Neuroshopping Can Improve Promotions

December 23, 2014

4 trends in promotions with the flyer, 4 errors for neuroshopping.

Originally published by RETAIL WATCH.


Gianpiero Lugli, Professor of Economics and Management at the University of Parma (ITALY), has long been engaged in the study of the impact that neuroscience can have on the buying patterns of shoppers.

"The promotion of the traffic at the point of sale," says Lugl, "currently presents significant deficiencies neuro scientific and psychological.”

Given that the most used tool in the promotion of sales is certainly the flyer, we begin our analysis by highlighting the shortcomings of this instrument and the possible improvements achievable by adopting an orientation of neuroshopping. 

NIELSEN analyzed 6,500 promotional campaigns based on the flyer: these campaigns represent 1.5 million listings and an investment of over one billion euro.  

The main trends in the promotion with the flyer, which correspond to the same errors neuroshopping, can be summarized in the following points.


If the increase in the number of pages is accompanied by an excessive number of products per page, we can expect that this crowding reduces the attention and the memory of potential buyers.

Even in the flyer you can in fact produce the phenomenon of excess information.

Faced with too many pages and too many products per page, the buyer is forced to give up reading as the task becomes too cognitively demanding. 

Since it has been experimentally shown that there is a significant difference in the purchases of those reading than those who do not read the flyer, the refusal of the reading is extremely valuable. 

The cognitive mind the buyer has a limited processing capacity of the convenience offered with promotional flyer from different brands that operate in spatial overlap and thus represent possible alternatives. 

When the number of pages of the flyer exceeds 30 units and the frequency of publication is much lower than the frequency of purchase, as occurs in some countries and in some signs, the flyer becomes a sort of catalog, whose mission is not to crear more in traffic, but in facilitating the purchase by helping consumers in compiling a shopping list, having reference to the supermarket trust. 

In this case, the flyer becomes a tool offered to the buyer loyal to facilitate the compilation of the list of expenditure, compensating the effort to orient along a vast assortment. 


The fact that the leaflets are remarkably similar, makes the buyer to read only one of those who receive and still not to use this medium to choose the sign in which then go. 

The differentiation of content in relation to the products offered in discount is irrelevant to the buyer, since it concerns often branded commercial and industrial brand products at a very low penetration. 

It is innovation in the thematic that activates the consumer's attention and creates its propensity to purchase at the sign that is thus able to differentiate.


The share of so-called "undeclared promotions", namely the promotions that are represented without indicating full price along with the discounted price, is shrinking, but is still the dominant type.

Since the price promotion is targeted primarily at the cognitive mind, that processes information in relative terms (with reference at anchor represented by the full price of which often do not have memory), the flyer has now effective below its potential also for the lack of a frame of the discount. We expect that, with the transition from the view of pages without frames of the discount to pages with frames of the discount, you activate the areas of the prefrontal cortex deputies reasoning and calculation. 


To decide whether it is better to bring the full price with a small font and the discounted price with a large font than the opposite solution, consider the role of cognitive mind and emotional mind in our purchasing decisions. 

While it is the cognitive mind that directs us to change the habitual sign to exploit a promotional offer and / or validate the image of convenience connected to chains alternatives, on the other, is the emotional mind that takes most of the purchasing decisions. 

To maximize the perception of convenience is appropriate to present the full price and the discounted price on the same line, but with "font" differentiated: in this way, it allows the emotional mind automatically process a perception of convenience through the gap between the two "font" and the distance between the two prices.