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Does Your Spa's Flooring Influence Purchase Decisions?

Posted: June 8, 2010

Does your spa's flooring help encourage or discourage retail sales? A new study may help you determine if it makes a difference.

From teachers to hairdressers, people who stand on their feet all day will tell you that the flooring beneath them can be the difference between a good day and a bad one. But can the difference between carpet and hard tile flooring affect how you make decisions?

Research published this month by Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, suggests that the way people judge products may be influenced by the ground beneath them.

In the study, published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, authors Meyers-Levy and Juliet Zhu and Lan Jiang (University of British Columbia) explored the feelings evoked by the two most common flooring types in retail environments: hard vinyl tile and carpet. "When a person stands on carpeted flooring, it feels comforting," says Meyers-Levy. "But the irony is that when people stand on carpet, they will judge products that are close to them as less comforting."

The authors first conducted a study to show that carpeting truly does evoke a greater sense of physical comfort than tiled flooring. "Given this finding, we then tackled a more practical and intriguing question," says Meyers-Levy. "Would these bodily sensations elicited by the flooring transfer to people's assessments of products that they observe while shopping?"