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Tap into the Five Senses to Appeal to Shoppers In-store

Guest Blog By Larry Berg

Making the List Versus Making the Basket

As shoppers enter the grocery store – list in hand – it is the moment of truth. What will end up in their basket? Will they complete their shopping list or decide on other items?  What will be the key influencer driving their purchase decisions? Consider this:

  • 81 percent of list makers do not record a specific brand on their shopping list
  • 9 out of 10 consumers purchase items not on their list (61 percent of those consumers purchase an additional one to three items)

While making “the list” and driving consumers to the store is half the battle, there is great potential for marketers to influence consumers in the store and after they’ve already made their “lists.” In-store advertising has long been the solution here, but marketers must remember the consumer at the shelf, as there is a bigger opportunity to stand out.

Today, standing out is not only about grabbing the shoppers’ attention with an end-cap display –traditional in-store high visibility placement, but also with in-store placement in a variety of areas where the eye meets the product.  Marketers should also add visual appeal to traditional in-store signage, such as incorporating the product into the sign. One consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturer introduced a new laundry pod on a spindle to create engagement in a fun way. Another CPG manufacturer outlined the product on an oversized sign and punched it out to make it more realistic and enticing.

To further engage the consumer who is already in the purchase mode, we must appeal to not only their sense of sight, but also what they hear, smell, feel and taste.  To increase brand engagement, marketers need to tap into the five senses for in-store purchases.

Exciting the Senses

While innovation of in-store space is a common topic, many don’t concentrate on the simple premise of the five senses.  The five senses play a major role in a consumer’s purchase decision. Marketers looking  to differentiate their brands in a unique and even unpredictable way can reach taste buds with flavor strips, ears with a motion-sensor sound sign, noses with scented leaflets or tear pads, hands to feel the softness of a new paper product or diaper and appeal to consumers’ eyes with beyond eye-level displays. For example, marketers can help consumers navigate the aisle by leading them directly to the brand with a large, eye-catching floor graphic.

Another visual way to engage the consumer is utilizing a 180-degree angled sign that uses motion-sensor LED lights (detecting motion from 10 feet away) to draw them in. One solution like this one takes in-store signage to another level as it adds extra emphasis to client creative and helps draw more eyes to the brand, let alone the category, boosting sales up to 73 percent.

Another interactive solution is to provide the consumer with a personal shopping assistant, which appeals to sight and sound in an interactive way. For example, through a simple scan of a QR Code, an avatar appears to answer questions a consumer may have on an advertised brand.  The consumer can then use text or voice to ask their question and get an answer right back – at the shelf.  This is a creative way to make the consumer experience human interaction.

In-store promotions and coupons provide immediate consumer response, building  brand equity to create greater consumer awareness and historically elevating response rates to as high as 73 percent. Retailers and brands looking to not only engage but to also activate shoppers in-store have a multitude of ways to reach them not only by what they see, but what they hear, smell, touch and taste. Surprise them. Excite them.  And appeal to them using the senses.

(In his VP role, Larry Berg leads in-store innovation at Valassis. During his 26-year career, Berg has gained a reputation for creating thought-provoking ideas. He has been active in many prominent industry associations including the Path to Purchase Institute and is a retired board member on the Alliance for Audited Media. )

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