The Five Retail Senses

In my last blog, “A Run to a Store Still Relevant in the Digital Age,” I touched upon consumer interaction in-store and the changes evolving in the retail environment. In order to heighten customer experience companies have added sensory marketing as a way of attracting customers. Sensory Marketing targets a consumer’s basic senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

But what happens when we go beyond the basic human senses and tap into a consumer’s Retail Senses? Retail senses encompass the five basic areas: presentation, price, quality, availability and location.
 

blog_5-Retail-Senses.jpgPresentation

Immersed in a variety of different brands and products, presentation and engaging consumers is essential. In-store merchandising has the key advantage of obtaining instant buy-in, many times by consumer testing. Test products allow consumers to explore and interact with the size, shape and color of a handful of products or services. Customers are more likely to create a connection with a product by touching and experiencing it first-hand. According to a four-part study done by the Journal of Consumer Research, touch “results in an increase in perceived ownership of [an] object,” (Peck, Shu 2009) which according to the Harvard Business Review, “[drives] must-have purchase decisions.” (Williams, Ackerman 2011) So, by allowing the customers to make the connection of physiological ownership with the product, the probability of purchase is heightened.

Price

With the end of any season brings sales and I can confirm that in the world of retail, “price” is key. I say “price” because it is less about the actual numbers than it is about the framing of the numbers. Customers aren’t just looking for good products, they’re looking for good products at fair prices, and framing prices with words like “SALE” and “ROLLBACK” makes prices appear more appealing to consumers.

Quality

Whether or not a consumer chooses a brick-and-mortar store over purchasing online, there’s still an online element in the sale of the product. According to a survey done by PwC, 67% of consumers are influenced by social media reviews and comments about products that they buy.(2016) Shoppers want quality, and with easily accessible consumer reviews, assuring the quality of a product has never been easier.


Availability

“LIMITED SUPPLY” seems to trigger a dual-sense of both excitement and panic. Perhaps it’s the fact that availability is such a significant factor for consumers and that it is such a temperamental sense. With clearance sales at our front door, stores have the opportunity to use the limited supply of products to create a buzz.

A product’s availability can have a negative impact on both the consumer and the retailer due to the finicky nature of this aspect of shopping.


Location

Back–to-school sales are here and gone with the holidays right around the corner.  Merchandising displays and new product introductions will be front and center with a focus on high profile endcaps and placement in-line.  For many products the location of the display and interactive components will draw in sales and repeat visits ideal for any retailer.


The Five Retail Senses and Brand Relationships

Looking at consumers’ five Retail Senses, how does each one contribute to Brand Relationships?

  • PRESENTATION: Creates the feel and representation of the brand
  • PRICE: Appeals to the customers’ budget
  • QUALITY: Establishes trust with the consumer
  • AVAILABILITY: Regular easy access perserves the Customer-Brand Relationship
  • LOCATION: Appeals to the customer’s convenience

As we transition into another season in retail, it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind the Five Consumer Senses: presentation, price, quality, availability and location.

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