Have you ever heard of sensory branding? This is a relatively new type of marketing that uses the customer’s senses to create a particular feeling that will form a brand image in their mind. To achieve it, the company can use one or several or even all of the human senses: the sight, the hearing, the smell, the taste and the touch.
When going shopping, don’t you dream of entering a fashion shop with calm and relaxing music, a sweet smell of vanilla and where someone is offering you a nice cup of tea and chocolate at the entrance with a personal shopper to find exactly the perfect piece for you? Well, I do.
Almost every shop is using this sensory marketing, but realistically, very few are as advanced as my dream shopping experience. The only fact that items are classified by category or by color is to please the eyes and the brain of the customers. Obviously, we are more likely to go back to a store if we know that we are going to find easily the things that we need or what we want. It is something we regularly see in fashion retail, but not only. Take Ikea, for example, due to the large amount of products proposed, no one would go back if finding a plate or a desk was not as easy as it is currently.
The understanding of how important the combination of the five senses as sensory marketing can be only began in the 1970’s. Since then, a lot of studies have been made around the world to prove that it is a real thing and that it makes a real difference for the customer’s shopping experience and the brand’s image. Books, studies, articles and high research and development expenses are proving that nowadays, unconscious stimuli and customer’s feelings matter.
When you think about going to Starbucks, you remember the smell of coffee, the noise of the coffee machines and of indie music. When walking in the street, you can tell that a Lush store is right at the corner. When going in an Apple store, you are always struck by the minimalism of the store, of the uniformity of the employees, the particular experience of touch and feeling. Actually, if sensory marketing is sometimes used sparingly, as a part of the store without making it obvious, some brands are not doing it so subtly. Maybe you have heard of Under Armour’s project in Shanghai in 2014. The sport brand put in place in Shanghai’s luxury shopping center an exposition using visual media and new technology to create an exceptional retail experience.
Believe it or not, Starbucks, Lush, Under Armour and many others are increasing their sales by creating a good memory, making the customer stay longer, come again and recognize the brand by something else than just its name.
And you What is your dream shopping experience and what is your best OnTheList memory?