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Retail rainbow: How colour affects customers

In an era where the in-store experience is everything, colour sets the tone. Sarah Dunn examines the impact of four different retail colour choices – trend-driven pink and green, and classic grey and black.

Resene marketing manager Karen Warman says colour is crucial to the effect of a retail store, but it’s important to remember that there’s no one ‘right’ colour for every retailer.

“[The right colour for you] is the right colour to suit the energy and personality of your retail store, and of the customers who shop in the store.”

She says it does pay to remember a few colour rules, however. “Screaming bright colour” works outside, but retailers should tone it down inside and provide a “rest spot” where the colour lets up.

It’s also important to factor the longevity of any given colour scheme. Some colours can date quickly, so Warman advises retailers to introduce trend-led colours in parts of the store which can be easily changed.

Brand colours should be timeless, Warman says. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they must be neutral – Resene’s ColorShops were once all grey and averaged “a complaint a week” about the colour scheme.

“Customers wondered why we didn’t embrace some colour since we sold colour.”

Most of the complainants felt that grey didn’t adequately reflect Resene’s identity as a paint firm. When the company switched to its current vibrant green, ‘Resene Groovy’, on the stores’ ‘splat designs’ the complaints stopped.

“Your approach to colour has to suit your business identity,” Warman says. “Green has proven to be the perfect choice for us – teamed with black it signals quality, it reinforces our commitment to environmentally-preferable products and sustainability, it appeals to a wide range of customers, looks clean and is an enduring colour that we could grow into and continue to use for many years.”


The Pantone colour of the year for 2017 is ‘Greenery’ – a vibrant, fresh lime green. Pantone describes Greenery as being symbolic of new beginnings, terming it “nature’s neutral”.

 Resene’s Warman says with most people spending more than 90 percent of their time indoors, we are seeing a growing trend of the outdoors coming in. Most customers find nature calming, but as with any strong colour, retailers don’t need to use bright greens everywhere to make a statement – Warman recommends pairing it with good lighting and using it on areas such as a ceiling or a broken wall space.

 “Greens have an innate sense of calm that can relax a busy shopper and encourage them to slow down and spend more time in store,” she says.

 Palmers garden centres use a similar tone – Resene ‘Palmers Green’ as part of their branding and fit-outs nationwide. It’s been used since the 1990s, and paired with a bright ‘Palmers Pink’ since 2012. The company is currently undergoing a rebrand where all 14 Palmers stores are updating to this green and pink, which were formerly used predominantly in the Palmers Planet-branded outlets.

 Ester Dawbin, senior marketing assistant of Palmers explains Palmers Green’s pull.

 Palmers Planet interiors use really bright, strong colours. Why were these colours chosen?

The bright green has been carried through over the past 25 years as not only a nod to our history, but also because of its strong associations with nature. Green is associated with growth, vitality, new life and freshness – all features we believe resonate strongly with our garden centres and the act of gardening itself.
The bold pink was adopted in 2012 to modernise and add vibrancy to the brand. We believe the pink complements and stands up against the bright green and has freshened up the interior space.

 What kind of effect do you think they have on shoppers?

We receive a lot of feedback that our stores provides a great modern shopping experience. We want customers to feel inspired and motivated when they walk in store, and we believe these colours truly help create this ambience, which is why over the next year all our stores will be updated to feature both the bright green and bold pink.


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