Coming to your senses: how to use sight, smell and sound to attract customers
More often than not, it’s the subconscious that guides our decision-making, and getting to that means understanding what influences what P&G called the first moments of truth — those precious seconds that influence whether or not someone will buy or not.
For retailers, this is why visual merchandising matters so much. “Visual merchandising is comprised of six components: image, layout, presentation, signing, display and events,” according to Donna Geary. “Everything you do within the store — how you develop your layout, your presentation…-
But it’s not just about the ‘visual’ — retailers have been testing insights from behavioural economics and sensory branding to see how much they can steer shoppers’ decisions — and their insights apply equally well to smaller settings. Here are just a handful of ways you can use sensory appeal to improve your service:
Sight Think about Tiffany, the jewellers, and you’ll probably see a light blue box. Over 92 per cent of the population rank colour and shape as the biggest influences on what they buy, with one study claiming colour alone accounts for 62-90 per cent of our first impression.
Colours can reinforce a brand image, but there is also evidence that suggests it can prompt people to buy. Red, for example, may encourage more online purchases and is an ‘energetic’
You don’t need to be an expert in colour psychology to use it effectively:
Lighting can have the same impact — a spotlight literally draws the eye to a display or a feature wall. Philips lighting division has worked with school teachers to create different intensities of light to evoke calm or energy or focus in the classroom. At clothing retailers such as Hollister or Abercrombie & Fitch, dark stores, loud dance music and distinctive ‘house’ smells are combined to attract teenaged buyers (and, arguably, repel older ones).
Touch Being able to touch products may also make people more likely to buy, according to psychologist Paco Underhill. He even suggests retailers aim for ‘not-perfect’
Smell Research into how smell influences our psychology and behaviour has prompted a whole science called ‘scent marketing’ or ‘atmospherics’
So when retailers pipe in ‘signature’
Hearing Sound can have a similar effect – loud music may make you move through a store more quickly, slower or ‘retro’ sounds may fit with a store that wants to convey a more distinctive image, even the tempo or beat of your selection can impact how much shoppers buy, says this podcast. The lack of sound, too, can be a breath of fresh air — Selfridges offered a ‘no noise’ zone to give customers a little respite from the bustle of the rest of the store.
More obviously, the music you choose should fit the type of customer you want to attract. One small business owner used his own eclectic taste to differentiate his small, artisan coffee shop from a global brand on the same road. It enhanced the atmosphere and everyone commented on the great music he played. (But be aware: you’re likely to need a license, even if you’re playing your own tunes.)
Sensory marketing has now become so sophisticated that big brands are moving into ‘multi-sensory’
For more visual merchandising and display inspiration to stir the senses, please visit www.shopfittingwarehouse.co.uk
Page Updated Last on: Nov 12, 2015