Leverage the Five Senses to Impact Consumer Behavior
As members of the human race, we all experience the world largely through our senses. And, by the way, so does the animal kingdom.
However, unlike animals, we also boast well-developed intellectual skills that can modify what we receive through our senses – which keep us from reacting to these senses in a strictly instinctual or “programmed” manner.
With that said, it’s critical for laundry owners to understand that the impact of your customers’ senses upon their behavior determines the manner in which they will react to your laundromat, your attendants, and your various products and services.
The five generally accepted human senses are sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. All of these impact customer behavior and play a large role in the processing of emotion. And it’s emotion that determines customer intellectual processing, including buying decisions.
Think about the last time you walked into a retail store. Can you recall your emotions and feelings at the time? Chances are that one of them was hope. But how long did that feeling last? Probably not very long because, in general, we have high expectations and a low stress threshold when we’re on a purchasing mission.
We want our consumer needs (including getting our laundry washed) met as seamlessly as possible, while at the same time, we want to enjoy our purchasing experience.
Most consumers today are in search of an immersive experience. Along with getting their laundry clean, customers expect an enjoyable, trouble-free experience that positively stirs their emotions by immersing their senses, which allows them to transform a tedious task into a pleasurable journey from an emotional standpoint.
Recent psychological research in the area of neuroscience has demonstrated that decision-making isn’t logical – it’s emotional. In other words, it’s difficult to make decisions if we lose the ability to feel emotion. And our emotions are formed by virtue of our senses.
Emotions impact what we do, want and buy. The “wheel of emotions” classification system suggests that there are eight primary emotional dimensions:
- Happiness vs. Sadness
- Anger vs. Fear
- Trust vs. Disgust
- Surprise vs. Anticipation
Our emotions and our senses are tightly intertwined and, in turn, play an integral role in our emotional processing. What we see, hear, smell, taste and touch can influence how we feel about our surroundings.
For example, there are good reasons why various retail establishments often include coffee shops within their stores to drive traffic. It’s not a random action. After all, how do you feel when you smell freshly brewed coffee? Or, for that matter, hear your favorite song?
Certain smells or sounds can make people more relaxed or energized, while bad odors and sounds can make consumers feel uncomfortable or even stressed. Additionally, there’s evidence to suggest a close relationship between taste and mood.
Furthermore, moods are stimulated or relaxed based on sensations on the skin. Rough texture is often positively valued by men, while smoothness is sought by women. Also, colors such as red are arousing, while shades of blue are relaxing.
Mood and emotion can affect the sensory discriminatory aspects of taste as well, which is why some people stop eating following a romantic breakup or when they are grieving. Simply, food doesn’t taste as good as in happier times.
All in all, consumers often make decisions quickly and subconsciously. As a result, there are opportunities to influence customer perception through the five sensory influencers at each stage of the decision-making process. Be sure to put your customers in a good mood when they enter your laundromat, if you want to drive sales.
There is always an opportunity to create a wonderful customer experience through the interplay of the senses and by forming an emotional attachment. Customers often patronize a particular laundromat not for what it does but for what it means to them.
On a practical level, do everything possible to make your store smell it’s very best. Create an attractive soundscape throughout the laundromat. Be sure to offer seating finishes, as well as wall and flooring colors, that appeal to men and women. And offer tasteful snacks and drinks appropriate to your marketplace.
This human-centered approach is about making the experience a memorable and remarkable event. If you’re seeking loyal customers, turn their laundry day into an emotional journey that creates a positive experience.
They will love you for it – and come back for more.