The Science of Shelf Wobblers

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They may seem like a simple marketing gimmick, but shelf wobblers are an effective way to grab shoppers’ attention - and it’s all down to the science behind them.

There’s actually a lot more going on with shelf wobblers than meets the eye - or rather, there’s a lot more going on with how they meet the eye.


Movement demands attention

The human eye is hard-wired to spot objects in motion by default. In our distant past, any sign of movement might have been an indication of nearby prey to hunt - or a lurking predator to avoid.

This evolutionary trait has served the human species well; and while we’re unlikely to be mauled by a tiger on our weekly food shop, our eyes are still quick to notice any moving objects and quickly identify if they are benefits or risks.

A light breeze or a gentle brush from a passing shoper’s trolley is all it takes to get your shelf wobblers moving - which makes them the first thing your potential customers will spot as they enter the next aisle of the store.

Lightning-fast processing

The eye and brain are also very good at switching attention to new fixation points, and quickly taking in new information from new visual stimuli.

The ‘stopped clock illusion’ is a prime example. Have you ever looked up at an analog clock and found that first tick of the second hand taking longer? That’s because your eyes’ perception is suppressed while your eyes are busy switching focus to the clock. Without this momentary suppression, every little movement of your eyes would become a disorienting motion blur!

This ultra-short ‘gap’ in your perception is then ‘filled in’ using information from the new visual stimuli - in this instance, your brain essentially extends the image of the clock so the second hand seems to be frozen in place.

All this means that once the movement of your shelf wobbler catches the customer’s eye, they’ll process the information displayed on the wobbler in mere moments - as long as it’s presented with the right colours and font size for easy legibility at a distance.


Keep up to date with our blog for all the latest insights, advice and retail industry news - or to request a quote for your own custom-printed shelf wobblers, call the Shelf Wobblers team on 02380 878030 today!

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