21 March 2019
Continuing our Future of Retail series, we explore the transformative qualities of sensory retail and outline why it’s more important than ever to connect with consumers on an emotional level.
The importance of sensory stimulation cannot be underestimated in the consumer purchasing journey. From Don Norman to Dunne & Raby, designers and psychologists have long studied how stimulating the senses can elicit strong emotional responses.
Our predominantly digital existence sees consumers increasingly crave and seek out sensory experiences that spark joy, surprise and delight.
Physical Retail Needs to Get More Physical
Brands who have pivoted away from traditional store formats are finding success in creating environments that:
Dyson ‘Demo Store’
Dyson, one of the world’s leading home appliance manufacturers, identified this opportunity early, launching their first ‘Demo Store’ on London’s Oxford Street in 2016. In the two-floor retail space Dyson display their product portfolio, actively encouraging customers to interact with them. As a visitor you can pick from sixty-four types of dust or debris, pour it onto four different floor types and clean up the mess using a Dyson vacuum of your choice. Experiencing products first hand, visitors are bought into the benefits and features through:
The company now offers a salon experience where customers can get hands-on and test Dyson’s new range of haircare products. Finding success in the store’s format the company has since continued to open new locations across the globe from Toronto to Dubai.
The White Company
Lifestyle brand The White Company collaborated with Household in 2017 to develop their store format, ‘The Sleep Studio’. The goal of ‘The Sleep Studio’ is to bring a sensory service experience to customers revolving around ‘touch’. Navigating through their ‘7 Steps to a Perfect Night’s Sleep’ process consumers can test and purchase beds, headboards, mattresses, toppers, duvets, linen and pillows.
Oversized swatch books invite shoppers to take four tests: Touch, Rest, Comfort and Wrap. For ‘The Wrap’ test customers wrap themselves in duvets to check the size, weight, feel and ‘lovability’ factor. This simple interaction is a powerful emotive driver that puts the user in the mindset of how they will feel at home using the product.
Beyond the Basics
Brands that can identify ways to break from the mould and offer shoppers an immersive sensory experience will enjoy success in the years to come. Expect to see sensory retail become more sophisticated as innovators seek to deliver unique experiences that go above and beyond to delight customers.
In our next post, we’ll share the retailers who are successfully encouraging consumers to invest more of their time instore. Sign up to our monthly Trend Updates to read the full blog series and stay in the know on the latest emerging trends.
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