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13 February 2023

Holograms and video projections boost grocery store sales but the simpler, the better

Mixed reality end-of-aisle displays can drive sales

a view from above of the ingredients of a tomato pasta dish, laid out on a checkered table cloth. On the right of the image are stacks of pasta packets and tin cans.
The research team tested end-of-aisle video projections of varying degrees of complexity

Retailers should incorporate mixed reality promotions to increase sales, and keep it simple for the best results, according to new consumer research by Dr Elisa Schweiger with co-researchers at the University of Bath.

Research carried out in a large grocery store in Sweden, published in the Journal of Retailing, found that product holograms and video projections to enliven end-of-aisle or ‘endcap’ shelves are effective at capturing attention and increase sales by up to 62 per cent relative to a regular endcap display.

The researchers tested simple mixed reality projections – images of pasta and a pot of sauce, with a moving price tag, projected on to the endcap – and then a more vivid, involved scenario where a picnic rug appeared to unroll on the shop floor and the ingredients were shown cooking, ready to eat.

While the more vivid images better captured people’s attention; noticed by 31 per cent of shoppers versus the 26 per cent of shoppers who noticed the simpler approach, this advantage did not translate into additional sales. The researchers also found that while adding a sizzling sound to the endcap display further enhanced sales by over 80%, the addition of scent (to mimic cooking aromas) did not have a measurable impact.

End cap displays are a very common feature in many supermarkets, and retailers now have the technology to augment them with video, holograms, sounds and even smells. This research shows that video and sound can have a powerful impact, but the creative approach should ideally be simple. Given how powerfully evocative scent can be, it is perhaps surprising that it did not noticeably enhance sales. Scent can be difficult to distinguish in stores and therefore may not be attributable to a specific product or display.

Dr Elisa Schweiger, Lecturer in Marketing Analytics

In store end-cap projections and their effect on sales

In-store endcap projections and their effect on sales is published in the Journal of Retailing, by Elis Schweiger (King’s Business School), Carl-Philip Ahlbom (University of Bath), Jens Nordfält (University of Bath), Anne Roggeveen (Babson College) and Dhruv Grewal (University of Bath).


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Elisa B Schweiger

Senior Lecturer of Marketing Analytics