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Enhancing In-Store Experiences with Music, Scent and Visuals

man at store checkout

Experiences have always been the driving force behind retail, and yet many brands still struggle to understand and implement this transformation in today’s new economy. And now, more than ever, in-store experiences matter.

Anyone can buy a product these days through a variety of physical and digital channels, but attaching that product to an experience and making an emotional connection has been proven to solidify a brand’s identity with the customer.

Customers have become more discerning about the brands they want to connect with, and a curated experience matters both in-store and digitally. And when it comes to in-store experiences, the music, visuals and scent all heighten the shopping experience. But it takes more than just hitting a playlist, putting up a sale sign and spritzing the latest fragrance to create a polished customer experience. Aligning all of these facets together in harmony brings the brand vision and intentional experience to life.

Setting the Tone with Music and Sound
Music has become such an important part of our everyday lives that translating a brand’s audio image as an extension of the in-store experience is critical to connect with customers. Concerts are selling out in hours, and people are craving connection and experience — they want to align with brands that they feel connected to in multi-dimensional ways.

The music a brand plays in-store sets the stage for an emotional experience, in both an inspirational and aspirational way, that the brand wants a customer to feel. Music makes people want to linger longer and to experience the brand in a more authentic way and it creates a stronger connection.

The sound quality also matters more than ever. With the availability of quality audio sound at home, people expect the same high-level sound experience when they shop, dine, relax in a lobby, or really doing just about anything.

Stores need to think about their sound design so their music selections sound amazing and translate the full experience.

Brands should consider creating a custom, quality sound based on the environmental layout and floor plan. There is specific intention when selecting the flooring, fixtures, paint color, and aesthetic, and just as much detail should go into the sound design.

The right design, placement, coverage, volume levels and type of look and feel of the speaker to compliment the design of the space is paramount. To develop this level of detail, a professional sound designer can provide an experiential layout that brings the content to life.

To create something magical means bringing these elements together so the whole can be more than the sum of the parts.

Mastering the Art of Visual Connections
These days, customers are used to seeing digital content everywhere, and especially when it comes to a brand’s brick-and-mortar store, the placement, zone layout and content must be complementary to the space. Similar to developing the sound content, design, and layout for music clients, just as much attention needs to be paid to the visual elements.

Dynamic content that tells a story made to inform, inspire, or connect must consist of eye-catching displays that are placed in intentional spaces throughout the store. These displays can take the shape of large video walls, small gondola vignettes, or window screens. But the key to the appropriate design falls back to the planning here as well. 

Brands should ask themselves whether the screens are complimentary with the lighting and whether they have been placed in the right locations for an intentional line of sight. They also need a content strategy that’s on point for in-store consumption.

By leveraging the brand strategy, reviewing the digital content for various media outlets and translating that content for in-store placement, brands can create an experience that engages shoppers and points them in the right direction.

Using Scent to Tap into the Emotion 
Scent is one of the most powerful ways to connect on emotional and memorable levels with your customers, whether it is through a memorable impression, a warm welcome or a refreshing experience. It is a unique addition that can set a brand apart.

Brands need to rebuild and rethink in-store experience, using digital technology and interactive components to create “phygital experiences” that make shopping more memorable.

When using scent to design these experiences, brands need to make sure they select the right scent and zone it correctly in the space. The scent selection should be complementary to the brand story and convey the right message. Brands can select a fragrance based on genre, best sellers for the industry or by fragrance family, such as citrus, gourmand or floral. You want the scent to be logical and welcoming in the environment.

The placement and zoning of fragrance will garner the biggest impact. Is it right when you walk into the space or around a certain area of the store where you are looking for a specific uplift in sales? Also, do you want an overarching fragrance throughout, or will the scent be used with seasonality and to complement the changing store set?

By setting the tone with sound, creating visual connections, and invoking an emotional response using scent, brands can create a unique in-store experience that captures the shopper’s attention. And to create something magical means bringing these elements together so the whole can be more than the sum of the parts.

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