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Multisensory Shopping Experience Essay

Click here to access The Future of Shopper Activations report

And our experts all agree that creating inspiring experiences can help break through shoppers’ routine response behaviours to engage them while in shopping mode, build brand equity and ultimately lead them towards the end goal of purchasing.

Indeed, the year has been dominated by the inexorable rise of the experience store as brands respond to the rise in online shopping by creating flagship stores with multi-sensory touchpoints. In September, KitchenAid, the makers of the iconic mixers, opened its first experience store on London’s Wigmore Street. The space not only showcases the product, it includes a demonstration kitchen as well as a cookery school, enabling the brand to host its customers in a fully branded environment to experience the product range, with a programme of events on offer to entice consumers to the store.

Last month, Lego also opened its largest store in the world in Leicester Square, creating a brand footprint and a home to engage superfans right in the centre of London. Meanwhile, Dr Martens is set to open a flagship store in Camden, its hometown where the brand’s designs were first sold around 50 years ago. The store will feature virtual tours of the factory plus an association with sound system manufacturer Marshall to include a music space for events, tying in with the brand’s belief that the

As customers become smarter shoppers, retail spaces need to offer more than just a product showcase, but a memorable brand experience. The store environment, design and customer touchpoints are of tantamount importance in the digital age as they all contribute to an enhanced customer journey where customers are immersed in the brand’s values and products.

Garry Dods, founder and managing director at WeAreFearless, the agency behind the recent KitKat Chocolatory, agrees. "The challenge will always be to capture shoppers’ attentions in an era where people are more focused on their smartphone screens than what’s going on around them. These shoppers utilise their multi-senses as often as their smartphones when purchasing a product."

The future is about creating greater immersive and engaging personalised shopper experiences, to build lasting memories and encourage brand fandom. Recent innovations around enhanced VR experiences, such as John Lewis’s in-store experience tying in with this year’s Buster the Boxer Christmas campaign, afford consumers an instant retail gratification moment during their shopper journey.

Indeed, the rise of VR can now help customers trial a new holiday before leaving the store, or have their furniture imagined at home, while smart store technology will further boost the opportunity for a truly personalised experience. It’s an exciting future for the innovators, the creative and the tech savvy. 

Click here to access The Future of Shopper Activations report

Event's shopper report, in partnership with Westfield, brings together seven essays on the biggest trends shaping this rapidly-changing area of activation. 

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Click here to access The Future of Shopper Activations report

The future of shopper marketing lies in creating multi-sensory experiences to capture consumers' attention as the digital age steals a march on the high street. A bold statement and one that would come predictably from Event, unashamed champions of brand experiences. 

Yet shopper and experiential are perpetually good bedfellows and rightly so. Data from the IPM Shopper Conference 2016 suggests that 10% of shoppers trade up when presented with a clear call to action in aisle related to brand building activation.

Event’s first shopper report, The Future of Shopper Activations, brings together seven essays from experts in the field of shopper activations to forecast this rapidly changing area and share their thoughts and recent case studies on how they are innovating to reach their desired consumer tribes.

It takes a lot of work for retail brands to deliver a remarkable experience. It can be done, however, by making sure the environment touches each of the five senses.

A sensory experience affects a human’s senses: sound, sight, touch, smell and taste. Retailers often naturally focus on sight, primarily caring about how the space. But what they don’t realize is that the look and feel of the environment encompasses a lot more than simply how it appears.

In order to create a distinct and intentional sensory experience for guests, pay special attention to the feel of the space and appeal to their senses of sound, smell and touch. Since retail operators are often serving customers with diverse motivational drivers and backgrounds, it’s important to hit on enough factors to create a remarkable experience.

Sound: Different retailers function best under different noise conditions. You need to decide up front what you’re looking to establish in the space. Are you creating a festive, social vibe, or are you going for a quiet and calm setting? It all comes down to brand messaging. Once you’ve decided on your goal, you can use an intentional combination of specific music along with specific material selection focused on acoustic control.

Smell: Scents can be established in a variety of ways. Using the pressurization associated with your HVAC system and the hood exhaust system, you can control the smell within your retail space.

Touch: There are two ways customers can experience the sense of touch: literally and figuratively. A person can physically touch different finishes in a retail environment based on surfaces that feel natural, solid, textured, soft, hard, plush, layered or comfortable. And, the way these textures look can even affect your guests’ “sense” of touch. These literal implications set the tone for the way your store may feel to the customer.

Retail operators typically approach this sense of touch in two different ways. While some go out of their way to define a customer’s personal space, others breakdown the definition of space to make their establishment feel more communal. Additionally, different table styles can impact the way a person feels in the space. How you approach this sense of touch will be determined by the type of environment you are trying to create.

Sensory experiences exist almost everywhere in your retail environment, whether they’re deliberately planned or not. Executing an experience that touches on each sense can be a challenge, but should always be intentional. It's  best to break them down into their own experience rather than tackle them all at once. This way, you have a better idea of where you want to go and what you want to accomplish with each.