Back-to-Basics : The captivating five senses of a real store

In an era of online shopping that runs in conjunction with our modern, instantaneous nature as a society, it seems likely that many are forgetting the positive moments that present themselves during real interactions and reducing the stimulation the brain needs to create real memories. Although this instantaneous nature has allowed for advancements that enable us to order our groceries and have them delivered right to our doorstep in our pajamas (total game-changer, by the way), many people and retailers are forgetting about the captivating senses only found in a real store.

Humans have five basic senses that help us understand, both visually and contextually, large amounts of information, that then shape our perceptions and ultimately, how we remember our experiences.

Let’s time-hop, circa grade-school and go back-to-basics. The five core human senses are: sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste.  So, what do you get when you pay attention to all of these senses together, in one physical retail store? A captivating consumer experience.


Here's why retail locations need to go back-to-the-basics and focus on the core senses:

#1. Sight

When a customer walks into your store, what do they see? Let’s hope they see some friendly faces and a few, cool elements that make them feel right at home.

#2. Smell

What does the customer smell when they arrive? According to research, the average person may be able to smell one trillion scents, which means that your customers are very likely to pick-up on indisposed trash, harsh cleaning products, and everything in between. The smell is part of the overall brand experience and something that is stored in the customer's long-term memory, which is why it's necessary to incorporate a good scent in your store.

#3. Touch

Do you have samples or focal items that the customer can actually touch? This is the true ‘leg-up’ that physical stores have on the eCommerce community and why it should be embraced. After all, how many times have you made an online purchase and it arrives looking, well...not what you expected?

#4. Sound

Have you considered what the ambiance is like? Casual with the local radio playing in the background or calming, with sounds of the ocean waves crashing ashore? Think of what makes sense with the identity of your brand and what you are trying to convey to your customers. Of course, live music is always a great option when aiming to instill excitement and fun!

#5. Taste

So, perhaps this one is not always applicable…but shouldn’t it be? Are your customers offered coffee or for larger purchases, champagne? Better yet, if the customer is going to be in your store for over an hour, do they have an area they can treat themselves to refreshments? Needless to say, taste is definitely part of a fully encompassing experience.

There you have it - probably much different then how you remember learning these in your grade-school science class.

Sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste - the five senses that attract customers to a real store.

A store that creates, and sustains, a captivating consumer experience.

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