Menu Close

Back to Class: Color Psychology Revealed!

Good morning, and welcome to another episode of Back to Class, the only POS blog series that lets you enjoy the back to school season without having to actually go anywhere. It’s just like regular school, except not like regular school whatsoever.

Today’s episode takes place in a psychologist’s office. Why? It’s not about that dream you keep having (you know the one). No, we’re going to be talking about the role of color in retail this morning, so don’t worry about unpacking all that emotional baggage yet.

I just haul this around with me all the time.

Color has a huge subliminal impact on all of us, and a good retailer knows how to take advantage of our fragile little minds and use that subliminal trickery to drive up sales. And now you can too! Color can be used in more than just your products and branding; it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do to up your sales and change the vibe.

Less is more, though. Don’t get carried away.

Here are a few color basics:

Black is Fancy

A million little black dresses, top hats and overpriced personal electronics can’t be wrong: Black is the color of sleek sophistication. A lot of manufacturers like to use black to make their products look high-end and expensive (even if the products in question are decidedly not so). This color (or non-color for all you nerds out there) can be used as a great accent to make your luxury displays stand out, but don’t go overboard! You don’t want to make your store look like a funeral home (unless that’s your vibe).


White is Pure

Remember waking up on a school day in January only to find out that it had snowed last night and you now had a full day of video games and sledding to look forward instead of spelling tests and the nightmare that is the school cafeteria (our apologies to the southern states and warmer climates for missing out on this beautiful phenomenon)? It was an innocent joy, and that still stands for white in general. And while some of us (okay, me) find it physically impossible to keep anything white clean for more than 36 seconds (yes I timed it), white is the (non-) color of cleanliness, purity, modernity and simplicity. It’s an absolute good, but don’t forget that too much white just adds up to… well, nothing. It’s a literal blank slate, so use strategically.


Blue is Chill

This one is a touch obvious, but blue is the color of tranquility. It has a calming and rational effect on people, which is why everyone loves blue skies and blue water and blue raspberry vodka. When used in a store, blue makes your shoppers feel more secure and trusting of you, your shop and your stuff. And that doesn’t just extend to an afternoon of binge shopping; shoppers are 15% more likely to keep coming back to stores with a blue color scheme.


Yellow is Friendly

Aww, it’s like a smiley face! Our yellow sun powers all life on earth (also certain superheroes), so it’s an absolute good, color-wise (unless you’re a supervillain or a vampire… or a vampire supervillain). When used in merchandising and branding, it catches your shopper’s attention and makes them feel more energetic and hungry (hello golden arches). It can also evoke feelings of youth and sunshine and happiness… it’s just a really good color all-around.


Red Demands Decisions

There’s a reason that all sale tags are printed in red: It’s a color that makes people stand at attention, and make quick spending decisions. There’s a reason it’s used in stop signs, clearance signage and the flags that pop up all over my dating history (I have baggage, you were warned in the intro), and that’s because it’s a very decisive color. But too much red can make consumers stop shopping altogether and run for the door, so be careful.


Green is For All of Those Rich Artists

You know the ones, right? Well, they must exist somewhere. Green is the color of growth, both artistically and monetarily. It has the effect of both calming a person, and making them think creatively (which is why I’m writing this in a forest). It can also be used to signify that a product is environmentally conscious, so if your store is focused on ecological sustainability… well, then you probably already knew that.


Orange is Your Secret Weapon

Orange is a great color for retail. A bright orange shade evokes energy and optimism, and can even act as some visual stress reduction for your customers. And a nice burnt orange (think wood grain or pumpkin pie… see? you’re getting less stressed out just thinking about orange!) can comfort a shopper and make them feel more taken care of while in your store. Think of it as vitamin C for the soul. It’s just the right balance of comfort and energy, which creates a perfect storm for your customer’s wallets.


Pink is For the Romantics

It’s the sweetest of all the colors, really. Both relaxing (it’s been scientifically proven to slow down the endocrine system and relax tense muscles) and intimate, pink is most often used to market products for both the ladies and the romantically-minded. It’s also associated with sugary sweets, babies and panthers, so if those are your niches, go wild!


Purple Calms the Insecure

The royals were onto something when they started using purple as a kingly color. It’s a strong, rich color that screams luxury and beauty while also being calming. It’s heavily used in the beauty industry, and especially with anti-aging products. In merchandising, it can convey to your customers that yes, this is something worth spending some extra cash on because darn it, you’re worth it. Spoil yourself!


Just promise to use your powers only for good.

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.