More Is Not Always Better – Visual Pollution At The Point Of Sale

shoppernewsblog invited Shopper Marketing experts from all over the world to contribute by sharing their experience with our readers. In this first post, Victoria Casano argues for a clear communication strategy in the historically strong traditional channel in Argentina.

To counteract the visual pollution at the often small stores, Victoria devised 5 simple strategies that companies can apply to stand out at the point of sale to transmit their message.


Stimuli And Human Processing Capacity

Much of our interaction with the environment is defined by processing the visual stimuli that surround us. Any routine act that we perform seemingly effortless consists of an infinite number of processes while at the same time the processing capacity of our mind is quite limited. According to Desimone and Duncan (1995), stimuli compete for neural resources.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) is the most advanced technology available today for studying the brain. It measures the magnetic properties of hemoglobin (red blood cell component) responsable for carrying oxygen to all body cells. When the brain is working, the greater its “fuel” consumption, and hence, the greater is the flow of oxygenated blood to the site in question.

This FMRI is typically used to diagnose tumors, strokes, joint injuries and other conditions that can’t be identified by x-ray analysis, but neuromarketers applied MRI to understand how many stimuli a person can process simultaneously. The result was that human beings can process a maximum of 3 at a time.

Currently, the excess of visual stimuli is more evident than ever. Studies have shown that the more stimuli a person is exposed to, the harder it is to attract his/her attention.


The Traditional Channel In Argentina

Stores are small outlets averaging 40 m2 where you can buy all the groceries and are generally attended by the owners themselves. The traditional channel is frequented mainly by middle and lower-class shoppers for their daily shopping trips.

The point of sale is saturated with communication targeting shoppers, from toothbrushes to dog food. Everyone wants to sell. Communications are no different in this environment and become part of the landscape.

But not all is lost! I would like to share some simple guidelines for effective communication in the Traditional Channel.


5 Tips For Effective Communication In The Traditional Channel


1. Know Your Target Shoppers And Meet Their Needs

Know your goal: Who are they? How do they buy? Example: A product for an older person should have a larger font size to make reading easier.

Respond to their needs. Create a dialogue. This is more powerful than only promoting the benefits of your product.


2.  Choose The Hot Spots

• Do not give the same importance to all locations.

• Traditional Channel shoppers typical behave in a similar way. They have certain detention areas.

• The area with the highest exposure time is at the counter where the shopper usually engages in a chat with the shopkeeper while paying for the products.


3. Design In A Simple Way And Use No More Than 3 Stimuli

According to neuromarketing and cognitive science, the brain can’t process more than 3 stimuli at the same time. So:

Keep text short and powerful: Shoppers are a captive audience. The message must be delivered at a glance. Do not assume that a buyer wants to read a lot.

Use visual images: Our human brain processes images faster than words.

Be direct: Each brand competes for the buyers’ attention. If the buyer needs to decrypt the message, the transaction will not take place.


4. Consider The Power Of Colors

• High-contrast colors are most noticeable.

• Choose, if possible, the color of your category: eg, yellow for oils.


5. Consider The Shopkeeper

The shopkeeper is the best ambassador for your products. He/she recommends products and might even achieve to make shoppers reconsider their decision for a certain product.

As mentioned above, they also occupy the most prominent hot spot in the store.



The communication in the Traditional Channel in Argentina teaches us that we must gain shopper insights and prioritize before designing a strategy for the Point of Sale.

More is not always better. Strategy requires sacrifice.


*Article written by Victoria Casano (Casano Group Shopper Marketing) for shoppernewsblog.

Victoria’s contact details:





  • Pictures


FMRI scan:


  • Literature

Desimone, R. y Duncan, J. (1995). Neural mechanisms of selective visual attention. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 18, 193-222.

Torralbo, A. (2008) Más no siempre es mejor: procesamiento de estímulos visuales y límites de capacidad. Ciencia Cognitiva: Revista Electrónica de Divulgación, 2:2, 59-61.

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy [Martin Lindstrom, Paco Underhill]

“El Magnifico 12” – Principios de Pop (mdg: Martín David Gitnacht)

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