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Friday, December 19, 2014

Sea Shells-Tips on Using Sensory Perception to Improve Sales

The smell of salty sea permeates the nose while the hum and hiss of the waves is subtly blanketing the distractions from the outside world. Foam bubbles among the rocks leaving little foot prints as they sway in and out with each ocean movement. Sea shells creating a colony of travelers  As your toes feel the powder of the sand and the cool water rushes around your ankles you peer out over the horizon to see cranes diving in the water in search of today's meal. The breeze parts your hair and reminds you that life is always present. 

San Diego is a popular destination full of sensory perception. In fact, so popular that it draws 34 million visitors a year (As cited in UT Sand Diego).  They come from all of the world to play in the ocean, eat at the restaurants, attend games, soak up the weather, enjoy the night life and bask on the beaches. San Diego's attraction as a tourist destination is based upon how the environment activates the sense and creates memories that foster positive changes in mood.

The seaside paragraph writing is an example of how written language encourages feelings, thoughts, and impressions through activating our senses much like as the tourist experience of San Diego. The input of hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste help us understand the world around us and lead to positive impressions and moods. The same mechanics that help us "remember" and "feel" positive experiences can also be used to generate additional sales.

You may consider another more focused example. The sights, smells, and general impressions of homes in the real estate market impacts the likelihood of a positive sale (Blake, 2002).  The first impression, clean walls, the smell of apple pie in the oven, and decorated furniture raise the value of the whole home. The opposite is also true. Dirty walls, musty smell, and lack of furniture can make a home look like a poor habitat that leads to lower market value. 

Business that desire to create inviting atmosphere where patrons are more eager to return, or make purchases, should consider incorporating sensory perceptions within the customer experience. Hotels develop an inviting lobby while cars try and put in place the "new leather" smell. Each sensory perception has some advantage in creating long lasting impressions that can lead to higher or lower future sales. 

This doesn't mean that you should just overload people's sense. Businesses should understand which senses contribute to the experience and which are overloading the customers and making a poor impression. Light background music in a doctor's office is very different than hard rock (or electronic) unless your demographic is between 20-30. At some point, it becomes taxing for people to continue to stay in a sensory overloaded environment and they will seek to escape. 

There are companies that do this right. Some coffee shops will match the visual impressions of baked goods with the smell of coffee or cinnamon. A pub may decorate with items of interest to male sports enthusiasts while providing the smell of charbroiled meat. Fine dining restaurants may focus more on a sleek design and international music based upon current trends. 

The key to using sensory perceptions well is to understand your customer base and match it to your customers needs. If your customer base is in search of housing in a family neighborhood then providing items like apple pie, clean yards, and pointing out local parks would be of benefit. If the customer base is more trendy then modern music, community interaction, popular aromas, and a perception of exclusivity should abound. 

Sensory perception is part of what makes us who we are. Our brains, and their focus, determine which pieces of information sensory perception will understand and which it will ignore. Offering sensory perception to your customers should be based in what they are currently thinking and seeing out of the situation and enhancing the impression to its highest end. Such impressions eventually create memories and feelings that can help people "connect" with the company and buy more items in the future. 

A few tips on using sensory perception to improve sales:

1. Think of first impressions and how the senses get enacted.
2. Subtle impressions may have more power than overbearing stimulus.
3. Define your target market and design your sensory perception around their needs. 
4. Sensory stimuli should heighten the experience and raise the value of the product.
5. Use combinations to create a stronger impression. 
6. Stimuli should created positive feelings and memories.



Blake, T. (2002). Sale of the Sensory. Journal of Property Management, 67 (6).
 

 

 

 

 

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