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Sensory shopping or how to catch into the net

When shopping, we perceive the environment and offered products using several senses. It is therefore advantageous to influence customers through more senses, but among other senses the eyesight, which is decisive when choosing goods, plays the main role. Eyesight controls approximately 80 % of purchasing decisions.

Multisensory marketing that includes senses of hearing, smell, taste and touch is gradually more and more developing. These are very powerful associated stimuli that strengthen the effect of visual perception many times. The reason is that they bring the desired emotional interest much faster. The TNS research from 2007 found out that confectionery purchase is influenced mostly by the atmosphere that arouses the appetite for sweets. In other words, if a seller wants to stimulate sales of confectionery, he should primarily focus his attention on arousing the appetite for sweets. It does not mean directly tasting – actually, the act of tasting may decrease the appetite for sweets satisfying the appetite and thus the desire for the impulse purchase may be smaller. Using a strong visual perception is effective, for example chocolate bar after the first bite or chocolate just being mixed. It is a stimulation that may evoke “the Pavlov reflex”, a customer will literally “start to slobber” in such created atmosphere and then buy products without even thinking about it before.

The effect of the visual perception may be even increased many times using a suitable chosen aroma, which does not even have to be the chocolate fragrance – as in the case of tasting, it has a tendency to “satisfy” customers without buying anything. Nowadays there exist sophisticated techniques that can identify relevant aromas or sounds for concrete product categories being used to stimulate appetite or interest in concrete goods or services. As an example, we can mention the well-known principle of spreading the coffee fragrance in tobacco-stores – as this aroma stimulates appetite for tobacco products – or spreading the fresh bread fragrance in food stores used as a stimulus evoking hunger – and hungry person buys more than someone who is full.

The last mentioned sense that can be stimulated at points-of-sales is the sense of touch. An example of using tactile perception within the communication at points-of-sales is the Milka sales display using a plush cow head luring to caress it. That is how customers get near displayed products and the pleasant tactile feeling motivates them more to put chocolates into their shopping carts.

Multisensory marketing works mainly subliminally, and so various biometric methods are used to choose suitable aromas or sounds. In principle, these methods measure what happens based on visual, acoustic, tactile and olfactory stimuli in such parts of the brain which seller needs to be activated at the right moment (neuromarketing). But don´t think that producers and sellers make robots from you this way. Stimulation of multiple senses loses its effect when a customer is not satisfied with purchased products. In this case, there is not repeated purchase, which is crucial for the fast moving consumer goods.

Daniel Jesenský, DAGO, s.r.o. 

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