Here’s an interesting little video that highlights what supermarkets and other retailers are doing to engage all the senses of their shoppers:

The camera crew visited a redesigned Coles supermarket as well as a tea shop and Air Aroma, a scent marketing firm. A few of the sensory appeal techniques the video illustrates:

Sight: Open store layouts to allow viewing other departments. Well-lit, very attractive displays of produce. Customers can see bakers, butchers, etc. at work.
Touch: Placing products in close proximity to the shopper with no barriers to allow handling.
Sound: Fishmongers, bakes, and butchers are encouraged to be noisy in hawking their wares.
Smell: Aromatic products are out in the open. In addition, “designed” scents are pumped into the air ducts.
Taste: Product sampling is encouraged by staff, and easy access is provided.

The strategy is based on the idea that a customer whose senses are fully engaged will stay longer and buy more. In the tea shop the camera crew visited, there’s also a reciprocity effect at work: a customer who spends 15 minutes sampling teas often feels obligated to make a purchase.

Retail environments like supermarkets, coffee and tea shops, restaurants, etc. are clearly well-positioned to appeal to all five senses. But all too many businesses don’t even make an attempt to get beyond visual appeal – are you doing all you can to maximize sensory engagement? Do people know what your brand smells or sounds like?

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