Sensory Marketing: How Scent, Light and Music enhance Retail

In the future, consumers would like to shop more in brick-and-mortar stores again. This is proven by the current study "What Matters to Today's Consumer" by the Capgemini Research Institute. By using different sensory impressions, retailers can offer their customers an in-store shopping experience that online shopping cannot match. An attractive branch design – in the form of visual and sensory stimuli – presents the products optimally, arouses the interest of consumers and creates buying impulses. This gives customers the opportunity to do their shopping in an attractive atmosphere, while retailers benefit from sales-promoting effects. However, this only works if the concept is coherent and well thought out. Regardless of whether the planned use of scents, light or music – retailers should first define who they are addressing, how they want to present themselves and stand out from the competition. You must not lose sight of your target group and the business concept of the brand. 


Scents as a Marketing Tool

Scents have a direct influence on emotions, which influence evaluation and, in some cases, behavior. Associations or memories are often triggered - images are created in the minds of consumers. When used in a targeted manner, smells can sustainably support the retailer's overall positioning. Especially when it comes to experiencing the product and brand, fragrances provide added value that does not exist online. They go through the nose to the brain, which stimulates the nervous system and releases hormones. Depending on the defined communication goals, the retailer can, for example, deliberately rely on attractiveness-enhancing or euphoric smells. Others have a calming effect or increase consumer awareness.   

If scents are used optimally, they can positively influence purchasing behavior. Finally, strategic, unobtrusive room scenting leads to a feeling of security, which extends the time spent in the store and thus increases the probability of purchase and sales. In order for scent marketing to achieve the desired result, brand attributes and characteristics should be transferred to scents and used with care against the background of target group-specific preferences. The visual context in which customers take in the scents is still highly relevant. The visual has a decisive influence on what the consumer consciously smells.



Light as a well thought-out strategic concept

The lighting can also be used profitably in retail and offers a variety of opportunities for staging the shop and its products. A corresponding concept includes the planning of the amount of light, the contrast and the quality, as well as the adaptation to the target group and the different product categories. At best, the light creates a desired mood, helps the customer to find their way around the store and tempts them to make a purchase.

Through the use of light, individual areas of the branch can be highlighted and accents can be set. If products are illuminated more brightly than just the basic lighting, consumers pay more attention to them. The signal effect is even stronger with moving elements or color changes. The so-called color climate is also crucial to support the brand image. This should be based on the one hand on the corporate identity and on the other hand on the size of the store and the product range.

Science confirms that investing in detailed lighting concept planning and implementation as well as the use of modern technologies is worthwhile: An increased blue component in the light is not only supposed to suppress the production of the tiredness and sleep hormone melatonin, but also has a stimulating effect on people to have. In turn, this means that a missing share makes store visitors tired and thus reduces their attention span. For this reason, retailers who want to extend the time customers spend in the store should consciously use the blue component in the light.

Music as a medium of communication

Another factor that increases the mood of shoppers is music in the store – as long as the retailer finds the right tone. It is less about meeting the taste of each individual customer. It is much more important to support the business concept with musical accompaniment and to characterize the company style.

Music has a significant impact on the atmosphere. Complete silence has a depressing effect, while excessively loud sound exposure leads to a feeling of being disturbed and the store leaving the store prematurely. Subtle background music, on the other hand, makes shopping pleasant - the oppressive silence is broken, but the customer is not distracted from the actual information, products or conversations. Sensory marketing uses music to influence the mood and thus the willingness of consumers to buy. If there is a relaxed atmosphere in the store, which also suits the brand, then the customer is more willing to buy and more accommodating with regard to waiting times. The result: happier customers, more purchases, higher sales.


Feel-good atmosphere when shopping

Customers who feel good automatically stay in the store longer, which in turn increases the likelihood of a purchase. The interplay of suitable scents, an optimal lighting concept and a pleasant musical accompaniment creates a feel-good atmosphere that suits the brand, the retailer or the product range. The important thing is that it is the right mix that ultimately increases the desire to buy and thus boosts sales.


ROQQIO editorial staff

ROQQIO editorial staff

This article was created by the ROQQIO editorial team. PR and marketing experts write here on topics related to trends, technologies and developments in retail and retail marketing.

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