When marketers speak about customer experience, they’re typically referencing a streamlined journey through a website; we tend to forget that sales don’t only happen online, but the question is how can a customer experience be applied to a brick and mortar store? It’s not as tricky as you may think, but it does need to be implemented strategically. So, for this article, let’s use a physical retail chain store.


How do businesses get customers to visit their store?

We know that the eCommerce space has grown exponentially over the last decade. People find it far more convenient to browse retail stores’ websites when it suits them best. The days of having to sacrifice hours on the weekend to buy a few items of clothing may have lessened, but that doesn’t mean the concept of a physical store is dead. It does have advantages over online shopping, e.g.

  • At a store, you can try on the clothes before purchasing to make sure they fit.
  • Talk to sales staff face-to-face if you have any queries.
  • Stores are more accessible to the public because the majority of South Africans don’t have access to the internet.

So, the benefits exist, but getting the same amount of foot traffic through the door is becoming increasingly difficult. The answer: offer a customer journey that cannot be experienced online.


Tap into the customers’ senses


There’s one sense that the digital world can’t tap into, and that’s smell. Did you know that smell is one of the best invigorators of memory? Think about your grandmother’s perfume or grandfather’s cologne; what’s rushing through your head right now? Most likely loving, fun-filled memories of times spent with them, right? A store with a distinctive atmosphere and smell could hypothetically hit the same areas of the brain and evoke a memory of a pleasant shopping experience.


So, why not liven up your retail space by ac(scent)uating it with welcoming fragrances dispersed by scent diffusers. Scent marketing creates an environment that has an emphasis on creating positive emotions. You can incorporate it in your holistic marketing strategy to provide an optimal shopping experience that will bring the consumer back again…and again.


We have all seen the evolution of music-on-demand unveil before our eyes. However, it’s primarily being marketed to individuals, not retail stores. Obviously, you do have the choice of running a playlist off YouTube, but unless you subscribe to the premium version, ads will break the atmosphere you’re trying to create. So, yes, digital can give us music, but how it’s applied to suit the essence of a brand within a physical retail store is vital.

The answer to this problem: full access to custom music solutions.

The ability to access the world’s most extensive catalogue of licensed music to complement your scent marketing solutions is a sure-fire customer influx driver. Custom music solutions give you the opportunity to select songs and genres that will resonate with potential customers. For example, if your store specialises in a particular clothing style, you can play the music that amplifies the culture associated with that style. You can essentially be your own DJ!


The benefits of creating a custom soundtrack

Customise your soundtrack by selecting your sounds, genres, and energy levels quickly.

  • It lets you get creative about the music you play in a time-efficient way.
  • It gives you a more personalised soundtrack.
  • It lets you create different energy levels for your soundtracks to daypart your music.
  • It allows you to edit and tweak soundtracks as you go.

Set up your store’s place accordingly

A fantastic customer experience expands further than the auditory and sensory elements. You also need to ensure that all your products are displayed correctly, so they take prominence.

According to Science Direct, “everything from a store’s condition to the information rate to the layout plays a role in customer satisfaction. However, the atmosphere in your retail store should perform on a more subconscious level, allowing your products to take centre stage without disrupting the customer’s experience. Customers in the pleasant store spontaneously spent more money on articles they simply liked. This effect was only due to customers’ mood.”

Furthermore, ensure that all employees are correctly trained to provide the customer with all the information they need. Please take a look at our article about How to hire ideal employees. It all starts with your store’s online visibility. Here’s a short excerpt from the article.

“If job seekers can’t find your business online, it’s a massive red flag. Brand reputation is a significant attribute for any potential employee. So, before you even think about hiring someone, ensure that your website is fully functional and optimised to be search engine friendly. If you’re having trouble in these departments, consult a marketing firm that specialises in search engine optimisation (SEO) as well as website development.”

So, if you want to create a customer experience that consumers can relate to and remember, tap into their auditory and sensory senses; create an atmosphere that cannot be copied.

Finally, throw in a little bit of digital ‘prep work’ to get your ideal employees who can enhance the atmosphere, and you’ll find the right combination to offer a custom customer experience that will prove physical stores still have the potential to thrive.