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Appealing To Retail Shoppers With Multi-Sensory Engagement

by Byrne Anderson
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While much of today’s shopping is performed online and more retailers are offering their products via the Internet, plenty of sales still take place in brick-and-mortar stores. Shopping in person is a different experience than buying online, so what compels a customer to make a purchase when browsing at a store? What tactics can business owners and managers use to encourage shoppers to interact with a product and buy it? Understanding in-person shopping behavior could make a big difference in foot traffic and the bottom line.

Contrary to popular opinion, brick-and-mortar retailers have a huge advantage over e-commerce retailers: the ability to appeal to their shoppers’ senses. Multi-sensory engagement — or using more than one sense to attract and keep attention — is a powerful way to help boost those sales. Research has found that shoppers who are engaged through all five senses tend to spend more time in a store and are more likely to make a purchase.

Of the five senses, sight is the one most employed by retailers, taking advantage of lighting, design, color and style to appeal to shoppers. Uncluttered, well-lit displays that showcase products in a pleasing way can help attract shoppers’ attention.

Touch is another sense that retailers can harness. Customers who buy products from online retailers cannot touch and experience the product until they receive it; many shoppers won’t buy some products online as a result. Consider clothes shopping, for example: You want to make sure that an item of clothing not only fits but is comfortable and flattering as well. That is impossible to do when shopping online. Encouraging shoppers to touch and handle a product increases the odds that they will buy it.

Sense of smell can also enhance the shopping experience; some retailers use scent to help connect with passersby and entice them into the store. Utilizing sound is another way to make customers stay in your establishment. The type of music, beats per minute and even volume can impact whether patrons stay to browse or leave the store in a hurry without purchasing anything.

It may not be feasible to use taste for every retail environment, but proprietors in the food and beverage industry are well-aware of how sampling can translate to sales. However, sight is often the most powerful for business owners. For information on how to use lighting to engage the senses and influence customer behavior, check out the accompanying resource.

Infographic created by Dubak Electrical Group, industrial electrical contractors

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