Swiss grocery store support this assumption. Using observational techniques and electronic checkout data, we are able to show that displays in an incongruent setting gain more attention but lead to fewer sales than displays in a congruent setting. The results of the second study show that congruence is also influenced by the bundling of the products presented in the display.