Sensory Stores lead to Stellar Sales

An excerpt from Ted's Tips by Ted Lawrence, Poolcorp retail Specialist

I love talking to people about retail stores both in and outside of our industry. And if I have ever had the pleasure of meeting you, you will probably know I always ask lots of questions about what your favorite retails stores are. Why you like shopping there and ask lots of questions about your stores.

So, for this Ted’s Tips I want you to think about some of your favorite stores.They do not have to be specialty pool stores, but any retail store you enjoy shopping at.It can be grocery, clothing, Kitchen/Bath, really anything.I want you to ask yourself a few questions about those stores:

  1. Why do you shop there? Is it the selection? Price? Is it convenient? Is it the people?
  2. What is your first visual impression of the store? Are there digital displays?
  3. How bright or dim is the lighting in the store?
  4. What does the store sound like?
  5. What does it smell like?
  6. Does the store offer refreshments or free samples of products?
  7. Are you free to touch everything in the store?
  8. Are the people there friendly and understand your needs?
  9. Do you keep coming back to see what’s new?
  10. How long do you spend in that store per visit?

Many of the greatest retailers today understand that to win over the consumer in the specialty retail space they have to appeal to consumers on an authentic emotional level.One of the easiest ways to do it is very subtle, and lots of specialty retailers do it and you may not even realize it.

You see, with the rise of e-commerce, many retailers are underestimating the role of their bricks and mortar stores, because they approach it in the same way as any other sales channels and treat it like a transaction. And the physical retail stores should never be treated like a transaction, because it is a social event. It is proven that if the consumer is looking for a cold transactional sale that is when they flee and go to the internet and rely upon the UPS driver to deliver the product and leave it at their doorstep.No human interaction, no experience, just a cold transactional purchase with no emotional attachment.

But a physical store is so much more than a cold transactional sales channel; it is the physical meaning of you, your brand and what you as a company portray to the consumer.It is the stuff of why they shop with you and continue to keep coming back.It is the only real opportunity that your customers has to engage with all five senses (Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch) with you and your brand. This is extremely important because effectively engaging multiple senses can maximize profits and create consumer loyalty and brand trust.

Take a look at Starbucks.They are the masters of Sensory stimulation, everything in the store hits on all 5 senses.From the multiple types of lighting, eclectic interior furniture, multiple textures of interior décor, music, coffee and aroma.Everything compliments one another; add to that the smiling faces and the stay and enjoy environment and it all sort of comes together like some sort of sensory orchestra!

So are you still a skeptic?Well it’s no coincidence that grocery stores found out in the 80’s that slowing down the tempo of the music they played to 40-50 beats per minute increases spend by 32.9%.Or that Nike has found that introducing scent into their stores increased the intent of a consumer to purchase their products by more than 80%.In fact the Harvard Business review recently reported that those who haggled over the price of a car sitting in a hard chair offered 28% less than those seated in a soft comfortable chair.And lastly another interesting study looked at the effect of music on wine purchases in a UK store and found that on days the researchers played stereotypically French music, sales of French wines far outsold German wines.And days they played German music, sales of German wine far surpassed the French wine.

So you are probably saying to yourself that your “just a pool store” not Abercrombie and Fitch, Michael Kors or Whole Foods, so who cares.Well all the research has indicated that consumers expect MORE from specialty retail than they do with their mass merchant counterparts.And we ARE specialty retail!Consumers expect a better shopping experience in our specialty pool retail space.And if they do not get the experience or if the stores don’t’ satisfy their needs; well then the consumer looks for another channel purchase their products.

All I am saying is that opportunity is there for the taking, you should start by taking a good hard look at your stores. And walk into your store with the mindset of the consumer and apply the answers to the questions I asked you at the beginning of this article.You couple that with a proper store layout that encourages shopping and product Planograms that stimulates sales within each department and you have a recipe for sensory success!

And finally, take control of your sensory environment, don’t let your stores permeate chlorine and don’t delegate the music choice to an employee with an iPod. Let the customers See and Touch everything.

Start today to enhance your consumers experience and reap the financial benefits and rewards from it.
Now is the time.

Let me know if you have any questions

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