NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Retailers might want to refrain from rejoicing at the sight of a jam-packed mall in the days after Christmas, especially if their particular establishment is chock-full of tight aisles and large floor displays.

A study set to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that consumers are actually more apt to leave a store without making a purchase if a stranger bumps into them while shopping.

The findings are based off of a series of field experiments conducted in England, in which researchers arranged to have half of the study’s participants “brushed lightly” as they walked down a store aisle.

After recording shopping times and asking questions about the overall experience, researchers discovered that participants who were touched by a stranger quickly left the store, and did so with a negative view of the product they were looking at.

The findings suggest that retailers might want to reconsider certain layouts and displays, especially if they are considering hosting a sale or low-price promotion.

“Rather than cramming a store with goods and having narrow aisles, managers should think about giving people space to consider products without the risk of being bumped into by strangers,” says lead author Brett A. S. Martin. “If [consumers] are touched, they don’t buy, and they leave store with a bad impression of your brand.”

How else do businesses inadvertently drive customers away? Find out seven things that stop you from spending in this MainStreet roundup!

—Jeanine Skowronski is staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach her by email at, or follow her on Twitter at @JeanineSko.