5 Ways to Appeal to All 5 Senses

by : 

Megy Karydes

September 14, 2015
Marketing Mondays - 5 Ways to Appeal to All 5 Senses

As independent gift and home retailers and wholesalers, we’re accustomed to focusing on our products and displays as much as the customer experience we offer—or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. More often than not, searching for those perfect products and displaying them takes up more of our time than making the customer experience one they won’t soon forget.

Here are five quick ways to make sure you’re appealing to each of their five senses—all of which remind your customers that you appreciate them.

Sight: This is where your exterior is just as important as your interior. Drive or walk past your front door from each direction and what do you see? This is what your customers see, and if it’s not inviting and welcoming, figure out what’s missing and fix it. It could be that your awning needs an update or your door needs a new paint job. Whatever it is, respect the fact that if you look tired and run down on the outside, chances are new customers will think that’s what they’ll find inside, too.

While most people won’t be coming through your back entrance, this is another area that needs to look nice. It’s not only an entrance for you and your employees—people use alleys and back areas to get from point A to point B, too. Why not spend some time and energy making it look nice for everyone, even if it’s just adding a pretty flower pot or a fresh coat of paint?

Sound: From the music playing inside to your telephone ringtone, sound matters. Take a moment to consider your playlist and update it, especially now with the seasons changing. Does your telephone allow you to change the ringtone? If so, change it to something memorable and uniquely you.

Smell: If you sell items that are fragrant, whether its candles, perfumes, or food, make sure to have testers available for those who want to smell them. Many people have allergies that can be aggravated by scents and it’s important to be considerate of all of your customers. On the other hand, if you have the ability to brew coffee or tea and it makes your space smell nicer, it’s a great opportunity to offer customers a sample of something you sell or just to make a connection.

Taste: Piggybacking off the Smell category, I always love it when a store owner or employee offers me tea or coffee. Bonus points if it’s in a pottery mug (which some shops do offer!). I may not always accept it, but it’s nice to have the option on cold days. And if you sell the pottery, it’s a nice way to get the product in a customer’s hands. I may or may not have purchased said pottery and tea that was given to me at that particular shop.

Touch: We all know that getting customers to try things on or touch items is an important part of the selling experience. They’re more likely to consider buying an item if they can see it as part of their lives, whether it’s a sweater or a necklace. But what about touching your clients and showing your appreciation with a simple gesture? Rather than just give your customer a shopping bag over the counter and saying thank you? Why not go around the counter to be closer to them, look them in the eye, and genuinely thank them for shopping with you today as you hand them their purchase? You don’t need to shake their hand, although that’s fine, too, but that personal contact, which is so rare these days, makes such a human connection.

I know some store owners who hug their regular customers, and that’s great if you have that kind of relationship with your customers. Point being that human touch is often overlooked but can be terribly important in the retail experience.

Keeping the five senses in mind as you review your gift and home retail or wholesale space may not be something you can tangibly correlate to increased sales, but they’re no less important in creating a customer experience that does contribute to sales. Take a few minutes each day this week to focus on how to enhance each one and notice the difference it makes to your customers.


Megy Karydes is principal of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm and freelance writer who often covers retail for various magazines. She likes her calendars, whether digital or on paper, and has her editorial calendar pinned to her board in her office to remind her what day it is! Find her on Twitter at @megy.