Grocery stores and casinos. One of these places, we visit a couple of times a year; the other, at least once a week, by sheer necessity. But despite the various different reasons that attract us there, both kinds of venues have incredibly similar designs. Both of them use principles learned from consumer psychology that keep us shopping, playing, and feeling good.
Nothing in the casino nor grocery store happens by accident. So, even if it might seem like you’re freely roaming, the casino and store designs do make it very easy to predict where most gamblers and shoppers will walk first. According to research, the objects to our left tend to catch our attention more than the objects to our right; so the customers in the grocery stores are usually being steered in a counterclockwise direction. And to make sure this is so, the more eye-catching departments are placed to the right of the entrance.
But of course, if you think grocery stores are arranged for your convenience, you haven’t been in one recently! Think about your basic essentials like bread, eggs, dairy products, and even the bathrooms – they are all placed away from each other and in the store’s furthest corners, to make sure the shoppers walk by more potential purchases along the way. They’re actually designed to ensure you end up spending as much money as possible. Products in the front, milk in the back, candy at the checkout. It’s all designed to make you spend more time and money! More colors, sounds, lights – they offer you a truly multi-sensory experience. And as there are no windows and no clocks, it’s easy to lose track of time while you shop.
At the stores, some products occupy lower shelves and some higher ones: the most expensive products tend to be placed at the level of sight, while an exception is made for kids’ goods and toys, which are placed on the lower shelves.
In modern casinos, the approach used to segment the floor is exaggerated even more. High-rollers are usually gathered at the tables with higher-limit games while hotel guests and more casual players play at the cheaper table games and slots on their way to and from the lobby, elevator, and bathroom. The casinos also take into account the demographics: because as research shows, the majority of female gamblers prefer to play the slots away from crowds, so the slots are usually placed away from heavy foot traffic.
In the old-school casinos, the machines were placed immediately at the front entrance, bombarding the visitors with gambling. Nowadays, the casinos feature more design solutions and often include pieces of art in their interiors, windows, and antique clocks. The dark mazes of identical slots are gone.
Younger players value social experience; a lot of machine-based games are placed in clusters instead of long rows to improve the social environment. Also, the demographics of age changes too: more Millennials choose to play at the casinos. For young people, the casinos introduce more shows and entertainment options, as well as Wi-Fi connection and charging stations.
The evolution of people’s tastes makes the creation of the perfect casino or grocery store a target that moves continuously, but any changes will always have the same purpose behind them: make the customers spend more money. So now we know that we’re less aware of our purchasing decisions than we might think.