Appeal to the Senses to Engage Shoppers and Build Sales

Appeal to the Senses to Engage Shoppers and Build Sales

September 3, 2014

What’s happening in your store, behind the scenes? Subtle things you might not even notice, even though you are there on a daily basis? Next time you are in your store, pay attention to the music, lighting, scent and other store-design elements. Store planners know that having these elements correlate to shopper moods and purchase behavior, as well as to bigger baskets, longer trips and likelier repeat visits.  

That’s why stores often play slow-tempo music at moderate volume, and intensify smells of fresh-baked breads and tortillas, rotisserie chickens, and fragrant fruits and vegetables often greet you at the door.

How can you as the store’s dietitian get involved? Think about sampling healthy foods that appeal to the senses—hot teas, fragrant fruits, dark chocolate, toasted whole grain bread, aromatically-spiced prepared foods—to draw in and entice customers.  Or build an entire demo around food and mood, sampling foods rich in nutrients associated with enhanced moods, such as omega-3 rich fish or flaxeeds, folate-rich vegetables, etc.  This is a topic of perennial interest to consumers, so it will give you an opportunity to connect with them on a personal level...and hey, it may even boost their mood while they're in-store.

Efforts like these can help stores bust shopper stress – and foster an affinity to buy.

Technology can also be used to an advantage here to positively influence purchases more directly through such tactics as:  sending mobile coupons to shoppers’ cell phones based on where they are in a store, issuing check-in discounts as incentives, pinpointing where shoppers spend time in a store and the merchandise they look at, and sensing their emotional responses in real-time to staff interactions, special displays and products on the shelf. Dietitian suggestions for healthier options, recipes and complementary purchases would work well here.

Stores that recognize repeat visitors by the distinctive pings of their phones can better personalize the shopping experience and lift mood to a higher level. Similarly, high-powered cameras (yes it exists, and there are kinks to work out http://business.time.com/2012/09/18/private-eyes-are-retailers-watching-our-every-move/) and facial recognition software that show shoppers’ moods at the moment, allows a store to know when to intervene with, for example, a companion food suggestion or instant discount sent to their phone or conveyed face-to-face by a retail dietitian who “just happens to be walking by.”

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