In-store marketing techniques have evolved beyond the brightly colored signs and piped-in music to a set of rapidly changing technological tools designed to encourage you to spend.
You can encourage you to use your smartphone in the shop by offering free wifi, QR codes, or sharing ideas via social media. Retailers do not want you to look at your phone screen instead of looking at their products.
Our research shows that being distracted by consumers can actually be profitable. Customers who use their phones in stores spend 40% more than those that don’t.
Phone use has a significant impact on the mental state of consumers, causing them to be distracted and not aware of their immediate environment. This is why driving while using a mobile phone is dangerous.
Three times as many shoppers were found to return to an area of the store that they had previously visited and left. They were able to start their shopping over after engaging with their screens, which is similar to hitting the “refresh button” on their experience.
It’s as if the retailer just opened their doors every time you put your phone away after using it.
The shops will also display their products in action (often multiples at once) on their digital screens. In a study, we found that shoppers are more likely to purchase if they see a short video of the product being used than if it is a static image. It could be a video of a recipe made with a variety of groceries or furniture in a home environment.
It seems that seeing products being used adds dimension to the shopping experience. They are more likely to purchase multiple items that match the product shown on screen. For example, a new pan and a set of new utensils or a couch with cushions and a side table.
Studies show that giving out free samples of delicious grocery products can boost sales by up to 3,500%. The increased sales come at a cost, as much of it is eaten up by the staffing costs.
Why not digitalize personal sales? In our research, we conducted an experiment that used a large screen vertically showing a record of a person standing in front of free samples. Results showed that up to 80% of sales increased even without the person.
The idea can be further developed using a “mixed-reality” display or hologram, where a digital image is projected onto the physical world. In our study, we found that consumers were more likely to relate to a product when it was launched before them.
We fitted projectors on the ceiling of the aisles at the ends of the supermarket to provide customers with a laser show-style film that included sounds and smells. The film could be of someone making pasta, with sounds of chopping, frying, and aromas of tomato sauce cooking.
Sales of the displayed products increased by 60% just from the visual stimulation. This was even raised by adding sounds and smells.
All these digital devices are part of what we call “experiential retailing” in a physical shop. It is important to let the customer see the product in action rather than on a shelf. This will make shopping more enjoyable.
When you shop, you can expect to see more digital elements in the store. These will inspire, assist, and encourage you to make more purchases.
Don’t forget the effects of piped music. According to, music can increase a store’s sales by 3% during the Christmas season. It is even more noticeable if the song is uplifting. If you are happy after listening to a store’s playlist, then you will spend more time singing along.