Customers want 'multi-sensory' shopping experience

Shops that combine music, visuals and scent to create a 'multi-sensory' retail experience are more likely to lure customers back in store, according to 90 per cent of consumers interviewed for a global survey.

A study of 10,000 shoppers in 10 countries for customer experience company Mood Media also found that 78 per cent of consumers cited “an enjoyable in-store atmosphere” as a key factor in the decision to visit a physical store over online shopping.

The survey, carried out by market research company Walnut Unlimited, interviewed shoppers from Australia, Benelux, China, France, Germany Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

UK shoppers highlighted queuing as the most significant point of friction when it came to shopping in store, with 62 per cent saying they had either avoided or left a store because of long queues, ranking third on this issue among shoppers globally.

Meanwhile 79 per cent of Brits said they were more likely to choose the store over e-commerce if the atmosphere was “enjoyable. Store layout came top of the rankings for 37 per cent of UK shoppers – the highest result globally.

Digital technology also featured prominently on the wish list for UK shoppers, as 44 per cent said they noticed screens displaying information or interactive content in store.

Almost half (49 per cent) of those surveyed said they would most like to see in-store special offers on digital screens, specifically in clothing stores, thereby creating omnichannel shopping experience.

On a global basis, music was found to be the number one factor in improving a shopper’s mood in-store, with 85 per cent saying it had a positive impact on their mood- as long as the right tunes are playing.

More than half (57 per cent of shoppers) said they would disengage if brands made poor music choices.

So-called Generation Z - shoppers aged 18-24- and Millennials - aged 25-35 - were most likely to be swayed by the different aspects of a multi-sensory retail experience.

Almost three quarters of those asked (74 per cent) said they had enjoyed good music in store, while younger shoppers are also most likely to share their in-store experience on social media- with 45 per cent of Gen Z and 41 per cent of Millennials saying they had previously shared their experience via this medium.

Nearly a quarter (21 per cent) of UK shoppers surveyed said they have shared an in-store experience on social media recently, in comparison to 56 percent of Chinese shoppers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ability to touch, feel and try clothes, products or services was the key deciding factor for the majority of shoppers globally (56 per cent) in leading them to buy in-store.

In the same vein, half of global consumers asked said that a business which uses in-store scent to its advantage would be likely to lift their mood and more than half (58 per cent) of consumers said that engaging video content could improve their shopping experience.

Scott Moore, global senior vice president of marketing and creative content for Mood Media, said that the study suggests that the physical store remains important to the majority of people around the world, with the experiential element playing a large role in consumers’ decision to choose bricks and mortar over e-commerce.

“It also further highlights that bricks and mortar businesses have to give consumers a reason to get off the sofa and into the store, and part of that reason lies in providing them an elevated sensorial experience,” he added.

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