MultisensoryPerceptionSince everyone is talking about neuromarketing, smaller retailers, in particular, often wonder what opportunities it holds for them. Well, basically it is using findings from the past that can now be put to practical use. If you want, you could for instance even consider the church as the inventor of neuromarketing since a visit to a church can explain quite well how multi-sensor technology works.

As soon as you enter the “holy halls” you notice how tiny you actually are, the scent of incense takes over the work of the olfactory senses, the organ takes over the acoustics and the lead-glazed windows the optics. All this shows that the church knows exactly how to use multi-sensors on all levels.

Now it is important to transfer this knowledge to the store and the following points could be useful to get started:

1. Scenting should always come first, because regardless of whether it is a chemical smell in the clothing discounter or a musty smell at the grocery store, the smell is subconsciously perceived. Unfortunately, employees often no longer perceive the smell or think that the customer is not bothered by it, but it has a direct impact on the so-called limbic system in the brain, the place where emotions arise, and an influence on a customer’s purchasing decisions. Well, do not believe that simply installing a room fragrance is enough, rather ventilate the area well to remove unpleasant odors and ensure that what the eye sees on a shelf will be smelled by the nose – only that and nothing else. Because other things in the vicinity only disturb the sensory congruence, which leads to the fact that the brain signals "Don't buy". Simply moving items in shelves around and exchanging some for appropriate supplementary products is often the simplest solution. But you might want to consider the following tips too:

  • Smell always exists, make sure that it does not arise by accident. If you are odor-blind for your own shop, ask acquaintances and friends to give you feedback.
  • Take heed of the air flow in your store: e.g., visualize it with smoke candles to see how the air moves, since it is of no use to install a scent that does not reach the noses due to unfavorable air currents.
  • Choose a context-sensitive scent: e.g., no lavender scent in the fruit department, citrus, or apple.
  • Keep in mind that less is more: too intensive scenting irritates, is intrusive, and achieves exactly the opposite. Maybe you would even consider hiring an experienced fragrance partner who will find the right fragrance for you with an appropriate network of perfumers.

2. Music is a matter of taste, they say, which is what you should consider when it comes to your ideal store acoustics. There are cultural differences to keep in mind: e.g., Europeans find the beat of the American fashion shops very stressful, conversely, the Americans find their chilled music rather soporific, while Asian or Arab music is quite particular too. The bottom line is that you must know your target group well to hit exactly the right note which is why we provide some tips for balanced sound reinforcement:

  • Think of the rights holder first and make sure you can play the music in the store and know the price. There are also partners who work completely with royalty-free content.
  • Stream the music as this saves huge infrastructure costs. There are loudspeakers in all forms available that distribute the right content via radio technology.
  • Make sure to find out what beats per minute (BPM) suits your customers, if acoustic room masking, e.g., with natural tones, would fit better, or if foregoing acoustics entirely would be the best solution.

3. Particularly noteworthy is the visual customer guidance, as a lot has happened here in the past - especially in the area of digital customer approach. For example, there are now no or only a few screens on that broadcast advertising, as screens are nowadays mainly used to positively influence the basic atmosphere of the store. Since humans are generally visual beings, this sense is particularly easy to manipulate. Unfortunately, you can do just as much wrong as right.

4. Of course, the sense of taste must be mentioned here, too. Let the customer taste things as often as possible, since almost everything that is tasted is usually bought, as winemakers know for ages.

5. The sense of touch is the last to mention. Whether buying fruits at the supermarket or clothes in the boutique, we use it – or when buying a car, “man” tends to touch the gear knob and stroke the leather-covered dashboard.

With multi-sensor technology, brick-and-mortar retail has an advantage that no online shop in the world can match. So, to activate people holistically, you shouldn't miss this chance to excite your customers and win them over.

By Daniela La Marca