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5 Senses and 5 Reasons You Need to Use Them in Your Store

The smell of coffee. The lingering scent of a candle. The bad perfume someone who just entered your store is wearing…

Good or bad, scents are memorable. And the same way you remember scents, your customers do, as well. Likewise, they remember things that visually appeal to them, words or phrases that are catchy and tastes of favorite foods or experiences that help keep memories alive. In other words, the senses that surround them impact their impressions of you, your store and the inventory and services in which you sell.

To help maximize your selling experiences through sense, consider how sight, touch, sound, smell and taste all impact your store… and how they can either enhance, hurt or leave no impression at all to your customers.

Sight:

Product alone doesn’t always do the trick in making a memorable, visually appealing experience to customers (sorry, hate to break this to you). Your store layout, the displays in which you have – or lack of them – and the overall visual experience of your store impacts your customer’s impression of your business. Even if you have all the inventory in the world they adore, if your store is not visually satisfying to them and meanwhile a competitor’s store is, they will go somewhere else to spend their dollars. A few things you can consider to help make your visual experiences stronger in your store include making aisles and space in general stroller, wheelchair and cane-walking friendly. This gives the sense of more space and allows for easier navigation through out your store. Additionally, having well-lit, very attractive displays will engage customers to want to shop more. Your goal through sight should be to capture their visual attention, keep them visually engaged and encourage their desire to use other senses – including touch – beyond their sense of sight. Another tip? Do not neglect the power of store signage. This is a full-proof way to engage customers through sight, also offering your store a chance to communicate product news, upcoming events, promotions and more. Just be sure you have good looking signs! No one likes handwritten ones that look like you barely cared to get them up. Wouldn’t you agree?

Touch:

If you have a brick and mortar store, you know first hand how important “touch” is when it comes to customers. Instinctively, consumers want to touch things. Creating an environment that encourages touch will allow your customers to get more engaged and ultimately, more likely to buy things. An example of this may be a product demonstration that you make available for customers to experience “hands on”. By using signage – aka sight – to help encourage and direct your customers to get their hands dirty, so to speak, your customers will feel welcomed to touch and experience this demonstration. Keeping products at eye level is also a good idea, allowing your customers to embrace the products with their own two hands. For those things that demand restriction from touching, identify how customers should learn more about them – such as with an “ask an associate for assistance” sign – which combines sight and sound in their shopping experience. Another thought to consider is if your customers may have kids in tow. If this is a common occurrence, determine how you can keep the kids touching things other than your inventory. Having a kid play area – if store space allows – is a great idea to distract kids while keeping parents shopping. Finally, consider what you want touched and asked yourself… do customers currently touch it? Clothing and accessories are natural to reach out to, but if you sell items that demand more help in getting customers engage, be sure you aren’t overlooking how you can get this done.

Sound:

Whether it’s the sound of birds chirping coming through from an open storefront door or the sounds of customers discussing what they want to buy, what consumers hear makes an impression. This includes the sound of silence… aka, no friendly hello when someone walks into your store or a quiet store without any music. For all things you can control – such as store music or conversations employees may have – make sure it’s respectful, responsible and generally pleasing to all ears. Encourage your team to avoid discussing gossip or other frowned upon topics, and keep everything upbeat and positive. The music you choose should be neutrally accommodating to your customers, as well, while also complimenting your store experience and the store vibe you aim for.

Smell:

Aroma shapes the experience of homes, holidays, experiences and stores. Your business needs to make scent a priority to help create an experience that feels complimentary to the store vibe you want. Creating a space that allows specific products to stand out in their distinct smells, such florists may do or shops offering various candle scents, can offer customers a dynamic experience. If your store doesn’t have items that offer scents, consider how one signature scent can impact your business, such as vanilla. Introducing a signature scent is a great way to connect your store with a scent customers may smell somewhere outside of your store, as well. For example, if lavender is your preferred scent, then offer candles with this smell that are private labeled with your store name on them. These could also make great giveaway gifts for select occasions. Next time your customers smell lavender, they will be sure to think of you.

Taste:

Taste may not seem like a sensory experience that comes natural to your store, but it can. Even without selling food or drinks, you can offer candies, refreshing lemon water or even various treats to help engage your customers. Have samples, provide more formal tastings and welcome local vendors to come and have “bites” and more of their products for customers to enjoy. Note – it’s not necessary to only sample what you sell. It’s the experience that you should aim for here.

Sense is part of who we are. Use this to your store advantage and introduce all five senses into your selling experience to help capture customer attention… and dollars.

Finally, remember that you yourself are a customer. What do you enjoy from the stores you visit?


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