A new study by Mood Media into the consumer shopping experience has shown people will choose a traditional retailer over an online store if they receive the right type of customer experience.
The study, ‘Elevating the Customer Experience: The Impact of Sensory Marketing’, was conducted by Walnut Unlimited on behalf of Mood Media and surveyed more than 10,000 consumers across 10 countries worldwide including Australia, China, the UK, USA and France.
While many believe that shoppers are overwhelmingly moving to online, 79 per cent of Australians shopper surveyed reported they are very/fairly likely to choose a store over online if there is an enjoyable atmosphere (music, visuals, scent).
The research suggests in order to succeed, brick and mortar retailers need to ensure that they are creating an experience in-store and an enjoyable atmosphere.
“Consistent with our 2017 State of Brick & Mortar study, we found 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 brick and mortar over e-commerce,” said Scott Moore, global senior vice president of marketing and creative content for Mood Media.
“It also further highlights that brick 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. Brands should look to this report to discover how they can create the kinds of store environments that will convert shoppers into buyers and loyal repeat customers.”
Moore suggests creating the right atmosphere is a key to success with 86 per cent of Australian shoppers saying they are very/fairly likely to re-visit a store if they enjoyed the atmosphere and 70 per cent of Australians are very/fairly likely to stay longer in store which has a good vibe.
The report also discovered over three quarters (76 per cent) of respondents would recommend a store to a friend or family member if it had a great atmosphere.
“Our research has shown definitively that there is still a demand for bricks and mortar shops. Consumers want to enjoy the experience of shopping and this is something that online stores simply cannot offer. Attracting shoppers with an enticing atmosphere and then encouraging purchases with hands-on experience are key to increasing purchases.” says Steve Hughes, Managing Director of Mood Media Australia.
The ability to try different products or services is cited globally as the biggest driver in making consumers more likely to want to buy in brick and mortar.
When considering how to create a great atmosphere, the research highlighted the important role music selection plays in setting the tone.
The report found music is the number one factor to improve a shopper’s mood in-store and has an overall positive impact on 85per cent of shoppers globally. However, the quality of the music played really matters. More than half (57 per cent) of global shoppers will disengage if brands make poor music choices.
Clothing stores were clearly the leading segment when it came to shoppers enjoying music while in-store with nearly 80 per cent of respondents saying they had enjoyed music while shopping in clothes stores.
45 per cent of Australian shoppers admitted they have stayed in a store longer than they would have done because they’ve enjoyed the music.
“Music is such an important component in the shopping experience. It can lift the mood, create a calming atmosphere that drives shoppers to take their time, and even give the staff an all-important pep-up in the afternoon,” continued Moore.
“A carefully curated playlist can increase the daily takings, time in-store and repeat store visits.”
It’s not just the eyes and ears that Aussie shoppers want to be stimulated, engaging other senses can increase sales too. 63 per cent of consumers noticed that some stores have a pleasant and inviting smell. With competition higher than ever between stores, using additional atmospheric techniques such as scent could mean the difference between a customer coming into store or walking past.
“If the high street is to continue to entice shoppers away from online, it must always put the customer first and consider what it is offering the consumer, not just the products it is selling, Moore says.
“Consumers aren’t just buying a product when in-store; they’re buying an experience and they are demanding it with their feet. For many, shopping is a form of entertainment and bricks and mortar stores have a real advantage. Done right, shops can see new customers, higher numbers of repeat visits, longer in-store dwell times and more recommendations,”.