Sensing success: the new way to engage with customers

Building customer loyalty in a world where consumers have more choice than ever before can be tough. How can a brand cut through the clutter to become a shopper’s preferred option?

Customers are always looking for something more and will choose the brand they feel a connection with or that has values they aspire to. Creating a connection like that can require more than just the sight and sound of a website. Now, brands are discovering their bricks and mortar stores offer unique opportunities to build those relationships. Savvy retailers are using the physical space of these stores more effectively by finding ways to use all five senses in a retail environment with a technique known as multi-sensory retail.

This approach lets the shopper experience the physical manifestation of a brand in-store through use of additional touchpoints such as music, scent, physical product and even complementary food or beverages. It shows the consumer how a brand smells, feels and tastes too.

Ask yourself: ‘How does a store make a customer feel?’ Specifically, the target customer. Store fit-out is crucial to setting the scene, while music emphasises the brand environment – teen brand Abercrombie & Fitch is renowned for its loud, upbeat music (even offering its playlists online), while supermarkets opt for slower music after research in the 80s found it increased spend by over 30 per cent.

Touch comes into play through the textures used in the store and the ability for a customer to pick up and feel what is on offer; if they do need to wait to try something that’s behind glass or out of reach ensure there’s a comfortable seat available, as softer chairs have been shown to encourage higher spend. Smell, regarded as our most emotive sense, is used increasingly too. The Langham Hotel’s distinctive Ginger Flower signature scent was developed exclusively for the hotel group to epitomise luxury and elegance and is pumped into its properties around the globe.

For stores without a food focus, taste can be harder to achieve – but consider whether there’s an opportunity for a ‘valued client night’ with specially designed canapés that speak to your brand’s style, or follow the lead of Topshop’s Queen Street store, which offered boutique cupcakes and pressed juices to all shoppers on a new season launch day.

These techniques can be subtle but are key to connecting with your customers – so make your brand a treat for all their senses.

 

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