The power of sensory retail: report reveals impact on consumer behaviour

today Feb 25, 2019
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E-commerce continues to thrive, but retailers can use the power of sensory experiences to lure shoppers back to stores, a new report has revealed.

In fact, 90% of shoppers are more likely to revisit stores that use music, visuals and scent to create an atmosphere, according a new global study by in-store media solutions company Mood Media.

Undertaken by Walnut Unlimited, the study titled “Elevating the Customer Experience: The Impact of Sensory Marketing surveyed more than 10,0000 consumers across 10 countries, including the UK, Australia, China, France, the US and Germany to explore the impact of a store’s atmosphere on purchasing decisions.

It found that 78% of shoppers think an “enjoyable” in-store atmosphere plays a key factor when it comes to shopping in-store versus online. Music is the top aspect, influencing 85% of global shoppers, however getting it right is important as 57% would disengage if brands make poor music choices.

Music, combined with visual and scent sensorial elements, can increase customer dwell times significantly, with 75% of those surveyed saying the have stayed longer in a store when such components were in place.

Additionally, creating immersive experiences can also have an impact on customer loyalty, with 90% of shoppers deciding to return to a store because they enjoyed its music, visuals and scent combination, the report said.

“Consistent with our 2017 State of Brick & Mortar study, we found that the physical store remains important to the majority of people around the world, with the experiential element playing a large role in consumers’ decision to choose brick & mortar over e-commerce,” said Scott Moore, global senior vice president of marketing and creative content for Mood Media.

“It also further highlights that brick & mortar businesses have to give consumers a reason to get off the sofa and into the store, and part of that reason lies in providing them an elevated sensorial experience. Brands should look to this report to discover how they can create the kinds of store environments that will convert shoppers into buyers and loyal repeat customers.”

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Spanish and Chinese shoppers were found to be most influenced by sensory elements, while customers in the UK are more concerned about long queues, receiving a personalised service and store layouts.

Indeed, 62% of Britons said they had either avoided or left a store because of long queues, and almost 80% would choose to shop in-store rather than online if there is an enjoyable atmosphere.

But what is considered ‘an enjoyable atmosphere’? 37% of UK respondents think store layout is the most decisive feature and 36% are more likely to come back to the store if the experience is personalised to them. Additionally, almost 50% of shoppers would like to see more promotions and in-store offers on digital screens in clothing stores.

“While the results suggest that UK shoppers may not be as influenced by sensory cues as their global counterparts, there are certainly areas of growth to explore, for example intuitive designs for store layouts and incorporating visual aids such as digital signage to better assist shoppers and make information such as stock availability or promotions more readily available” said Linda Ralph, vice president of international business development for Mood Media.

“Over the past year we have seen more and more UK retailers adopting immersive and multi-sensory in-store experiences and we see this momentum set to continue into 2019 as smaller retailers try their hand at experiential, spurred on by the success of the retail giants.”

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