A sensory approach to customer experience

Published on Mon, 22/08/2011, 08:36:52

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Retail 2011 Exhibition and Conference, Australia’s foremost retail event provides insight on everything from marketing to shop fitting. With the latest retail trade figures1 showing a 0.6 decline in sales, the Retail 2011 is placing important emphasis on how retailers can best achieve success through an aesthetic approach.

Branding is one of a company’s most intangible assets; from influencing customer perceptions to driving store choice and loyalty. This is underpinned by ‘in store’ visuals, such as retail design, shop fitting and merchandising, which significantly influences customer experience and, in turn, helps to determine a retailer’s profit.

Danielle Barclay, the general manager for the incredibly successful Retail Engine and one of retails most conversant voices, notes her success to expending/using visual communication.

With retailers somewhat overlooking the importance of engaging customers through the senses of sound, touch, smell and taste, Danielle has noted that retailers should be using the physical retail environment to appeal to all fives senses to enhance a customers in-store experience, particularly at a time where many retailers are losing customers to online retailing. Consumers are increasingly becoming far more demanding in wanting a personal experience and their expectations are much higher. Danielle feels that there’s still a place for hands-on interaction within a retail space, noting that more creativity is needed for this particular engagement with people.

Being a speaker at Retail 2011, Danielle will emphasise the importance of retailers stepping out of their comfort zone and not being afraid of taking up new challenges to get that competitive edge.

Retail 2011 will feature and demonstrate actual displays so retailers can see the best examples of in-store displays across retail channels.
Along with the displays, a plethora of successful and notable guest speakers will also be present to give insight into how they have achieved their success, and give tips to retailers on how to go about this for their own businesses.

Another retail figure embracing visual communication and customer engagement is Robbie Robertson, managing director and co-founder of e2, the company behind the successful award winning OPSM eye-hub.

E2 designs two and three dimensional experiences that influence the way customers engage with a brand, stimulating them into having an emotive and practical experience within a retail space.

Robbie notes his success to discovering experimental environments and looking at them in an extremely strategic and multi-disciplined approach. Looking between the lines in environments, not from the usual perspective but from a brand and communications perspective, taking a multi-faceted approach.

He believes that at the heart of their philosophy is the belief in the physical aspects of a brand’s delivery, deeming that it is experience (the feeling) rather than information, that is the prime driver of human behavior. Through this Robbie places a huge amount of energy into how the customer actually interacts with the brand, exploring how the brand can respond better to the needs and desires of the customer.

Along with e2, Robbie has doubled foot-flow and profits for many of their big clients such as Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank due to their intelligent use of space and new ‘open teller’ systems. E2’s work is category defining, with no one else doing what they are doing.

The ‘power of the senses’ playing a significant role within a retail space and reinforces the overall branding of a retailer. Branding creates emotional attachment to products and companies; a feeling of involvement tapping into the sensory experience of a customer.

Stephen Rinaldo created Rubicon Retail to cater to businesses that want powerful brand presence and a real emphasis on creating engaged loyal customers and enjoyable and memorable shopping experiences in-store. He focuses on the process of building a brand, whether it is for retail start-ups or existing businesses.

He attributes the success of Rubicon to his no nonsense approach to marketing and brand design, and the immense involvement of visual communication such as store design and point of sale. Stephen believes customers a positive experience in store must be transcended into the branding of a product so that experience can continue to follow the customer long after they have left the retail space.

Through effective use of striking visual communication and enhancing the sensory experience, success in retail can be achieved.

For more information or to register for Retail 2011 Exhibition and Conference, go to www.retailexpoandconference.com.au


 


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