piątek, 17 października 2014

Appealing to senses: hearing, touch and taste | Marketing tricks that make us buy (Part III)

Photo: seafoodinternationaldigital.com

Companies want their customers to stay in the store as long as possible, so it’s very important to make us feel comfortable while shopping. The appropriate atmosphere in the store makes us more willing to spend money, and appealing to all of our senses not only makes us (customers) attached to the company, but also keeps us coming back to their stores again and again.

The senses of sight and smell are the most important for marketers, but in sensory marketing ads appeal also to 3 other senses: hearing, touch and taste... and today I’ll tell you a little bit more about them as well.

Can you hear that song?

Photo: soundreef.com

Did you know that the inconspicuous music that accompanies you while shopping and which you often don’t even notice also affects how much you spend while shopping? You probably think that it is there to make shopping a pleasant experience… and although it’s the truth, unfortunately there’s a hidden agenda behind this.

You won’t hear the same kind of music in every store because marketers try to keep it carefully matched to a specific location (that depends on the type of products the store sells) and target group: in a young fashion store music is dynamic and stimulating, in jewelry store subtle and toned down (e.g. classical music which encourages more expensive purchases), and in beauty stores relaxing and calming. Music also has to be matched to how fast stores want us to shop, that is either to relax their customers or to increase traffic and customer flow in store. With fast, loud music customers shop faster, but it doesn’t affect sales – it often happens during the peak traffic. When there’s slow music in the store it makes customers shop slower and spend more. Of course marketers remember to keep the music adjusted to our mood - in the summertime we can expect that we’ll hear from the speakers energetic and refreshing music, while during the winter they’ll play Christmas carols and romantic melodies which always accompany us while buying gifts. Personally I’m always super excited when it comes to buying Christmas gifts and I love this time of year, so I can’t judge whether music helps me with making better shopping decisions or makes me get carried away with my emotions… ;)

Let me touch this!

Photo: thebudgetfashionista.com
The sense of touch is very often underestimated and ignored by marketers – and it’s a huge mistake! Walking along the shelves and hangers we often slow down just to touch or pick up specific items. We, especially the women, like to have the opportunity to touch the product, to really make sure whether we would be happy with it or not. And the more we are sure about the product, the greater likelihood that we’ll decide to purchase it. For example, would you buy a sweater if you didn’t know which material it's made of and if it’s pleasant to the skin? Or would you buy shoes without first trying them on? Probably not. Of course we can buy things online, but we are not 100% sure if we really get what we expected (however exceptions always happen and some people like this moment of surprise).
It’s very important to enable customers not only to look at particular products, but also to let them familiarize with it through free touch, because touching items has a real impact on increasing the chance of a purchase and thus increasing sales at the end. All products should be in easy reach and the great example of this is the check-out lane with all the sweets or other small items that we can easily throw into our basket at the last minute (“Because it’s only one pound!”)… but this is the topic for another post in this series, it'll be discussed on my blog in the near future.

Drugstores, perfumeries and stands with cosmetics definitely deserve our praise, because first they allow their customers to try the products they sell. They often add samples and miniature products to our purchases just to encourage us to test them, but of course there’s a marketing hook as well. We are pleased with the generosity of the seller because we get something for free, but in fact this free gift is to convince us that this is just another product that we really need… and this way companies attract customers to come back later. And when we come back to that store with hope (and sometimes even with certainty) that we’ll get a sample of a new product with our purchase, just like the previous time, we are so surprised and disappointed when we don’t get anything additional. Is it unfair? No, it’s just marketing!

It’s so tasty!

Photo: thesurveyguide com

And speaking of testing products, we should now focus on the sense of taste. One form of marketing sampling is tasting, which gives us an opportunity to try food products for the first time. And such a form of promotional campaign can increase sale very easily. Companies work on the assumption that you are more willing to buy a product when you first taste it – hardly anyone likes to buy blind. And although tasting involves primarily the sense of taste, it also affects the sense of sight, touch and smell, so as a result it intensifies customers’ experience and their evaluation of the products. In supermarkets we often see food and drink tasting, such as cheese, sweets, coffee or beverages, where attractive hostesses encourage us to taste new product… and we reach for it willingly („It’s free, so I’m taking it!”). Of course very often such tastings are combined with an attractive price and promotion for those products… so we put into our basket a box of cookies, which we even didn’t have on our shopping list.

Sampling actions are also carried out in the public space. For instance, Coca-Cola distributes their products during various marketing campaigns using vending machines which activate people to perform different actions, such as hugging thevending machine. And they do that well, because they engage consumers with their brand through unique experiences, by focusing not only on their senses, but also on their emotions and interactions with them as well.

Marketing use of the customers’ senses is present in everyday life, but what’s the most important companies should constantly exceed customers’ expectations and generate new needs, if they want to outperform their competitors.

Although there's still 2 months to Christmas, stores already started introducing Christmas offer with all those gifts, promotional prices and decorations – just to make the pre-Christmas shopping fever hunt us down earlier… So be careful when you are shopping and you hear the „Last Christmas” song coming out from the speakers, feel the smell of gingerbread in the air and the Santa Claus starts to smile at you from the display…

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