• Retail is more focused on Digit...

    Albert Boswijk

    4 years and 4 months

    Retail is more focused on Digital than the physical Experience by Mark van

    How digital technology can activate our senses and influence our shopping behaviour in the physical experience economy

    When we shop online as customers we know that the advertisements are personalised by our browsing history, online stores and platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon use this all the time, so much that we have taken it for granted that we are persuaded to purchase by digital technology. Digital technology can also be applied to activate our senses and impact our behaviour. Videos on YouTube like the dancing traffic lights in Lisbon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB_0vRnkeOk) and the piano stairs in Stockholm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw) show on a fun note how we can use light and sound to draw people’s attention and create engagement in the public space. There is a rich body of scientific knowledge about how how lighting influences shopping behaviour, we know that people are attracted by light (Taylor & Sucov, 1974) and that products that are highlighted in a store get more attention than those that are not (Areni & Kim, 1994; Summers & Hebert, 2001). Similarly for sound the tempo of music played in a supermarket has impact on dwell time and sales volume (Milliman 1982 & 1986).

    More recently, Philips Lighting (now Signify) has delivered digital in-store experiences that drove attention, engagement and conversion. One example for Schiphol Airport Retail was an interactive multi-sensorial humidor (area where cigars are kept under high humidity) that used narrow beam spot lights, a soundscape of a Cuban bar and projection of imagery of how tobacco is grown and harvested to seduce airport visitors (https://muziekwerkt.nl/klanten-praten-met-hun-voeten/) . The result was an increase of stopping power by 28% (number of people who stopped in front of the humidor), 200% increase in dwell time and 150% increase in conversion. The entire technical solution had a payback time of less than a year. German supermarket Globus uses a flexible lighting control system to create more impact. Compared to a uniform lighting scenario, spotlighting increased traffic to a promotional area in a store by 7%. Further adding soft pastel up-lights made these promotional areas also more attractive from a distance and led to a further increase of 8% (15% in total) (http://www.lighting.philips.com/main/cases/cases/food-and-large-retailers/globus). In the town of Veghel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHJUlvEW2Ts ) the use of digital lighting and sound in combination with green in the public space has led to an improvement in the way people perceive the atmosphere in the city center (number of visitors who rate the city center atmosphere poor has dropped to 32.1% in 2016, compared to 51.4% in 2015 according to a long-term survey amongst 600+ visitors).

    Many more studies, proofpoints exist of how activating the senses can lead to more traffic, engagement and conversion in city centers and physical stores, yet what we see is that retailers and city centers spend most of their attention, time and budget in digital technology to enrich their online presence. Technically, it is possible to deliver digital immersive, multi-sensorial experiences in the physical space and the common view among consultants and retailers is that we need omni-channel customer experiences that bring the best of online and offline together, yet the transformation of physical stores and city centers to become true destinations is happening slowly. What are the underlying reasons in your view? Is it lack of awareness that by activating the senses we can attract more people into stores and city centers and seduce them to stay longer? Is it more collaboration between stakeholders that is needed? Is it just a matter of time? Let us know what you think by commenting to this post.

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