Utilizing the 5 Senses to Make Customers Feel Comfortable

using the senses in marketing

Not all marketing research comes from business scientists. When a customer walks into your store, a neuroscientist would identify the millions of interactions starting with sensory nerve cell receptors that transmit data to the brain. The brain then interprets the information, filtering through its knowledge, emotions and life experience to create a perception. Sensory marketing, a hybrid of neuroscience and marketing research, analyses the conversion from sense to perception, identifying the ways to use senses to make a sale. Here’s a scientific look at how our senses can drive sales.

Sight

We come from a long line of hunters and gatherers. Compared to other top predators, which depend largely on a sense of smell, humans depend on sight. Most of our brain is used to interpret sensory input of sight, either perceiving safety or identifying faces. The limbic system governs deep-seated responses like fear and safety. Before customers can be willing to make a purchase, they need to feel safe. Installing security cameras, cleaning cluttered spaces and approaching customers with a friendly face will put the limbic responses at ease, which can lead to more impulse purchases.

Hearing

The link between sound and its perception is one of the most complex of the five senses. The shape of air pushed through our mouths is detected by specialized nerve cells in the ear, which the brain translates into language with all of the subtleties and nuances that come with it. Hearing is where the sales pitch is perceived. According to Aristotle, these sound waves must elicit three reactions to be persuasive:

  • Ethos: Ethical
  • Logos: Logical
  • Pathos: Emotional

Make certain that all of your pitches have these components.

Touch

One of the reasons that you have a brick-and-mortar store over an online shop is that you want your customers to be able to touch the products. Compared to pictorial representations where a customer can only rely on the sense of sight, real interaction lets them use touch and, to a lesser degree, smell. This ability to touch a product leads to a significantly higher rate of purchase. Whenever feasible, encourage customers to touch, manipulate and spatially examine the products to better be able to make the sale.

Taste

The sense of taste is a difficult one to separate out because it is so closely linked to the sense of smell, which is a very powerful primer for emotions. If a person holds his nose, thus removing the sense of smell, and tastes food, he generally will not be able to differentiate much more than salty, sweet or bitter. For a marketer to truly engage the sense of taste, you will need to develop an experiential marketing framework. To do so, have something for customers to put into their mouths that matches the feel of the other senses. This will go a long way to creating a multi-sensual shopping experience for your customer.

Smell

In contrast, smell is almost directly linked to our emotions. The smell of comfort foods cooking brings us back to childhood happiness and carefree times. Research shows that customers will spend more time in a store if it smells good. Of course, these are filtered through out memories and cultures, so make sure to tailor the scent of your store the proper demographic.


With a Bachelors in Physics and a MBA, Paul Reyes-Fournier worked in aerospace and education but his passion to do something good for the world led him to a career in the non-profit sector where he has served as the CFO of a multi-million dollar rehab agency. Paul has lobbied Congress for funds to help homeless individuals and served on the BOD for social service organizations. He is a published author, co-author of CoupleDumb.com, and has written for JG Wentworth, Walmart, and LifeLock.

Infographic: In-Store Retail Apps Are Heating Up

The last decade has seen a huge change in the landscape of retail worldwide. E-commerce websites have become pretty much ubiquitous and many consumers source most of what they need online. This shift in consumer behavior has been heavily influenced by the improvement in technology in terms of computers but most especially on phones. Previously, cell phones were used predominantly for making and receiving calls or text messages. Today, this couldn’t be more different.

Cell phones of today are referred to as smartphones and rightly so as there is little that they don’t do or influence in day to day life. Smartphones have radically come down in price also and so they are accessible to a larger portion of people.

The proliferation then of phone and tablet apps could be seen as another problem for offline or bricks and mortar retailers but in actual fact this need not be the case. With greater access to consumers, offline retailers need to look at this as an opportunity for them to reach out to consumers like never before. Research shows that consumers that use and engage on apps are more likely to spend higher amounts of money so it is definitely something that should not be ignored. Retailers need to focus on how phone and tablet apps can make the retail experience a better one when the customers are actually in the store in order to capitalize on the changing times.

This infographic from Storetraffic Retail Solutions aims to show how the app revolution is not confined to online retail, meaning that it is something that offline retail store owners should not ignore. Check it out to learn more!

infographic in store retail

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Marketing Idea #31: Know Your Neighbors

know your neighbors

Especially in a retail environment, it is important that retailers work together to synchronize and support each other’s activities. Likewise, the same can be true of strategic partners, where physical location isn’t as important as reciprocal efforts. If you haven’t taken the time to meet your neighbors (e.g., the businesses on your block, in your complex, in your part of town), you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Building relationships with these folks will lead to the ability to refer business to them, as well as the opportunity to receive referred business from them.

Infographic: Digital Coupons

The growth of digital coupons has revolutionized how people interact with coupons. There is no longer a need to print your coupon and bring it to the store as digital coupons are becoming commonplace. In 2012, 92.2 million adults redeemed online coupons and this figure is expected to grow to 124.4 million by 2016.

infographic digital coupons

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It is vital that businesses have measures in place to fully utilize this growing market. There are seven key ways in which businesses can incorporate effective digital coupon marketing. These include integrating the offers with email, using text messaging, and most importantly measuring results to determine how effective each campaign is. This allows you to tweak your technique depending on the most effective methods.

This infographic from Colourfast outlines the growth of digital coupons and provides an effective seven-step plan to maximize the effectiveness of digital coupons for your business.

Have you ever used coupons or promo codes with your offers? Any success? Share below!

Marketing Idea #79: Can’t You Read The Sign?

Marketing Ideas Signage

Consider the signage at your office or facility. Can a visitor find you easily? Can he find his way around your facility easily? Large buildings such as hospitals, office buildings, and malls often suffer from poor signage, creating a sense of unease and annoyance in their patrons. You know that even grocery stores can benefit from clear signage if you’ve ever had the misfortune of searching for way too long to locate a certain item on your grocery list.

Marketing Ideas Signs