A good vibe sticks with customers long after they leave the building or store. They feel the energy of the store and they walk out in a better mood than when they walked in. And creating that type of environment certainly takes more than just some good lighting.
Brands must find creative ways to appeal to all five senses in order to create a fully immersive brand experience. One sense alone isn’t enough―even four out of the five isn’t good enough for most stores, with the exception of taste and touch senses, which can be a bit more difficult to incorporate into certain environments. A restaurant, for example, should put more effort into appealing to taste than say, a waiting room at a car dealership.
It may not seem like an easy task to incorporate a sensory experience, but don’t worry. Read on for a few ideas to appeal to each sense in memorable and meaningful ways that will keep customers coming back.
We live in a very visual world―people take in the majority of information from their eyes today. Most businesses are aware of the basics―keep the space clean and the products or information organized in a way that creates an appealing customer experience. But there are a few more things to consider when appealing to what the customer sees. Are the displays well-lit and designed to engage shoppers? Customers generally prefer clear, open layouts that are easy to navigate and show visibility to the store. Are the aisles big enough for those with a wheelchair or stroller? Are digital display screens being regularly updated? Creating an appealing environment is more than just setting out pretty decorations. The business should seek to capture and keep visual attention by providing an inviting and welcoming place.
A scent or combination of smells―from perfumes to food―can take people back to a specific memory or a feeling faster than any other sense. Most have a memory of something that gives a sense of happiness or familiarity. Take the ‘new car smell’ or ‘grandma’s apple pie’ for example. Both are easily identifiable scents. Give the store a soft, non-intrusive signature scent that can be drawn back to the business no matter where they smell it in the future. Start by finding a scent popular among the target clientele and work with that. However, in some cases (like a bakery or cafe) the smell of the product will likely speak for itself.
Most customers―perhaps out of some sense of childhood angst from being told not to―will want to touch and interact with products. Items that customers can touch or experience through feeling will create a better connection, be it by trying on clothing or playing with a product demo. Keep items intended for touch at eye level―and those not intended for grabby hands higher or behind a case. Think about a high-end jewelry store as an example. Rarely are the most expensive items out where anyone can touch them. Creating this type of situation where customers have to interact with salespeople to experience a high-end or complex product or service can be a great way to ensure their needs are met and questions are answered.
What customers hear in a store makes a huge impression―and may even determine if and when they return. A playlist or in-store announcements that are too loud, too slow on the tempo, or just the wrong style altogether can be problematic. An upscale boutique with a heavy metal soundtrack is certainly not the best choice. The sounds played in a store are something too few business owners consider. Think about the target customer and the music or information they’d like to hear. Then, consider how the in-store audio experience should affect customers. For example, a faster playlist will result in faster movements of customers throughout the store or business, whereas a slower tempo will help customers to relax and take their time. In addition, the tone of any in-store announcements can be a big part of the overall vibe of the store, so it’s key to make sure the tone fits the brand.
Obviously, if a business serves food or beverages, taste should be an easy one to cover (free samples, anyone?). However, even businesses that don’t specialize in food and beverage can find ways to incorporate taste into their in-store experience. For example, a successful hair salon can do a cross promotion to host happy hour hair tutorials with a local cocktail bar or winery. A gym can give away or sell healthy treats or shakes to their members after a class. Either one leaves customers with a good taste in their mouths about the brand.
Each sense is important and distinct in its own right. But creating a great vibe by using all five together in a positive way? That’s building a brand identity few will soon forget.
Interested in learning more? Request a demo of Vibenomics today and learn how you can start creating on-brand music and messaging for your in-store customers.