Enjoyable Sensory Experiences Drive 9 Out of 10 Shoppers Back Into Stores
It’s no secret that with the advent of the internet and online shopping, today’s consumers have access to more information and more options than ever before, and are actively making decisions across online and offline channels. This reality makes it that much more important for brands to create compelling, personalized experiences in their brick-and-mortar stores to build authentic connections with their customer base and, ultimately, remain competitive. So, what tactics are most effective for garnering repeat visits and cultivating brand loyalty? That’s one of the very questions that recently prompted us to do a global study of over 10,000 consumers across 10 countries (from Australia to the Netherlands to China, Spain, France and the U.S. … plus a few others in between).
Our study explored the impact of a store’s atmosphere — namely sensory elements — on the overall shopping experience for consumers, as well as which elements have the greatest influence on their attitudes and behaviors, such as making a purchase or revisiting a store. The results left little room for debate regarding the power and importance that an engaging sensory experience has in-store. For example, 78 percent of shoppers told us that the atmosphere at a retail store significantly impacts their decision to shop in-store rather than online. More so, 90 percent of shoppers say they're more likely to return to a brick-and-mortar location if the music, visuals and scent create an enjoyable atmosphere.
While consumers from region to region had some nuanced preferences, the common theme we saw, again and again, was that shoppers from around the world positively respond to an enjoyable, well-thought-out in-store environment. In the U.S. specifically, shoppers place a lot of value on tactile factors. The ability to touch, feel and try on products was the No. 1 factor for 43 percent of U.S. consumers to opt for brick-and-mortar vs. online shopping.
Additionally, we found that personalization drives both sales and brand affinity. More than a third of global consumers (38 percent) say “feeling like the experience is personalized” increases their likelihood to make a purchase. Tailored shopping experiences also make 41 percent of consumers globally more likely to return to the store for repeat visits.
So how can retailers step up their in-store game to build brand loyalty and grow their core customer bases? There are a few factors to consider. The influence of sound, for starters. Music is the leader in improving a shopper’s mood in-store, and has an overall positive impact on a whopping 85 percent of global shoppers. And remember the quality of your music matters. More than half (57 percent) of shoppers will disengage if a brand makes lackluster music choices or isn’t sensitive to the volume control. Additionally, music deeply impacts shopper dwell time. Nearly half of American respondents (45 percent) spend more time in a store than they had initially planned to because they “enjoyed the music.”
Furthermore, don’t overlook the power of strategic digital signage. Visual content can pack a major punch in the overall experience. Over half (58 percent) of consumers globally say that engaging video content positively impacts their shopping experience, while 43 percent say they’ve been directly influenced by in-store digital content. There’s something to be said for combining a number of components as well. Mixing visuals, music and scent elements increase shopper dwell time, with 75 percent of consumers sharing that they’ve spent more time in a store when all of these components were at play together.
Simply put, it would be a huge miss for retailers to ignore consumers’ insatiable appetite for an elevated sensorial experience. At the very least, smart retailers must begin to look at things differently and become more conscious of all that surrounds their brands and their customers as they consider how their modern-day in-store customer experience should look.
Scott Moore is global senior vice president of marketing and creative content at Mood Media, the world’s leading in-store media solutions company dedicated to elevating the customer experience.
Scott Moore is Global SVP of Marketing and Creative Content at Mood Media, the world’s leading in-store media solutions company dedicated to elevating the Customer Experience.
Scott is based in Austin TX, and is passionate about the current evolution of Customer Experience.
Prior to joining Mood, Scott spent over 20 years in the advertising agency world. Over the course of his career, he’s worked at major ad agencies in LA, San Francisco, New York and Austin, and has created award-winning campaigns for a wide range of clients including AT&T, Caesars Entertainment, Louis Vuitton, Old Navy, PetSmart, Revlon and Tommy Hilfiger, just to name a few.
While his work has crossed a variety of categories, he has a particular interest in all things retail.