Altering Speed of Locomotion

Bram Van den Bergh, N Heuvinck, GAC Schellekens, I Vermeir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Even though 80% of a shopper’s time in the store is spent moving from place to place, little is known about managing the pace of in-store traffic flow. Based on the store atmospherics literature, this article introduces interventions to optimize the pace of locomotion. A series of lab and field experiments demonstrates that changes in flooring affect customers’ walking speed. The number, the nature and the relative salience of progress markers along a walking path towards a physical location communicate goal progress and thus, the motivation to reach a particular destination. Consistent with a goal gradient account, customers walk faster when fewer progress markers are placed along the walking path to the goal. The effect of the number of progress markers diminishes when the markers are unrelated to the goal and reverses when the markers are relatively more salient than the goal. This article contributes to the goal literature by showing how markers affect perceptions of goal progress (i.e., level vs. rate of progress) and provides concrete insights to speed up and slow down customers’ walking speed in a retail environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-428
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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