Stimulate ALL of Your Customers’ Senses

The point was, and still is, that the sight, the sound, and the smell of the hot popping corn was (is) just too much for the customer to resist.  In fact, a friend in the business tells me that it would be cheaper and a lot less messy to bring in pre-popped corn in big plastic bags.  There’s no difference in the taste, but where it’s been tried, movie-goers just won’t buy it. 

The point is, the more of the customers’ senses you can stimulate, the more likely you are to make a sale.  Of course, you may not sell a product that you can taste or smell, but with a little imagination, you can still make your store a sensory experience. 

Maybe your product doesn’t have a distinctive smell, but there are other aromas that your shoppers will find pleasant.  Maybe you could offer gourmet coffee.  Almost everyone loves the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee.  Or, you could go the non-food route and use one of those plug-in air fresheners.  Just be sure you chose a pleasant fragrance and use the same one all the time so your customers begin to associate that particular smell with your store. 

Sights and sounds may be better associated with your particular merchandise, and should be easier to take advantage of.  Your store should be full of activity.  Product demonstrations should be animated and interactive.  Get the goods into the customer’s hands.  Rather than you demonstrating the newest features, walk the customer through the process.  Let her ring the bells and blow the whistles.

Loop videos are another excellent way to bring sight and sound into your selling environment, even when you and your staff are all busy.  Most manufacturers provide videos and the price of playback equipment has never been lower.  You could even use a digital video recorder to make your own video, extolling  the virtues of your store.  Have some fun with this!

Ambient sounds are also important.  If you have music playing in the store, make sure it’s appropriate to your store’s atmosphere.  Unless you’re selling skate boards or tattoos, punk rock really isn’t the way to go.  Don’t let your personal preference dictate the music your customers shop by.

Last, but certainly not least, make sure your lighting makes it easy to buy.  We wrote recently about saving money on store lighting, and it is a good way to save, but not at the expense of lost sales.  The last thing you want to do is save $50 on electricity and lose a $1,000 sale because it was just to dark for the customer to appreciate what she was looking at.

Retail sales is really show business, and the merchandise is the star.  Take a tip from the theater owners, who know a little bit about show biz, and get as many of the customers’ senses involved as you possibly can. You can even take a page from the theaters’ book and buy your own popcorn machine.  Popcorn_machine


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