On Store Design and Consumer Motivation: Spatial Control and Arousal in the Retail Context

Thomas J L Van Rompay, Karin Tanja-Dijkstra, Joost W M Verhoeven, Annemiek F. van Es

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research testifies to the influence of environmental factors in shopping environments. However, few studies examine effects of store design in interaction with shoppers' motivations. The authors propose that task-oriented shoppers prefer stores that are spacious, whereas recreational shoppers enjoy and prefer the arousing properties of color. To provide controlled tests of these hypotheses, we created visual simulations of stores that varied by color (arousing red vs. less arousing blue) and layout (spacious vs. cluttered), and induced either task-oriented or recreational shopping motivations. Customers at a clothing store responded to one of these four store video displays. Results showed that motivations interact with environmental factors. Task-oriented shoppers preferred shopping in spacious stores, whereas recreational shoppers preferred high-arousing store environments. These findings suggest that store managers could increase arousal levels using ambient design elements, such as colored lights, when shoppers are likely recreationally oriented and provide spacious environments to appeal to task-oriented shoppers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-820
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Behaviour
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • arousal
  • interior color
  • layout
  • shopping motivation
  • spatial control


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