Report: In-store sensory experiences increase sales

A new study has revealed sensory experiences increase in-store sales by 10 per cent

A new study conducted for sports retailer, Intersport, has revealed sensory experiences increased in-store sales by 10 per cent.

A behavioural study conducted by Walnut Unlimited for Mood Media and Intersport found sensory marketing has a positive emotional, cognitive and behavioural impact on shoppers. Shoppers spent almost six minutes longer in-store when the senses were activated, purchased 4 per cent more items, and higher priced items (increase of 6 per cent in value per item), when sensorial marketing elements were in place. 

The study found use of scent leads to 28 per cent emotional level increase in controlled experiment. 

Quantifying the Impact of Sensory Marketing used Galvanic Skin Responses (GSR) and Visual Eye Tracking (ET), along with exit interviews to measure customer behaviour and responses, to conduct a controlled experiment. 

The activity also found the use of scent is highly impactful when being used to highlight a specific department or zone. In the scented football zone in-store, customers’ emotional levels were elevated by 28 per cent compared to the baseline, for instance. From the installation of scent in the football area to-date, Intersport also noticed a 26 per cent increase in sales in the category in the test store compared to the same category performance in all the other stores throughout the country. 

Based on ET metrics, awareness of digital screens in-store increased by 5 per cent when moving visualisations were activated on-screen. 

Using GSR metrics meanwhile, the trio identified a lack of sensorial elements in-store caused many consumers to become awkwardly self-aware while shopping, with 17 per cent becoming more emotionally sensitive and uncomfortable in an unusually quiet and stimulant-free environment. 

GSR and ET metrics also showed a significant increase in nervous system activity and engagement when consumers saw themselves in mirrors and interacted with products in front of mirrors. In addition, shoppers showed a 50 per cent emotional increase when touching and engaging with a product. 

“Knowing 78 per cent of shoppers say an enjoyable atmosphere plays a key factor in purchasing a product in-store versus online, we partnered with Walnut Unlimited to develop behavioural and neuromarketing quantitative research that demonstrates how shoppers react first-hand to specific sensory experiences,” Mood Media global CMO, Scott Moore, said. “The results speak for themselves. A strategic top-level approach to incorporating in-store sensorial elements creates a measurable emotional response with consumers that delivers bottom-line results.”

Mood Media set up an environment, which was split into two phases in a store in Amsterdam. One was an 'all senses' phase where all the sensory elements were activated, including music, the scent of fresh-cut grass and animated digital signage. The other was a 'no senses' phase where the store lacked all sensory elements. These results were then compared to three Intersport ‘control stores’ which remained unchanged. 

Mood Media Australia Managing director, Steve Hughes, said if the high street is to continue to entice shoppers away from online, it must always put the customer first and consider what it is offering the consumer, not just the products it is selling. 

“Consumers aren’t just buying a product when in-store; they’re buying an experience and they are increasingly demanding it through their foot traffic. For many, shopping is a form of entertainment and bricks and mortar stores have a real advantage," he commented.

"Done right, shops can attract more new customers, a higher numbers of repeat visits, longer in-store dwell times and more recommendations."

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