Manipulate Shoppers Behavior with Sight, Sound and Smell

Manipulate Shoppers Behavior with Sight, Sound and Smell

Manipulate Shoppers' Behavior with Sight, Sound and Smell


When it comes to creating a high-converting retail store or brick-and-mortar business, there’s a lot that small businesses can learn from the big-name retail brands. Not only is every aspect of the consumer experience mapped out and created with a great deal of thought and attention, much of it is rigorously researched, tested, and optimized.

Understandably, as a small, local  business you can’t just cough up the money to hire a multi-disciplinary team of sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and other consultants to help you create an unforgettable in-store branded experience that maximizes sales. But, that’s not to say that you can’t take a few pages from their book and put their research to work in your own retail store.

In this post, we’ll be covering the science behind a multi-sensory point-of-view with one goal in mind: to get consumers to buy products. By the end of it, you’ll have a good idea of how you can take what you learned about sight, smell, and sound and put it use for your own brand.

Let’s get started.


The Science Behind “Scent Marketing”

As consumers, we hardly think twice about what a business smells like or the way it makes us feel, think or do. Typically, it’s intentionally so subtle that it triggers a reaction without being overbearing.

So, what do we know about the science of smell to influence behaviour, in one study conducted by consumer psychologist and academic Eric Spangenberg, him and his colleagues found that in a local clothing store, when “feminine scents” like vanilla were used, sales of women’s clothes doubled.


The Science Behind “In-Store Music”

People often take the music they hear in stores for granted. Many do not realize that in-store background music can influence buying decisions.

However, music can make a big difference in customer behavior. Therefore, it is important for small retailers and other small businesses that have customers regularly visiting their premises to understand the psychology behind in-store music and how to best use it.

Music can impact our psychology in four main ways. Cognitively, music can impact how engaged or removed people will be from the world around them. Emotionally, it draws out emotions such as happiness or sadness. And socially, it can encourage listeners to consider their societal roles and self-expression. Music can also impact people’s arousal, meaning how excited and motivated the listener is.

To get shoppers to stay, shop and buy at your store, you will need to play music that employs three of these four purposes. You want cognitive music that makes them feel engaged with your products, arousing music to get them excited about buying and emotional music that makes them feel happy with their purchase.

What you sell and who you sell it to will impact what the best musical choices for your establishment are. The key takeaway is to embrace the subliminal power that music has on influencing buying behavior.


The Science Behind “In-Store Video”

Video marketing has been pegged as one of the most engaging ways to create an effective customer experience, especially when more consumers state they like watching videos. Videos that featurea product or service and acknowledging the benefits, instantly improving the sense of customer experience for users that see those they admire enjoying it.  Watching them while they are in a store as part of an overall enhancement to their customer experience.

Customers are semi-captive  in a checkout line and would appreciate shopping-related content, but in order to truly add value to the shopping experience, it is essential to manage an in-store video solution like any other broadcast medium. Content timing needs to be thoughtfully planned on a fact-based understanding of consumers’ behavior at the point of interception.”

Putting these best practices to work for your in-store video marketing program can then increase the potential for the positive customer experiences your retail location seeks to differentiate your brand from the rest of the marketplace.


Final Thoughts

So now that you’re armed with all this information, you may be thinking, how do I make use of all this scientific research?

To help you with this question, here’s a list of key questions to ask yourself:

  • What does your store currently smell like? Is there a particular “branded scent” you want to go for? If so, what emotions and memories do you want to evoke?
  • Does your product or marketing imagery portray an ideal your target customers want to aspire to? If not, how can you change them to reflect your brand’s ideals?
  • What kind of music do you currently play in store? Are you targeting a more youthful or mature customer segment and how does that reflect in your playlist?

Hopefully, by answering those questions, you’ll have enough insights to get started. If you’re still unsure of how to make the most of in-store marketing through the use of sight, sound and smell, then contact Original On Hold and we can help you get started.


Share this post